John Russell Bartlett, Personal Narrative of Explorations and
Incidents in Texas, New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua, Con-
nected with the United States and Mexican Boundary Commis-
sion during the Years 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853 (Chicago, The Rio
Grande Press, Inc., 1965), is a long needed re-issue of the original
1854 edition. In a period of sometimes redundant reprinting
practices that do not require patent cynicism to question, it is
refreshing and reassuring to encounter a major reprint venture
that does answer a real need in the realm of scholarly research.
The Rio Grande edition of Bartlett's Personal Narrative falls
into this happy category.
In addition to a reproduction of the original text, including
maps and illustrations, the new edition of the Narrative presents
a rather compact descriptive introduction prepared by Odie
Faulk, research historian in the Arizona Pioneers' Historical So-
ciety. Both novices and old Bartlett readers will find the notes
included in Faulk's summary introduction interesting.
Bartlett's failure as boundary commissioner and the frequently
opera boufge character of his career in the Southwest do not
require restatement. His striking inadequacies on the one hand
were balanced by equally affirmative qualities on the other, and
for these, which produced the Narrative, several generations of
researchers have incurred a debt of monumental proportions.
The negative criticisms that one might make of the non-original
elements that comprise the new edition of Bartlett are largely
restricted to esthetic considerations. Some readers will find the
type selections used on the new prefatory pages a bit disturbing;
others, while happy to have the quite useful added map of the
disputed area, will regret the style of execution; and a few per-
fectionists will be agitated by an occasional typographical error
(i.e., Calfornia, herculian, and so on). Almost inevitably most
of these criticisms will fade as time passes and researchers will
feel only general gratitude that the original Bartlett text is avail-
able in their libraries. CHESTER V. KIELMAN
The University of Texas Archives
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed February 27, 2015.