The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972

Book Reviews

tion, and it is a valuable contribution to the historical literature of
the West.
Texas Tech University ERNEST WALLACE
The Expeditions of John Charles Fremont. Volume x: Travels from
1838 to 1844 and Map Portfolio. Edited by Donald Jackson and
Mary Lee Spence. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 197o.
Pp. xliv+854+map portfolio. Footnotes, illustration, maps, ta-
bles, bibliography, index. $22.50.)
With the western expeditions of John Charles Fremont still sub-
jects of speculation and controversy, a detailed and annotated account
of them comprised of the explorer's reports, letters, financial records,
and memoirs is more than welcome. The current large volume is the
first of a projected three, the future ones to cover the Bear Flag revolt
and the later travels from 1848 to 1854. With the initial volume comes
a slip case of five maps that pertain to the whole three-volume set.
In his five expeditions across the plains and the Rockies, Fremont
personified the intense popular interest in the West in his day and
capitalized on it. As his wife wrote after his death: "Railroads followed
the lines of his journeyings-a nation followed his maps to their rest-
ing place-and cities have risen on the ashes of his lonely campfires."
The present editors note that while "even today there are strongly
-differing points of view about his motives and his methods, there is
less dispute about his place in the history of his century."
Included in this volume of personal and public papers of Fremont
are not only those documents in the National Archives and the Li-
brary of Congress but others from scores of sources across the coun-
try. Even the financial vouchers have merit in showing the equipment
of the expeditions and in reflecting the current prices of provisions,
scientific instruments, and services. Especially interesting are the let-
ters by Mrs. Fremont.
Students of the period are fortunate in the high level of scholarship
of editors Donald Jackson and Mary Lee Spence. They have shown
meticulous care and great industry in their notes, as in searching city
directories for identification of persons or firms mentioned. In the
case of an 1841 letter to Fremont on his secret marriage to Jessie
Benton, the unclear signature which had been given as "F. W. Gody"
in another work, spurred the editors to a search of District of Colum-
bia marriage records, which revealed the writer as F. H. Gerdes.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 75, July 1971 - April, 1972. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101201/. Accessed January 27, 2015.