This Reckless Breed of Men: The Trappers and Fur Traders of the Southwest

By Robert Glass Cleland | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS BOOK is the outgrown of an interest in the trappers and fur traders of the Southwest that began many years ago. It represents extensive research in printed and manuscript sources; a first-hand knowledge (acquired for the most part with a fly rod conveniently at hand) of many of the rivers trapped by the mountain men; and possibly some skill in joining hitherto separate and un-co-ordinated narratives into a unified and connected whole.

The purpose and scope of the book are explained in the Prologue. It does not assume to be the definitive study of the subject -- such a work, indeed, chiefly because of the fragmentary and widely scattered nature of the manuscript sources, is likely never to appear -- nor can it take credit for the discovery and exploitation of an entirely new field. Some twenty years ago Joseph J. Hill, of Oakland, then associate curator of the Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley, published a series of valuable articles that furnished a starting-point and blazed the path for subsequent investigation of the subject. I am indebted to these articles and to Mr. Hill personally for his friendly advice and counsel.

Many libraries and historical societies have placed me under lasting obligation by their courtesy and generous co-operation. I have drawn especially upon the resources of the Bancroft Library of the University of California, the

-vii-

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