tv Lewis and Clark Expedition Collection CSPAN July 1, 2017 1:40pm-1:56pm EDT
comcast cable partners to showcase the history of portland, oregon. to learn more about the cities on her current tour, visit www.c-span.org/citiestour. we continue with our look at the history of portland. >> we are in portland, oregon at the lewis and clark collection. today, we will see a range of selections from our lewis and clark collection, including material representative of the things they brought with them on their expedition to the pacific ocean. contemporary material that informed their decisions. we will see contemporary expedition the and we will see the legacy of the expedition. material that reflects upon expedition from 150 years later and romanticize the offense.
that's the events. it shows is the developing relationship of americans with the idea of the west. with material that reflect upon the nature of adventuring and the unknown from the early 19 century and move forward once the west is being known into a more scientific and knowledge-based understanding of this frontier. first, we will learn about the books lewis and clark took along with them. and great effort. talk to thel though head of special collections. finally, i will talk about some andhe 20th century novels intellectual exercises that are reflected on the expedition which later.
>> we will start by looking at some items from the traveling library lewis and clark brought with them on their journeys. theave tried to re-create library lewis and clark brought with them. not the same volumes come obviously. booksre copies of the they had with them. they shed light on their interests and concerns and the larger purpose and meanings behind the voyage. the first item is a book by alexander mackenzie. alexander mackenzie was the first person to across the north american continent. he went through canada. in the 1790's. lewis and clark would have brought this book because he would have encountered some of the same challenges and issues they did.
in many ways, his voyage was more daunting than theirs. mckenzie had collected a lot of indian, native american vocabulary. they were taking that as a model collectr own efforts to linguistic information from the native americans they would have encountered or were expecting to encounter. the third book -- the fourth but we have here is by patrick kelly . an introduction to nautical astronomy. one of the main things lewis and clark were charged with was making a good map of the american west. to do that, they needed to know a lot about collecting latitude and longitude. that was initially difficult operation at that time -- that was a fiendishly difficult operation at the time.
they had lengthy tables and charts of the positions of spherical bodies come astronomical bodies. that was a way to trace y measuringi distances between the moon and stars and other bodies. they never fully quite mastered this technique, but it was key to creating what was eventually very successful map of the american west that clark put together. when lewis and clark first arrived in oregon, they were understandably ecstatic as this long journey had reached its destination. when clark first saw the pacific ocean -- he wrote in his journal view, of thein joy.
-- saying, "ocean in view. oh, the joy." spent the next several months in oregon on the coast a little bit inland from the coast. they quickly grew disenchanted with it. it was a very rainy winter. they claimed only seven or eight days had been without rain that winter. they also complained a lot about the food. they had trouble finding things to eat. they lived off alchemy -- elk meat and roots. they couldn't drive to meet. -- liquid and dry the meat. to their previous winter, which they had spent in , which was very cool, sometimes 40 degrees below
zero, but at least they had plenty of game to live off of. a variety of different things they can eat. they weren't necessarily enamored with their time in oregon. despite their initial excitement anothering here interesting thing is the lengths they went to preserve these books and keep them dry during what was obviously a watery journey. lewis how tought wrap books and oilcloth and they had some kind of drum or hatbox that they stored the books in. they had 17 volumes of books they were bringing with them. they had 30 volumes of journals they themselves wrote in. keeping these things dry with a major challenge. the onlye fact that
other thing they went to such lengths to keep dry was their gunpowder. this against a just how important these things were to them. how seriously they took the whole project of recording knowledge and being influenced by these books. ej'sllowing from description of the preparatory material and traveling libraries of the lewis and clark expedition, in 1806, the expedition returned back to philadelphia following the journey out the pacific ocean. 33 men were on expedition. seven men were asked or encouraged to keep a journal of their experiences along the way. along with lewis and clark, who kept meticulous journals along the way.
upon returning in 1806, lewis himself had collected all the data and had begun working on taking all the information and putting it together for the official report unfortunately, lewis passed away in 1812 before he could finish putting out this final report. the journals and all of his information made its way back to where a man took all the information and began assembling it into a final report. 1814, we finally get the official report of the expedition as a government publication. this is mostly distant goal data -- mostly statistical data, the resources they discover that might be used for future explorers.
in 1814, we see the two volume that synthesizes all that information down into an official report. the initial publication was 1417 copies. copies one of a dozen known to exist in the original ports. it was a simple stamp front. it's just the raw publication version. it is a bit rarer than the other 1700 rough copies out there. this is the official report that finally comes out. . 100 years after the expedition who is 1893, a man interested in the expedition itself had an interest that went beyond looking at the official reports -- he was more interested in the original narrative.
he went to philadelphia where the original journals were kept and asked if he could borrow them to put them out as a volumes thaties of had the transcriptions of the original journals themselves. people who were interested in the historical and the narrative approach of the expedition could read them in the original version. he took the original journals back to washington, d.c. and he hired a woman named mary anderson to make an exact copy of all of the journals. this represents one volume of that series. what's interesting about these commend mary anderson was paid $150 to hand copy an exact duplicate of all the journals. here, you can see her incredible copping out the text exactly as lewis and clark would have written it.
even copying the illustrations they would have done. this represents a candlestick fish they had discovered along the way. she made an exact copy. apart from this and the original journals in philadelphia, that is basically the whole representation of looking at the actual journals themselves. excitement around the initial reports of the expedition, there was continued interest but it died down a bit over the course of the 19th century. in the 20 century, there was a huge resurgence in the interest in the american west. expeditionlark's specifically caught the attention of a lot of fiction authors and nonfiction writers. sacagawea's role. by a woman from
oregon. another important figure who came along in the expedition's is york. he is not accounted for in any of the original accounts, but we're working now to obtain a better understanding of him. unlike sacagawea, he is only now beginning to capture the imagination of scholars and fiction writers. recently, a lot more has been done to think about york's role. unusual one.was an he had a lot of freedom as he came with expedition west.
rights to vote on and to carry a gun. east,e got back to the when all the other members were awarded 300 acres of land, york was not given any reward. askedhey made it back, he for his freedom but was not granted his freedom. century, he was acknowledged for his unusual status in the american west as an african american. he was made into a clownish character who might have softened relations with the native americans.
him --th grew around this myth grew around him. the college, this is one of our many collections that helps us explore how history is received. not only do we have the books that we talked about at the beginning that give us a sense of the motives and intellectual grounding of this expedition, they also let us see how historians have related with that event from the earliest moments after lewis and clark returned to the present moment. we see accounts of the expedition, which really reflect on their own moment in time. and that moment's relationship
with the past. that is a useful demonstration of the filters we as historians put on what we study and let us interrogate our own preconceptions and prejudices and intentions when we tell a story. that's what i think it's really exciting about having popular reactions to the expedition throughout time, ranging from moments or years after their return to this day. and almost every decade in between. ofis a really useful sense what we bring to history. cities tour staff recently traveled to portland, oregon. learn more about portland and other stops on our tour at c-span.org/citiestour.