Volume 2 Preface
An entirely new and complete edition of the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition has been a hope of scholars and enthusiasts for many years. Realizing the deficiencies and incompleteness of the volumes done by Reuben Gold Thwaites in 1904–5, Donald Jackson may have been the first to formally declare the need. In an address to the Centennial Conference of the Missouri Historical Society in March 1967, he pointed out what had been apparent for some time: using the multiple published editions of the journals was becoming increasingly difficult, and "some kind of standard edition" was needed. But, his clarion call for action went unheeded for nearly a decade.
In 1977, an article recommending reissuing several important historical travel accounts in a modern format, among them Lewis and Clark's epic work, came to the attention of the University of Nebraska Press. Excited about the possibilities for a new edition, members of the press set out to determine if a wider level of interest for such a project existed. They turned first to an organization newly formed at the University of Nebraska, the Center for Great Plains Studies. The center was developed in 1976 out of a desire of several university professors to take an interdisciplinary approach to studying the Great Plains region of North America. The activities of the center are directed toward exploring all aspects of the Great Plains environment: the land, the people, the wildlife, the institutions, the economy, and the cultures of the Great Plains. The board of directors for the center were attracted from the start to the idea of sponsoring a new edition of the journals. Lewis and Clark were the first Americans to cross and describe the Great Plains, and much of the territory that the Corps of Discovery were assigned to examine lies within the region. Moreover, through the center a large number of scholars would be available for consultation with the proposed project. The board of directors were ready to accept sponsorship of the project, and members of the press were encouraging about the prospects of publication.
The Center for Great Plains Studies then moved to discover the scope and dimensions of such a project. Donald Jackson, serving as a consultant sought the cooperation of institutions that hold original Lewis and Clark materials and ascertained available financial support. His work was a success throughout. Not only did all the institutions with Lewis and Clark materials agree to share their journals and manuscripts with the anticipated project, but the principal holding institution, the American Philosophical Society, agreed to cosponsor the project should it materialize. In addition, Jackson wrote the first draft of a proposal to be submitted to the National Endowment for the Humanities, which became the basis for the final and successful proposal granted by NEH in July 1980.
By mid–1979, the project to publish a completely reedited version of the journals was under way under the present editor. The edition is cosponsored by the Center for Great Plains Studies of the University of Nebraska and by the American Philosophical Society, with the encouragement and cooperation of all repositories of Lewis and Clark manuscripts. The National Endowment for the Humanities, a principal funding agency for editorial projects, has continued its financial support, and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission has also endorsed the project.
The new edition will number eleven volumes, which will include an atlas of maps from the expedition; the journals of Lewis, Clark, Charles Floyd, John Ordway, Patrick Gass, and Joseph Whitehouse (all the extant journals associated with the expedition); and a volume of the expedition's natural history materials, including reproductions of the herbarium sheets that Lewis gathered on the trip, now at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. The first volume of the new edition, Atlas of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was published in 1983. The maps were published first so that they could be used as a resource and reference tool for succeeding volumes. The present volume is the first of the nine journal volumes to follow.
It is a pleasure to acknowledge the numerous people who have been so helpful during the work on the journals of Lewis and Clark. First, recognition should go to the able and considerate workers at the institutions that hold the Lewis and Clark manuscripts.
Numerous scholars in diverse fields have helped clarify the variety of scientific endeavors in which the captains were engaged. Those experts gave much in time and advice, most with little hope of reward other than the advancement of scholarship to which they are so dedicated. Not listed are persons whose published works were so important. Those debts are acknowledged in the bibliography.
Persons who have supported the project out of devotion to the expedition are legion. Words of encouragement, financial help, and constant good will from them have made this project more pleasant and its success more sure. One organization, the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, has been exemplary in its encouragement, but space does not allow naming its nearly eight hundred members.
Also helpful were members of the Center for Great Plains Studies and those associated with the project more directly: