The Lewis and Clark Expedition:
"The work we are now doing is, I trust, done for posterity, in such a way that they need not repeat it… We shall delineate with correctness the great arteries of this great country; those who come after us will… fill up the canvas we begin."
The atmosphere was electric. With the purchase of the Louisiana Territory, the country had more than doubled its size. President Thomas Jefferson had envisioned a nation of farmers from sea to sea, and now these young United States were well on their way. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, two intelligent and adventurous military officers, were appointed to lead an expedition; their fifty-man team became known as the Corps of Discovery. Jefferson had an ambitious set of goals for this pioneering set of troops. Their mission was to scientifically describe the land, especially its flora and fauna; to make contact with Indian leaders and inform them about their new leader in Washington; and to find out about fur trading possibilities. Paramount was the aim to discover the last link of the mysterious Northwest Passage, the all water route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Over the course of the two-year expedition, the persevering group courageously fulfilled all parts of their mission. The only area where they may have been criticized for falling short was the lack of discovery concerning the Northwest Passage. Even in this area, their contribution was great in that they correctly concluded there was no such all water route. The expedition included a voyage to the far headwaters of the Missouri, several treks over the rugged Rocky Mountains and exploration of the Columbia River basin. Later generations have praised the expedition for its multicultural and gender related successes. The Lewis and Clark Expedition included a scene where the first black person in American History exercised the right to suffrage, and even as the expedition exposed the Corps of Discovery to hundreds of Indians from many tribes, there were only a few skirmishes. The Shoshoni woman, Sacajawea, provided key leadership to the expedition and in early 1805, a Nez Perce woman saved the expedition from sure destruction. Many say Lewis and Clark discovered the American future and taught later generations that if we work together, anything is possible.
2004 - 2006 mark the bi-centennial years of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. I am excited to provide this pathfinder as I predict an invigorated excitement about this first and most important expedition in U.S. History. This pathfinder is designed particularly for students at the University of North Carolina as almost all of the sources mentioned can be located or accessed from this academic institution. The topic is divided into three research areas in order to expedite your browsing.
Key to Locations:
|Davis = Davis Library Stacks|
|Davis Ref. = Davis Library Reference Room|
|UL = Undergraduate Library|
|UL Ref. = Undergraduate Library, Reference Department|
LC Subject Headings:
These subject headings are placed under three categories.
Lewis and Clark Expedition:
- Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806)
- Lewis and Clark Expedition - Pictorial Works
- West (U.S.) - Discovery and Exploration
- West (U.S.) - Discovery and Exploration - Pictorial Works
- West (U.S.) - History - To 1848 - Sources
- Natural History - West (U.S.)
Key Characters and Groups of the Lewis and Clark Expedition:
- Lewis, Meriwether, 1774-1809
- Lewis, Meriwether, 1774-1809 - Diaries
- Clark, William, 1770-1838
- Clark, William, 1770-1838 - Diaries
- Explorers - West (U.S.) - Biography - Diaries
- Sacajawea, 1786-1884
Modern Lewis and Clark Trails, Site and General Geography:
- West (U.S.) - Description and Travel
- Historic Sites - West (U.S.)
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Outstanding Books About the Lewis and Clark Expedition:
General Books About Lewis and Clark:
Each of these resources covers the complete journey and does so with passion and grace. They are among the classic texts concerning the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
Davis and UL - F592.7 .A49 1996
Passionate is a good word to describe this contribution. In this work one sees the expedition in a most adventuresome way, through the eyes of Lewis. This book also covers Thomas Jefferson's visions of the American West and Lewis' post-expedition years.
- Bakeless, John. Lewis and Clark: Partners in Discovery. New York: W. Morrow, 1947.
Davis and UL - F592.7 B3
The writing of this text was interrupted by WWII, as Bakeless served in the military. Concerns about Indian relations, science, and imperialism were put aside as Lewis and Clark were described a folk heros in this classic narrative.
- Ronda, James P. Lewis and Clark among the Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.
