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Exploration



Explorers and Expeditions

The Arctic Sketches of Russell W. Porter
This study of the sketches of Arctic explorer Russell W. Porter was written by Prologue editor Mary C. Ryan for the Winter 1997 issue.
"Bring Back Your Party Safe": Medicine and Health on the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Created by the Historical Collections and Services staff at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia, this site covers the medical aspects of trekking across uncharted territory.
A Clarence King Gallery – The First Director of the U.S. Geological Survey
Clarence King was the first head of the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS presents this collection of photographs of King. The site includes a lecture by Martha A. Sandweiss of Princeton University about Clarence King.
Clarence King Papers
Finding aid for the American Philosophical Society's collection of letters from Clarence King to his friend, Samuel Franklin Emmons, from 1873-1894.
Daniel Boone
The Library of Congress presents a synopsis of the life of explorer and frontiersman Daniel Boone. The site includes links to other resources such as his book about his adventures and maps.
Discoverers and Explorers: Who Really Found the Oregon Trail?
This site begins, "In 1800, the American West was still wild country--no cities, no railroads and no cattle ranches yet existed. It was quiet and untouched. People in the eastern U.S. had heard stories about the western mountains and the desert, but no Euro-American had been there. Within a very short time that would all change." Lewis and Clark, The Astorians, Pike and Long, and others are described in this web site.
John Charles Fremont, 1813-1890
Brief biography of an influential pioneer in California, and one of that state's first governors.
The John Muir Exhibit
The Sierra Club's site about wilderness explorer John Muir.
John Wesley Powell
According to this National Wildlife Foundation web site, John Wesley Powell led explorations of the Colorado River that resulted in land use reform laws in the United States.
Lewis and Clark Across Missouri
Created to commemorate the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, this site was created by the Lewis and Clark Historic Landscape Project at the University of Missouri and the Missouri State Archives. It features the Lewis and Clark journals and early Missouri land surveys.
Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery
This PBS web site contains information about the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Lewis and Clark: The National Bicentennial Celebration
The official web site of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Celebration. Includes information about the exhibition, a virtual journey, and resources for educators.
List of Indian presents purchased by Meriwether Lewis
NARA's Expansion and Reform (1801-1861) exhibit displaying the full text lists of purchases made on the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Meeting of Frontiers
Meeting of Frontiers is the Library of Congress's bilingual, multimedia English-Russian digital library that tells the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West, the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
Richard E. Byrd
PBS's biography of Richard E. Byrd, pioneering polar explorer.
Stephen H. Long
Information about Major Stephen H. Long of the U.S. Army Engineers, who led the first scientific exploration up the Platte River.
Yellowstone National Park: Its Exploration and Establishment
This online book by Aubrey L. Haines includes a section titled "The Exploring Era (1851-63)" which describes the work of Jim Bridger and Father Pierre-Jean DeSmet, among others.
Zebulon M. Pike Expedition
Web site dedicated to the expedition of Zebulon M. Pike.

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Surveys

Clarence King Survey of the 40th Parallel
This George Eastman House site features 133 images taken by Timothy O'Sullivan of the Clarence King survey.
The Four Great Surveys of the West
This USGS site depicts the four great surveys conducted after the Civil War.
A History of the U. S. Topographical Engineers, 1818-1863
A history of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. The site explains the work of the Corps and its role in western exploration.
Our Most Famous Border: The Mason-Dixon Line
The story of Charles Mason's and Jeremiah Dixon's survey expedition to determine the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania, thus resolving a land dispute and unintentionally creating the border between the North and the South.
Reports of Explorations and Survey to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean
Provides access to "the several reports of surveys for a railroad to the Pacific, made under the direction of the Secretary of War..." Included is the report of John C. Fremont.

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Westward Expansion

American Notes: Travels in America 1750-1920
Part of the Library of Congress project American Memory, this site comprises 253 published narratives by Americans and foreign visitors recounting their travels in the colonies and the United States and their observations and opinions about American peoples, places, and society from about 1750 to 1920. The narratives range from the unjustly neglected to the justly famous, and from classics of the genre to undiscovered gems.
American Originals: Louisiana Purchase
Described as the "greatest real estate deal in history," the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 added 13 states to the United States of America. The National Archives holds the copies of the treaties signed by Napoleon Bonaparte.
California as We Saw It
The California State Library has created this site about the Gold Rush and the numbers of people who swarmed to the west looking to strike it rich.
Cowboy Photographer: Erwin E. Smith
Fearing the true life of the cowboy would be lost, Erwin Smith resolved to honor this tradition by presenting as true a portrayal as possible. Working as a cowhand on Texas ranches, and attending two of the best art schools in the country at Chicago and Boston, Smith honed the skills needed to capture the essence of ranch life with photography. Between 1905 and 1912, he photographed roundups in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. His photographs are presented by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
The First American West: The Ohio River Valley
The Library of Congress offers 15,000 pages of documents concerning the Ohio River Valley from 1750-1820.
Heading West and Touring West
Based on exhibitions at the New York Public Library, these two sites discuss the mapping of the western territories and performing artists in those territories, respectively.
Historic Railroads: A Living Legacy
This issue of CRM Online is dedicated to the role of railroads in American westward expansion.
The Louisiana Purchase Treaty; April 30, 1803
The Avalon Project at Yale Law School compiled this site of documents and treaties related to the land purchase from France in 1803 that nearly doubled the size of the United States.
Migration North to Alaska
NARA's Teaching with Documents lesson plan includes documents and photographs on the Alaska Purchase Treaty, the Gold Rush, Homesteading, and Statehood.
Oregon History: Federal Interests
A history of the settling of Oregon during the period 1792 to 1846.
A Thousand Pioneers Head West on the Oregon Trail
From the History Channel, this site offers insight into the lives of pioneers who crossed the country in wagon trains.
Trails of Hope: Overland Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869
This Brigham Young University Library site incorporates 49 diaries of pioneers trekking westward across America.
Westward by Sea
This site from the Library of Congress offers documents relating to the relationship between sea travel and westward expansion.

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