History of the Expedition under the Command of Lewis and Clark, Edited by Elliott Cues, 4 Volumes, 1893

Edited by Elliott Coues. History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. New York: Francis P. Harper, 1893. Four-Volume Set. Review Copy of limited edition on handmade paper. Housed in custom slipcase.

Presented is a Review Copy of the limited edition History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition edited by Elliott Coues. Restricted to only 1,000 copies, this set is one of the earliest and was produced for review before the final set was printed. The set was published in 1893 by Francis P. Harper, the books are bound in the original publisher’s boards, and the pages are handmade. All four volumes are housed in a custom built matching archival slipcase decorated with portraits of Lewis and Clark as well as a gilt embossed decoration.

An account of Lewis and Clark’s adventures were originally published in 1814, however, this new edition includes brief memoirs of William Clark and Patrick Gass to compliment Thomas Jefferson’s memoir of Meriwether Lewis. Coues adds educational notes to the book as well as an additional preface. Three volumes encompass the main text while the fourth includes all accompanying maps as well as three large fold-out maps. Working from the original documents, Coues reorganized the notes and formed a more coherent story. Coues was able to provide the reader with descriptions of plants referenced in the manuscripts, add notes to the maps, and clarified several obscured passages from the earlier edition. This 1893 edition was hailed as a scholarly masterpiece.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States. It began near St. Louis, made its way westward, and passed through the continental divide to reach the Pacific coast. The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and to establish trade with local Native American tribes. With maps, sketches, and journals in hand, the expedition returned to St. Louis to report its findings to President Thomas Jefferson.

The expedition was composed of a selected group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark. Their perilous journey lasted from May 1804 to September 1806. The primary objective was to explore and map the newly acquired territory, to find a practical overland route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence a territory already eyed by Britain and other European powers. 


Overall very good condition. The four volume set retains its original publisher’s green cloth boards and gilt spines. Some edgeware and loss on the boards, but they have undergone some conservation. The internal handmade pages are clean deckled on all three sides. The top edge of the pages has soiling from where dust has settled. All four volumes are housed together in a matching dark green archival slipcase that has been custom built to protect them from further damage.

Dimensions: 9 ¾” H x 6 ¾” W x 2” D (approximate volumes 1 - 3)

Dimensions: 9 ¾” H x 6 ¾” W x ¾” D (volume 4)

Dimensions: 10 ⅛” H x 6 ⅞” W x 6 ½” D (all 4 volumes with slipcase)

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