Davis - F592.7 .R66 1984
Ronda's contribution is critical in that it sheds light on the many facets of the relations between the Native Americans and the expedition. Ronda argues that the Indians did an equal amount of the exploration and discovery as the Corps of Discovery passed through their lands. Suddenly the voyage was more about contributions from a choir of voices than a small ensemble.
Biographical Works About the Important Characters of the Expedition:
None of these works provide a broad enough scope to merit description. However, they are valuable supplemental sources to scholars of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Key Diaries, Records, Papers and Journals Sources of the Expedition:
- Lewis, Richard Dillon. Meriwether Lewis: A Biography. New York: Coward-McCann, 1965.
UL - F592.7 .L678
- Steffen, Jerome. William Clark: Jeffersonian Man on the Frontier. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1977.
Davis - F592.7 C56 S74
- Cunningham, Nobel E. Jr. In Pursuit of Reason: the Life of Thomas Jefferson. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987.
Davis and UL - E332 .C95 1987
- Clark, Ella E. and Edmonds, Margot. Sacagawea of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, c1979.
Davis and UL -- F592.7.S123 C55
- Clarke, Charles G. The Men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Glendale: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1970.
Davis - F592.7 .C57
Lewis and Clark are described as the "writingest explorers". Scholars wanting to learn of the quest directly from its participants will need to consult one or more of the works below.
- Biddle, Nicholas; Allen, Paul. The History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark. Philadelphia: Bradford and Inskeep; New York: Abm. H. Inskeep, 1814.
Davis Microforms Coll. Microprint - 1-3 no. 31924
In the years shortly after the voyage ended, Thomas Jefferson anxiously awaited Lewis' three-volume report. The report never came as Lewis committed suicide in 1809. Clark worked with Biddle in order to get the report done. This 1814 narrative was the story of the expedition as a western adventure. It did not sell well and included no mention of the scientific contributions, but nonetheless, it was the first book written about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Thwaites, Reuben Gold. Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1904.
(not available at UNC, but the following condensed edition is)
De Voto, Bernard (ed.) The Journals of Lewis and Clark. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1953.
Davis - F592.4 1953
This work was published for the centennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The American Philosophical Society and Dodd, Mead and Company sought out the services of Thwaites as he was a budding documentary editor. Thwaites' contribution was based on the idea that Lewis and Clark opened the west for settlement and opened thought to increased exploration of the scientific contributions of the expedition.
- Jackson, Donald. Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition with Related Documents, 1783-1854. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978.
Davis F592.7 .J14 1978
This comprehensive work contains 428 documents, over half of them previously unpublished. Some of the newly published items included Sergeant John Ordway's diary, Lewis' Ohio River journals and the valuable Biddle Notes. The Biddle Notes are a summary of a comprehensive interview and debriefing Clark gave to Nicholas Biddle in 1810. Jackson's work is monumental because his skillfully written annotations spurred other scholars to look at the expedition in the areas of science, Indian relations and international diplomacy.
- Moulton, Gary E. The Journals of Lewis and Clark Expedition. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997.
The following volume information is also important:
v. 1. Atlas of the Lewis & Clark Expedition -- v. 2. August 30, 1803-August 24, 1804 -- v. 3. August 25, 1804-April 6, 1805 -- v. 4. April 7-July 27, 1805 -- v. 5. July 28-November 1, 1805 -- v. 6. November 2, 1805-March 22, 1806 -- v. 7. March 23-June 9, 1806 -- v. 8. June 10-September 26, 1806 -- v. 9. The journals of John Ordway, May 14, 1804-September 23, 1806, and Charles Floyd, May 14-August 18, 1804 -- v. 10. The journal of Patrick Gass, May 14, 1804-September 23, 1806 -- v. 11. The journals of Joseph Whitehouse, May 14, 1804-April 2, 1806 -- v. 12. Herbarium of the Lewis & Clark expedition.
Davis Folio - 2 - F592.4 1983
This is the most comprehensive work on the Lewis and Clark Expedition ever published. It includes nearly every written scrap of information associated with the journey. Highlighted contents include a series of rediscovered journals; field notebooks; miscellaneous papers, tables, charts and sheets; and all the maps. Even the journals kept by some to the minor players in the expedition are present. Moulton's efforts have been aided by nearly a dozen institutions and hoards of specialists. In this work, locations throughout the journey are given correspondence to the nearest U.S. town and there significant ethnographic and linguistic contributions. This work is the best way to learn about Lewis and Clark in all their roles: as adventurers, cartographers, geographers, diplomats, ethnographers and scientists.
