A little over 170 years ago - hardly a moment on the clock of history - one half of the United States was empty of all but Indians and the plants and game on which they subsisted. Indeed, acquiring the Louisiana Territory approximately doubled the size of the United Sates, adding 800,000 square miles of land that had scarcely been explored or adequately mapped. In The Natural History of the Long Expedition to the Rocky Mountains (1819-1820), Howard E. Evans offers a colorful history of the expedition of Major Stephen H. Long - the first scientific exploration of the Louisiana Territory to be accomplished by trained naturalists and artists. Based primarily on the expedition members' reports and diaries, and often told in the participants' own words, this fascinating chronicle transports readers back to the near-virgin wilderness of 1820. We accompany naturalist Edwin James as he becomes the first man to climb Pike's Peak, and roam with him in his role as botanist, collecting a multitude of plant specimens, 140 of which were described by him and others as new. We sit with artist Samuel Seymour as he sketches in vivid detail the panorama of breathtaking peaks and prominent landforms, travel along with Titian Peale as he visits the homes of Native Americans and records with an artist's keen eye and gifted hand the striking features of this land's first inhabitants, and go exploring with zoologist Thomas Say as he describes indigenous mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and insects.
Maj. Stephen H. Long is remembered for labeling much of the Louisiana Purchase "The Great American Desert." However, as Evans (entomology, emeritus, Colorado State Univ.) describes Long, he should be commemorated for leading the first scientific exploration of the High Plains and Front Range of the Rockies to be accompanied by trained naturalists and artists. The Long Expedition, comprising 22 men, included naturalist Edwin James, zoologist Thomas Say, and artists Samuel Seymour and Titian Peale. Evans chronicles the 1820 expedition by using members' reports and journals and often quotes long, significant passages to enliven the saga. Hardships, both natural and manmade, abounded. Nonetheless, the expedition mapped new lands and described previously unknown birds, animals, and plantsits greatest achievements. Recommended for all libraries, especially those with Western Americana collections.Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, Ill.
Using the personal and scientific journals of members of the Long Expedition, sent in 1820 to explore the western lands acquired by Thomas Jefferson in 1803, this volume recounts the story of the 16-month trek, describing the personalities involved, their route, the politics of their journey, and their discoveries. Includes b&w photographs and illustrations, with appendices listing the plants, animals, and insects described. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.