||Lewis, Meriwether, 1774-1809; Clark, William, 1770-1838
||Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806 [volume 1]
||Thwaites, Reuben Gold (editor). Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806. Printed from the Original Manuscripts in the Library of the American Philosophical Society and by Direction of Its Committee on Historical Documents, Together with Manuscript Material of Lewis and Clark from Other Sources, including Note-Books, Letters, Maps, etc., and the Journals of Charles Floyd and Joseph Whitehouse, Now for the First Time Published in Full and Exactly as Written. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1904). Volume 1.
||495 / 31
Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809); William Clark (1770-1838)
For a thorough summary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition's historical
context and itinerary, and short biographies of both Clark and Lewis,
see the 44-page introduction by the journals' editor, Reuben Gold
Thwaites, in volume one (AJ-100a). For other documents related to
the expedition, see AJ-090, AJ-097, AJ-140, AJ-146, AJ-147, and
At least seven members of the expedition are known to have kept
journals. One, by Sergeant Patrick Gass, was rushed into print in
1807. The others were turned over to editor Nicholas Biddle who,
succeeded by Paul Allen, used them to produce the official History
of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark
in 1814 (also online; see below). Biddle deposited most of the journals
at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia where they
lay untouched for decades. Seventy-five years later Elliott Coues
had them transcribed during work on his 1893 edition of the Biddle-Allen
text, because he hoped to also produce an edition of all the journals.
Other pursuits intervened, however, and the publisher engaged Reuben
Gold Thwaites, superintendent of the Wisconsin Historical Society,
to edit all the unpublished Lewis and Clark journals for the first
Thwaites, who had already edited many other historical
documents, discovered hitherto unknown journals and included
scientific notebooks that had never before been published. His
eight-volume edition enabled three generations of scholars to
gain countless new insights into Lewis and Clark. Thwaites did
not find everything, however, and the first complete edition of
the journals, prepared according to modern editorial standards
by Dr. Gary Moulton for the University of Nebraska Press, was
published in thirteen volumes, 1983-2001.
Note on the Illustrations
We have given here the text pages of the first seven volumes of
Thwaites’ edition (1904-1905), supplemented with additional illustrations.
The Thwaites edition consisted of 750 “trade” copies illustrated
with facsimiles from the Lewis and Clark manuscripts, and 200 “deluxe”
copies illustrated with additional reproductions of paintings by
Karl Bodmer (1809-1893), who journeyed up the Missouri in the 1830’s.
Bodmer’s paintings originally appeared in Maximilian, Prince of
Wied’s Reise in das innere Nord-America in den Jahren 1832-1834
(Coblenz: J. Hölscher, 1839-1841). We have scanned the manuscript
facsimiles from the trade edition, but replaced the deluxe edition’s
Bodmer copies with scans taken directly from the original nineteenth-century
Bodmer prints. Images missing from the Wisconsin Historical Society
collections have been omitted from our digital edition. Finally,
we have not reproduced the atlas volume of the Thwaites edition
because so many Lewis and Clark maps are already online at the Library
of Congress American Memory project (http://www.loc.gov/ammem/).
Other Internet and Reference Sources
The literature on Lewis and Clark is immense, both in print and
on the web. For an online summary of it, see the 1904 bibliography
by Victor Hugo Paltsits in document AJ-100a, pages lxi-xciii. This
should be supplemented by The Literature of the Lewis and Clark
Expedition: A Bibliography and Essays issued by Lewis and Clark
College in 2003, for twentieth-century publications.
A useful starting point for information about the expedition
is the Library of Congress online exhibit, "Rivers, Edens and
Empires: Lewis and Clark and the Revealing of America," at
The National Archives has created many resources for teaching and
learning about Lewis and Clark within its "We the People"
web site at
lewis_and_clark.html. This includes digitized documents, background
texts, photographs, and lesson plans.
The official report of the expedition, Nicholas Biddle’s 1814 History
of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark,
to the Sources of the Missouri, Thence Across the Rocky Mountains
and Down the River Columbia to the Pacific Ocean, is online
at the Library of Congress “Meeting of Frontiers” project at
Other documents relating to the expedition are part of its "Louisiana
Purchase Legislative Timeline" at
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/louisiana5.html. These include
the House of Representatives report on the "Explorations of
the Western Waters of the United States" by Lewis and Clark,
various acts to compensate the explorers for their labors, and documents
concerning their appointments as governors of Missouri and Louisiana
after the expedition.
Two web sites built as part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition bicentennial
also contain helpful information and links. The U.S. government's
site at http://www.lewisandclark200.gov/
is a cooperative venture of 32 federal agencies. The non-governmental
National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial is a joint
effort by historical societies, Indian nations, scholars, businesses,
and all other interested parties; its web site is at http://www.lewisandclark200.org/.