The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 616
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Santa Fe Trail, historian William E. Brown's classic study of the
famous old road connecting Missouri and New Mexico, has been re-
printed in paperback by the Patrice Press. Brown did his study for the
National Park Service nearly thirty years ago in an attempt to deter-
mine whether the road qualified as a "National Scenic Trail." It did not.
By most standards the road through sparsely settled grazing lands is
anything but scenic. It is historic, however, and in 1987 the U.S. Con-
gress declared it a National Historic Trail. The following year Brown's
report was published by Patrice as a deluxe hardcover book costing
$17.95. With that printing nearly sold out, Patrice now offers the pa-
perback version-identical in all other aspects-for $9.95.
Brown's report reviews the history and geography of the old road of
commerce, including eighty-three illustrations and twenty-two maps.
The first section covers the story of the trail from its 1821 founding to
its replacement by the railroad in 188o. Brown relates the crucial role
of the trail in opening the West to early traders, in providing the mili-
tary route for the conquest and annexation of New Mexico in 1846, in
supplying troops to defend traders against Indian attack, and in frus-
trating Confederate attempts to win the Southwest during the Civil
War. The second section of the book traces the one thousand miles of
the trail between old Franklin, Missouri, and Santa Fe, via both the
Cimarron Cutoff and the Mountain Branch. He describes fifty-three
sites in detail as he guides modern travelers along the old road. Only
one hundred mimeographed copies of Brown's original report were
produced. They were not, however, consigned to sit on shelves in
Washington. Trail buffs learned of the excellence of the work, and
copies were made for use in the West. Those copies in turn were copied,
and some versions were almost illegible by the 198os. One reviewer
called the work an "underground masterpiece."
Both versions of the book are available by mail from Patrice Press,
1701 S. Eighth Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63104. There is a $2.95 ship-
ping charge, and .6o sales tax for Missouri residents. For credit card
orders, the company maintains a toll-free line: 1-800-367-9242.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/694/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.