NUTTALL, Thomas (1756-1859). A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory, during the Year 1819. With Occasional Observations on the Manners of the Aborigines. Philadelphia: Thomas H. Palmer, 1821.
8vo., (8 4/8 x 5 3/8 inches). Large folding engraved map "Of the Arkansas River" by H. S. Tanner from notes by Nuttall (separations at folds), five uncolored aquatint plates. 19th-century half brown morocco, marbled boards, gilt; preserved in a brown morocco backed slipcase and chemise
Provenance: From the distinguished library of Laird U. Park, Jr., his sale 2000, lot 254.
First edition of one of the principal early travel narratives of the Arkansas- Mississippi region. Nuttall, a British-born Philadelphian botanist and ornithologist, accompanied three major exploratory expeditions in order to further his knowledge of North American species. The "Journal" relates the second of these trips, carried out in 1818-20 in the company of Major Bradford, along the Arkansas and Red Rivers in Arkansas, Louisana, and Indian Territory. The work is important for the accuracy of Nuttall's scientific observations and for his attention to the culture of the native populations, notably the Chickasaw, Cherokee and Osage Indians. Two appendices are devoted to the Native Americans: the first relates the encounters of Ferdinand de Soto in 1539-1543 with the (soon to be extinct) native populations of the Mississippi region; the second provides a history of the Natchez tribe. A third appendix contains meteorological data. The aquatint plates illustrating local landmarks are unusual for an American book: this graphic technique enjoyed only a brief vogue here in the 1820's, before being supplanted by lithography. Howes N299; Field 1145; Sabin 56348; Graff 3055; Wagner-Camp 20. Catalogued by Kate Hunter