North American Exploration - Vol. 3

By John Logan Allen | Go to book overview

Selected Bibliography

North American Exploration, Volume III

The third volume of North American Exploration encompasses the nineteenthcentury transition from the Humboldtean explorers of the Age of Enlightenment, who sought confirmation of God's grand design in new lands and new peoples, and the post-Darwinian scientific explorers, who were less concerned with fitting all they saw and sensed into a cosmos than they were with compiling data that would verify theory and generate hypotheses. Given the enormous numbers of exploratory expeditions in North America during this period--beginning with Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and concluding with the Great Surveys of the post-Civil War period--the literature is voluminous. The following bibliographic listing, therefore, is partial and somewhat arbitrary, although it should be understood as a reasonably complete coverage of the key explorers and expeditions in the United States and Canada from 1800 to 1900. Because the nineteenth century has generated such a large collection of articles in periodicals and professional journals, I have chosen to avoid those sources in this selection in favor of book-length studies and, of course, the primary sources of the journals and accounts of the explorers themselves. Readers wanting more bibliographic information will find it in the reference notes accompanying each of the chapters in this volume. The items listed in this selected bibliography should be available in both medium-sized public libraries and most college and university libraries. The secondary sources tend to dominate the collections in public libraries. For a good selection of primary materials, the reader will need to visit college and university libraries, along with some specialized larger private and municipal libraries. The secondary sources by scholars and others describe the processes of exploration and provide details on routes and on the explorers themselves. The secondary sources offered here are among the very best of a huge collection, and the stories they tell are rich and rewarding. As always, even more rewarding are the words of the explorers and their contemporaries. For the reader whose interest in nineteenth-century North American exploration is profound, the primary sources should be sought out. Follow Lewis and Clark as they "proceeded on" up the Missouri and across the plains and Rockies to the Pacific and back; enjoy the fullness of their experience as they perceived it (and the uniqueness of their spelling). See the Great Basin unfold in the mind of John Charles Frémont as he solves one of the great geographical riddles of the continent. And experience the quest for scientific knowledge that motivated men such as John Wesley Powell and

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