The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955

Book Reviews

first volume, will augment tremendously the information on
those early years of Arkansas history. In addition the reader be-
comes aware of certain patterns and characteristics which remain
typical and persist throughout the state's history, thus adding
considerable color as well as individuality to the territory and its
early inhabitants.
University of Arkansas
Commerce of the Prairies. By Josiah Gregg. Edited by Max L.
Moorhead. Norman (University of Oklahoma Press), 1954.
Pp. xxxviii+469. Illustrations and maps. $7.50.
Since its first appearance in two volumes in Philadelphia 1o
years ago, Josiah Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies has been one
of the classics of the Southwest. Its account of the Santa Fe trade,
by one who took part in it for nine years, has not been surpassed
by later writers. Gregg, who was an amateur naturalist with a
keen eye, made careful notes on his travels-notes that gave his
work a much greater value than those based merely on vague
This new, annotated edition is justified not only by the scarcity
of earlier ones but by the uncovering of new information on
Gregg and the subjects of which he wrote. Some of this came
from Gregg's diary and letters, published in two volumes several
years ago and already out of print. The present edition contains,
in addition to full notes, an excellent introduction dealing with
Gregg and his work.
Born in Tennessee in 18o6, of Scottish ancestry, Gregg was
taken to Illinois when he was three and to Missouri when he was
six. He was a frail child with an intellectual bent. Often a misfit
on the family farm, he did well in school. He studied surveying,
tried his hand at teaching, and eventually became a doctor. But
at twenty-four he was suffering so severely from dyspepsia and
tuberculosis that he set out on a trip to Santa Fe to improve his
Leaving Independence with a merchant caravan in 1831, Gregg
found that the prescribed cure worked quickly. After two weeks
he was able to ride a pony, and soon he was earning his way by
keeping books for one of the merchants. He also studied Spanish


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 58, July 1954 - April, 1955. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 25, 2015.