Across the Continent: A Summer’s Journey to the Rocky Mountains, the Mormons and the Pacific States, with Speaker Colfax


“The whole series is the ablest and most valuable report ever made of the characteristics of the Western and Pacific Portions our Union.” – New York Times [From the Preface]

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In the summer of 1865, shortly after Robert E. Lee’s surrender effectively ended the Civil War, Samuel Bowles traveled overland to the Pacific Coast with a contingent of American politicians. Stops in Colorado, Nevada, and California were followed by a journey to the Washington Territory and British Canada before Bowles returned back East.

The resulting volume detailing his travels, Across the Continent, was published in December of that same year. The 450+ pages are divided across 32 separate letters of correspondence, plus 7 ‘supplementary papers’ that cover topics ranging from the Mormons to the Yosemite Valley. Five pages at the end of the publication advertise heavily for the Springfield Weekly Republican, one of the most popular newspapers in New England (of which Bowles was the editor).

Also included is a large folding map of the United States west of Illinois and Wisconsin. It was engraved by J.H. Goldthwait and printed in New York by G.W. & C.B. Colton. Primary transportation routes are noted; including the Oregon Trail, proposed path for the Pacific Railroad, Overland Stage Coach road, and the Sante Fe Trail to name a few. Mining towns and frontier fortifications are also labeled, but any Native American presence is conspicuously absent. An inset in the lower right shows further details about California’s Central Valley.

Published in Springfield, Massachusetts by Samuel Bowles & Company, as well as in New York by Hurd & Houghton, in 1865.


Map Details

Publication Date: 1865

Author: Samuel Bowles

Sheet Width (in): See Description

Sheet Height (in): See Description

Condition: A-

Condition Description: 452 pp. with 5 pages of advertisements, bound in brown boards with gilt embossed spine. Covers are in good shape. Old library bookplate and manuscript ownsers inscription on the endpapers. Title page has moderate spotting, but otherwise the contents are clean and in very good condition, with small dark spots on a handful of pages. Includes the accompanying fold-out map, measuring approximately 18.76" x 14.6" and mounted on Japanese tissue. One slight tear on the binding edge has separated, but remains in very good to near fine condition, with bright original hand color.


1 in stock