Pittsburgh: Zadok Cramer, 1808.
Hardcover. Very good. Sixth edition, "improved and enlarged." 12mo, 156 pp, complete with 28 maps, in original calf-backed paper boards. Rubbed and scuffed, but sound; pages toned, with some old dampstaining and light foxing, but still very good overall. Housed in a custom quarter-leather slipcase. Ownership inscription of Jackson Brush dated 1808 and noting his recent arrival in New Orleans (perhaps having used this book for navigation?) on front flyleaf. Later ownership inscriptions on front and rear endpapers. This was the first navigational guide to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and, according to Howes (C-855), the "most widely used guide to western waters in the early period, both before and after the application of steam in 1807." Cramer developed the idea for the book soon after his arrival in Pittsburgh, where he observed many immigrants in desperate need of information about the waters and territory into which they would soon be bound. He compiled the work from a range of contemporary sources, including both navigational details and a description of the "towns, posts, harbors, and settlements" along each river, and adding newly available information to each subsequent edition. Although this edition is noted on the title page as the sixth, only three previous editions are known. This is the first edition to include an account of the Missouri and Columbia rivers, as well as the Indian villages on their banks. This material was compiled from the journal of Lewis and Clark expedition member Patrick Gass (published by Cramer in 1807) and also from a letter from William Clark to his brother. Clark's letter was "the first substantive account of the Lewis and Clark expedition to reach the American public," (Wagner-Camp 4) and this "may be its first appearance in book form, apart from the Baltimore Rural Almanac of 1807" (Siebert 796). See also Sabin 17385; Streeter Sale 2:992; Graff 2954.