Pittsburgh [PA]: printed by Zadok Cramer, for David M'Keehan, 1807. First edition. 12mo. 262 pp. Contemporary 1/4 leather and marbled boards (rubbed); gilt rules and gilt title on spine. Some old staining to endpapers and toning to text pages, lacking blank front endpaper, small piece missing from blank front flyleaf, faint old tidelines to last 15 pages. Contemporary pencil and ink notes, mostly illegible on endpapers. A previous owner's signature, "R. Huston, Canonsburg, Washington" [County, Pennsylvania], on the upper margins of the text pages. This may be Dr. Robert M. Huston (1795-1864), Professor of Materia Medica and Midwifery at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia from 1839 to 1857. Jefferson College in Canonsburg was the parent institution for the medical school founded in Philadelphia in 1825. Front joint starting, some rubbing and scuffing to boards, but overall a very good, tight, unsophisticated copy.
Gass' journal was the first report published on the Corps of Discovery's travels and became an important early record of the nearly two and one-half year expedition. Streeter calls this narrative "one of the essential books for an Americana collection." The journal, kept throughout the expedition, offers an unvarnished account of the challenges the Corps faced as it explored the newly acquired territory of President Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase. Gass was a skilled carpenter and played a major roll in the construction of the winter camps at Forts Mandan and Clatsop for the expedition. As noted in Wagner-Camp: Gass "provided valuable details about these projects as well as the only description of the method by which certain tribes constructed their lodges." [Wagner-Camp 6:10]. He was also elected sergeant by his peers after the death of Sgt. Charles Floyd, the expedition's only casualty. He later served in the War of 1812 and lost an eye. He was also the last surviving member of the expedition dying at the age of 98 in 1870. Item #62087
Howes G77: "Earliest full first-hand narrative of the Lewis and Clark expedition, preceding the official account seven years."
American Imprints 12646 Streeter 3120 Wagner-Camp 6:1 Graff 1516 Sabin 26741.