- Bergon, Frank. Wilderness Aesthetics. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press
This work is the edition of "The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition" due to be completed in 2003. Strong points of this new 13-volume edition include more valuable maps and a clearer arrangement of the entries.
Specialized Studies on Different Aspects of the Expedition:
The members of expedition were to report on every aspect of life west of the Mississippi. Scholars from many diverse disciplines have analyzed the expedition.
- Cutright, Paul Russell. Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1969.
Davis - 592.7 1969
Cutright was the first scientist to write about the scientific contributions of Lewis and Clark. His conclusion was that their scientific discoveries were outstanding. This work includes modern scientific classification of their historical scientific discoveries.
- Allen, John Logan. Passage through the Garden: Lewis and Clark and the Image of the American Northwest. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975.
Davis - F592.7 .A48
This book focuses on the geographical nature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. First, Logen addresses the issue of geographical images that Jefferson and the explorers had of the unknown land. Second, he looks at the day-to-day field decisions made by the discoverers and how notions of the geography were tested and amended or discarded.
- Chuinard, Eldon G. Only One Man Died: The Medical Aspects of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Glendale: Calif.: A.H. Clark Co., 1979.
Davis - F592.7 .C543
This text not only outlines the pharmaceuticals administered and the healing techniques of the expedition, it explores the ways the crew worked together to maintain general physical and mental health. It is amazing that with all the hardships the expedition faced, they lost only one man. In fact, it is said that Sergeant Floyd would have died even under the best medical care of the early 1800s.
Encyclopedia and Dictionary Sources:
These sources are valuable as a first step in a study of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They provide the basic historical framework from which further study can be initiated.
General Adult Sources:
- Encyclopedia Americana. Int'l ed. 30vols. Danbury, CT: Grolier, 1996.
Davis Reference AE5.E333 1996
Of the major general encyclopedias, this provides the best overview of the expedition, living up to its reputation as the foremost encyclopedia that focuses on American history and geography. The three pages of coverage include a plethora of ready reference facts, a map, a series of black and white paintings and a bibliography.
- The New Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 32 vols. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1998.
Davis Reference AE5.E363 1998
Use the online version of this resource even though the print version's bibliographic information is listed above also. Although the online resource only provides a three paragraph summary of the expedition, the extensive index produces links to over 1300 related articles.
Specialized Adult Sources:
- Baker, Daniel B. (ed.). Explorers and Discoverers of the World. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1993.
Davis Reference G200.E88 1993
There are at least three quality encyclopedias in the Davis Reference collection on the topics of discoverers and explorers. This particular source has the most merit concerning the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The writing is very scholarly, pre and post expedition events are explained and an informative map is also included. Most importantly, the entry contains a "Want to Know More" section, which includes a masterfully crafted list of key sources about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna (ed.). The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1998.
Davis Reference E77.G15 1998
This comprehensive work provides a Native American perspective on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Although one could never get a complete picture of the expedition through this source, contacts with thirty-six different tribes are documented.
- Ketz, Louise Bilebof (ed.). Dictionary of American History. New York: Charles' Scribner's Sons, 1978.
Davis Reference E174.D53 1976
The Lewis and Clark Expedition is mentioned forty-one times in this eight volume work. It is particularly helpful if one wants to know more specifics about an aspect or characteristic of the expedition. For example, one can learn more about how horses were used during expedition or how weather data was recorded.
Bibliographies and Handbooks:
After examining six reference works in this area, it was determined that only one merited inclusion in this pathfinder. The others all mentioned Lewis and Clark but referenced to only one or two topical sources.
- Salzman, Jack; on behalf of the American Studies Association. American Studies: an Annotated Bibliography. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.(br)
UL and Davis Reference - Z1361 .C6 A436 1986
The early American History section of this work is extensive. In addition, a helpful list of resources is provided in Patrick William's (Columbia University) preface. Roughly half of the key authors on this topic are listed along with descriptions of their works.
