Commerce of the Prairies: Or the Journal of a Santa Fé Trader, During Eight Expeditions Across the Great Western Prairies, and A Residence of Nearly Nine Years in Northern Mexico. Illustrated with Maps and Engravings (2 volumes)
New York: Henry G. Langley, 1844. First edition (with only the New York imprint). Hardcover. 320; 318pp. Duodecimo. Original brown cloth with ornamental blind stamping and gilt stamped vignettes. Engraved frontispiece illustrations. Housed in modern plain black portfolios and slipcase [20.5 cm]. One portfolio a bit moisture damaged. The rear board of volume 1 is subtly moisture stained, and the front board of volume 2 has a bit of unobtrusive black staining. There are several approximately 1" closed tears to the backstrip of volume 1, with the tears being primarily at the head and foot along the joints. The front free endpaper of volume 1 is absent, and the top third of the dedication page in this volume has been torn out. The pages of volume 1 are periodically foxed, while the pages of volume 2 are rather bright. The text block of volume 1 is cracked at p. 75, and pp. 81-88 are hanging by a thread. Complete with 6 plates and 2 maps. One page of text is present twice. The large folding map has an 11" closed tear. Howes G 401. Wagner-Camp 108:1. Wheat, Vol. 2, pp. 186/87. Flake 3716 (With a section on Mormons in Independence, Far West, and Nauvoo). Good. Item #63857
The classic of the Santa Fe trade, a trade which developed as a result of Pike's report and was carried on by wagon-train over the southwestern prairies. Wright Howes refers to this work as the "Chief contemporary authority on the Santa Fé trade-route and traffic."
With regards to the large folding map, Carl Wheat notes, "Gregg's map was a cartographic landmark. Of it Lieutenant Warren remarked (Memoir, pp. 43-4), 'It is based on the map of Humboldt's New Spain, that of Major Long's first expedition, and that of the road survey of J. C. Brown along the Santa Fe trail, with such corrections and additions as Mr. Gregg's own observations suggested. It was one of the most useful maps of this region at that day.'"
A first edition of this authoritative account of the early Santa Fe trade.