Archives Library Information Center (ALIC)


ALIC Resources

ALIC Online Public Access Catalog
Search ALIC's online catalog for published works related to exploration and westward expansion.
U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection
Containing Congressional reports and documents, the Serial Set is an important resource for researching nineteenth-century U.S. history. Many of the reports of expeditions and surveys can be found here.
America: History and Life
This commercial resource contains thousands of citations, full-text articles, and ebooks on all aspects of United States history.
ProQuest Research Library
This resource offers a wide range of citations, abstracts, and full-text periodical articles.
Biography & Genealogy Master Index
Indexing hundreds of print biography resources, BGMI provides citations for further research on various explorers and historical figures.

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.
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.
Exploration and Westward Expansion
This page on the NARA web site provides links to images, articles and other information about various expeditions and surveys, including those of John C. Fremont, Lewis and Clark, John Wesley Powell, and Zebulon Pike.
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.
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 Maps of Exploration
This exhibit from the University of Virginia features the maps that Jefferson had owned and studied as he planned Lewis and Clark’s journey.
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.
Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line
Martha Sandweiss discusses her book on Clarence King, the first Director of the U.S. Geological Survey. For thirteen years he lived a double life-- as the celebrated white explorer, geologist and writer Clarence King, and as a black Pullman porter and steel worker named James Todd. The fair, blue-eyed son of a wealthy China trader passed across the color line, revealing his secret to his black common-law wife, Ada Copeland, only on his deathbed.
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.
Women of the Polar Archives: The Films and Stories of Marie Peary Stafford and Louise Boyd
Audrey Amidon's 2010 Prologue article discusses Stafford's and Boyd's expeditions to the Artic, and the film records related to their activities.
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.


The Four Great Surveys of the West
This USGS site depicts the four great surveys conducted after the Civil War.
The Nation Builders: A Sesquicentennial History of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, 1838-1863
A history of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers. This work 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.
Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America
The Library of Congress exhibition draws on the Library's rich collections of exploration material to feature the trek of the Corps of Discovery as a culmination in the quest to connect the East and the West by means of a waterway passage. The exhibition's epilogue focuses on the transcontinental railroad, which replaced the search for a direct water route with a “river of steel.”

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.
American West Photographs
This site is a digital re-creation of the NARA publication entitled "Photographs of the American West, 1865-1912".
California Gold Rush
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.
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.
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.