Frequently Asked Questions

Projected Completion Timeframe

The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online launched February 15, 2003, with approximately 200 pages from volume 4 of the journals (May 23–July 14, 1805). Beginning in January 2004, we added approximately 250 pages each month until the entire journals of Lewis, Clark, Floyd, Gass, Ordway, and Whitehouse were made available. The final pages were added in March 2005.


The spelling and capitalization of Lewis, Clark, and other members of the expedition have been retained as nearly as possible, but some conventionalizing has been necessary. Uncrossed t's and undotted i's and the like have been silently corrected. Misspelled words have been corrected in brackets when necessary for clarity. When letters or words defy comprehension, conjectural readings have been given in brackets with a question mark signifying the editor's uncertainty. With ambiguous spelling, the journalist's typical spelling has been taken as a guide, or the modern spelling has been adopted in disputed cases. With Clark that is nearly impossible. One researcher discovered that Clark spelled the word Sioux "no less than twenty-seven different ways." Little can be promised in the way of consistency, for no rule can stand against Clark's inimitable style. (For more on spelling, grammar, capitalization, and formatting, please read the introduction.)


The journals are full of creative spellings which may make searching a challenge. You may need to spell search terms a number of different ways to get complete results. In the near future, we will offer visitors a search based on standardized spelling.


Many of the images available on the image pages are National Archives photos (courtesy of the Gallery of the Open Frontier) dating from the 1860s through the 1890s—long after the Corps of Discovery passed through the homelands of the Native nations that are depicted. The images are included to give a sense of the vibrancy and enduring nature of the Native cultures the expedition encountered. Despite many far-reaching and often tragic changes that occurred in the decades following the Corps of Discovery's travels, these cultures persisted. The images do not, of course, represent actual individuals or villages encountered by the expedition.


To cite this website, please see the examples on the Citations Examples: How to Reference Our Site and Sources page.

Still Have Questions?

We may be able to help you with questions about the editing and publication of the journals and the creation of this website. Contact us here:

    For more general questions about the expedition and its members, we suggest you consult your local library's reference librarian or try an internet search engine such as Google.