The following are journals where articles about Lewis and Clark are frequently published.
- American West. Cupertino, Calif., American West Pub. Co., 1964-
Davis -- F591 .A4 (quarterly)
- Gateway Heritage. St. Louis, Mo.: Missouri Historical Society, c1980-
Davis -- F461 .M6227 (quarterly)
- Great Plains Quarterly. Lincoln, Neb.: Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, c1981-
Davis -- F591 .G762 (quarterly)
- Montana Magazine. (not available at UNC) (monthly)
P.O. Box 5630, Helena, MT 59604 http://www.montanamagazine.com
- Oregon Historical Quarterly. Portland, Or.: Oregon Historical Society, 1926-
Storage-- 979.5 O66 (quarterly)
- Prologue. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record Service, 1969-
Davis -- CD3020 .P75 (quarterly)
- We Proceed On. (not available at UNC) (quarterly)
Lewis and Clark Heritage Foundation, Inc., Box 3434, Great Falls, MT
Abstracts and Indexes:
These electronic databases are the principal tool for finding recent scholarly writing about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. They point the way to hundreds of articles, reviews and dissertations.
- America: History and Life
Publisher: ABC-ClioInc., Santa Barbara, CA, 1998
Coverage: 1964-present. Updated: Monthly.
General Description: America: History and Life is a complete bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. The database comprises almost 400,000 bibliographic entries and covers over 2000 journals. Searches can easily be refined and a wide variety of document types exist including: articles, book reviews, collections, dissertations and media reviews.
Location: Click on Indexes and Abstracts on the Library Home Page. Under A click on the link labeled American History and Life.
Lewis and Clark Connection: At the time of the completion of this pathfinder (April 2000), this database contained some 350 relevant references to works about Lewis and Clark.
- Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Publisher: Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia, PA
General Description: Arts & Humanities Citation Index is a multidisciplinary database covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities. It indexes 1,100 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals, as well as covering individually selected, relevant items from over 6,800 major science and social science journals. One can classify a search in any one of 36 document area types.
Location: Click on Indexes and Abstracts on the Library Home Page. Under A click on the link labeled Arts & Humanities Citation Index.
Lewis and Clark Connection: At the time of the completion of this pathfinder (April 2000), this database contained over 200 relevant references to works about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- Expanded Academic ASAP (InfoTrac SearchBank Indexes)
Publisher: Gale Group, Farmington Hills, MI
General Description: Expanded Academic ASAP includes abstracts or references for articles from more than 1,500 scholarly, trade and general-interest publications, as well as references for The New York Times. Many articles are available in full-text. The database integrates core titles in every major academic concentration; area- and issue-specific journals; academic journals with application in the professions; and publications with national news coverage and commentary.
Location: Click on Indexes and Abstracts on the Library Home Page. Expanded Academic is the last entry under E.
Lewis and Clark Connection: At the time of completion of this pathfinder (April 2000), this database contained over 70 relevant references to works about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
CD-ROMs and Diskettes:
The information available from the CD-ROMS listed below is basically in line with the information retrievable from the encyclopedias. However, each provides a different perspective and area of expertise. For this pathfinder, only resources at UNC were examined. People should consult their local library for more options.
- The American Indian: A Multimedia Encyclopedia
The American Indian [computer file] : a multimedia encyclopedia. [New York] : Facts on File, c1993.
Davis Ref Electronic Resource CD-ROM -- 10-17
- Westward Expansion
Westward expansion [interactive multimedia]. Woodbridge, CT : Research Publications, c1994.
Davis Ref Electronic Resource Interactive Multimedia -- 10-21
There is an abundance of reviews evaluating individual works. A large portion of those reviews can be found in the journals listed in this pathfinder. Below is a comprehensive review of Lewis and Clark books.
- Ronda, James P. "The Writingest Explorers": The Lewis and Clark Expedition in American Historical Literature. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography: Youngstown State University: Youngstown, OH; 1988, v112, N4, p. 607-630.
