The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 15
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The Lost Journals of a Southwestern Frontiersman 15
his work presented with a dignity commensurate with his
When Gregg was born in 1806, there was no organized civil
life west of the Mississippi; when he died in 1850, four great
highways had reached the Pacific. In his short lifetime of forty-
four years the United States achieved its continental design;
and he was among the leaders who helped this to happen.
He had the divine curiosity and the civilized respect for what
he saw that are the common traits of great explorers.
The value of his great book, as the seal upon the humble and
selfless labors of his life, need not be expanded upon here. Let
us simply agree that it grew as naturally from the frontier as
anything that had its roots in the prairie; and that like all
masterpieces it seems to have an independent life of its own,
so that it takes a deliberate act of recollection to summon back
in daily terms what may be known about its author. He might
be called the intellectual frontiersman of the natural world.
There is high poetry in the quality of his achievement, though
its terms at the time rarely seemed poetic. But possibly we
have had glimpses tonight in the unpolished lines of his diary
of that faithfulness which is partly responsible for this after-
For if ever a man was faithful to himself, and the life he
dedicated himself to, it was Josiah Gregg. His contribution to
the fund of character which energizes the history and the
culture of the Southwest was tremendous. His story is part
of a great conquest, and his weapons were curiosity and a batch
of little bound books with blank pages, waiting to be written
No writer who loved the truth ever needed more.
Roswell, New Mexico.
'Two volumes are in preparation which will extend the knowledge of
Gregg, and present his own hitherto lost or unknown writings. The first
of these is entitled Josiah Gregg in the Southwest, and the second is the
resurrected Rovings Abroad. Both are being edited by Maurice Garland
Fulton, with myself as curtain-raiser, and will be published, a year apart,
by the University of Oklahoma Press.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/19/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.