THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS' EMIGRANTS' GUIDE: BEING A TABLE OF DISTANCES SHOWING ALL THE SPRINGS, CREEKS, RIVERS, HILLS, MOUNTAINS, CAMPING PLACES, AND ALL OTHER NOTABLE PLACES, FROM COUNCIL BLUFFS, TO THE VALLEY OF THE GREAT SALT LAKE
by Clayton, William
St. Louis, 1848. 24pp. 12mo. Later plain wrappers. Small paper abrasion below author's name on titlepage, small chip to upper margin of one leaf, just touching the border, old dampstain to bottom corner of last few leaves, bound close at inner margin. Very good. In a half morocco box, spine gilt. The supremely rare first edition of "one of the most utilized and quoted authorities for the emigrant route through South Pass to Salt Lake" - Wagner-Camp. Decker referred to the work as "[p]erhaps the most accurate and certainly one of the scarcest of all overland guides." The guide describes sources of water, topographical features, camping sites, and provides distances in miles from point to point, measured by Orson Pratt's "roadometer," all intended for the Mormon emigrants moving west in the mid-19th century. Clayton had been a prominent member of the advance Mormon migration in the spring of 1847, traveling west from Mormon Winter Quarters on the Missouri River to Salt Lake. Clayton was the person to whom Prophet Joseph Smith revealed the doctrine of plural marriages in 1843, and then he served as clerk of the Mormon camp at Council Bluffs before arriving at Salt Lake. As such, Clayton was able to compose the present work from personal observations. Thomas W. Streeter held Clayton's work in high esteem, praising the guide in his sale catalog: "This first detailed guide book to the country west of the Rockies is one of the basic books on the opening of the West and the principal source for all later guides." Howes describes the work as the "[b]est guide for the itinerary covered, Council Bluffs to Salt Lake" and affords the book a "dd" for rarity, his highest classification reserved for "superlatively rare books, almost unobtainable...." The Streeter copy sold for $2,000 in 1968, and now resides at the Clements Library. Only a few copies are known in private hands, and only seven copies reside in institutions, namely at the University of Michigan, Clements Library (Streeter copy), the Mormon Church Archives, the Huntington Library, the Newberry Library (Graff copy), New York Public Library, Harvard, and Yale (Coe copy). FLAKE 2425. GRAFF 751. HOWES C475, "dd." WAGNER-CAMP 147. STREETER 3148. AII (MISSOURI) 557. EBERSTADT 115:297. DECKER 36:88. SABIN 13580.
(Inventory #: WRCAM52149)
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