Davis - F146 .P65
Beyond reviews of specific works on Lewis and Clark, this review addresses all major works written or compiled about Lewis and Clark since the expedition.
Audio Visual Materials:
There are a myriad of short instructional videos about Lewis and Clark. An acclaimed video series on the Expedition, and the only one available at UNC, is listed below.
- Lewis & Clark [videorecording] : the journey of the Corps of Discovery / a film by Ken Burns ; a [production of] Florentine Films and WETA-TV ; produced by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns ; written by Dayton Duncan. Published: [Alexandria, Va.] : PBS Home Video ; [Atlanta] : Turner Home Entertainment, c1997.
UL NonPrint Kit -- 65-9
This four-hour production is outstanding. It features breathtaking scenery and animated and insightful commentary from experts on the Lewis and Clark history.
Maps and Atlases:
Lewis and Clark produced an astonishing number of maps. Most of the book sources listed above contain some of their maps. Below are some key map and atlas resources outside the scope of the main texts.
- Moulton, Gary E. (ed.). Atlas of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.
Davis Folio - 2 - Call Number F592.4 1983 vol. 1
This is the cardinal map resource concerning Lewis and Clark. In sum, there are 126 maps, each with accompanying notes. The introduction provides historical background information for each of the six map section areas. Of particular interest is the section titled, "Sketches from Indian Information." Five index maps in the preliminaries overlay the historical maps on a modern political map.
- Paullin, Charles O. Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. New York: American Geographical Society of New York, 1932.
Davis Folio - G1201 .S1 P3 1932
This work contains a valuable set of highly informative maps. It features period maps from most of the great explorers of the American West including Lewis and Clark. One discovers that the way one explorer maps an area can be quite different from another.
- Goetzmann, William H. The Atlas of North American Exploration: From the Norse Voyages to the Race to the Pole. New York: Prentice Hall, 1992.
Davis Folio - G1106 .S12 G6 1992
Like many other explorer's atlases, this one has the two-page entry on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. This work also has references to five other areas which give the expedition historical perspective. There is an excellent section titled, "Forerunners of Lewis and Clark."
The world wide web sources can provide both depth and breadth. These are definitely the best sources to consult when seeking information about how the Lewis and Clark Expedition continues to have an impact on American Society today.
- The Lewis and Clark Information Superhighway
Here you can find a well-maintained index of over 500 sites on this topic. There is a handy alphabetical listing and a featured sites area evaluates the best Lewis and Clark sites and provides links.
- Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation
This Foundation's site includes facts about membership in the organization as well as the expedition and new articles of interest. The Foundation's site also includes a sublevel link to Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (National Park Service) at http://www.nps.gov/lecl/. This site contains a great deal of information about the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail today. It provides comprehensive contact information about federal, state and local trail areas. It also includes advice on everything from commercial trips to the best bookstores for Lewis and Clark materials.
- PBS: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery Website
This is the companion site for Ken Burns' documentary movie from PBS Online. Highlights include descriptions of all the Native American groups encountered and interviews from expert historians. The general layout and use of graphics at this site are superior.
- Discovering Lewis and Clark
Discovering Lewis and Clark is about the issues and values inherent in the Northwest as Lewis and Clark saw it, and some of the ways in which changing visions over the past 200 years have affected the land and the people. The site has a search form which gives it superior accessibility. Its centerpiece is a 19-part overview of the expedition by Harry Fritz, Professor of History at the University of Montana.
- The Journals of Lewis and Clark
You can read an abridged version of the Journals of Lewis and Clark. This website provides very complete and yet readable summaries. The site also contains a search form.
- The Lewis and Clark Trail
Explore with Lewis and Clark as they make their expedition to the Pacific Ocean. This site provides a detailed historical account of the Corps of Discovery along the Lewis and Clark Trail. This site provides maps with outstanding detail and complete with modern town and roadway overlays.
- Looking for Lewis and Clark
This site provides some of the best on-line graphics and pictures of the expedition. Search areas include arts, artifacts, manuscripts, map and photographs.
- National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council
This is the official site of the organization assembled to head bicentennial celebrations. One can obtain information concerning topics such as conservation projects, upcoming events and employment opportunities.