The ‘Father of Waters’ [Mississippi River]

A map of the Mississippi by a “quack explorer and charlatan adventurer.” [Minnesota Historical Society]

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This long strip map of the Mississippi River shows the course of the ‘Father of Waters’ from its headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Notable towns are labeled, with numerous points showing the distance from the source of the river – 3,184 miles in total. It is here, at Lake Glazier, that the map becomes controversial.

It was created by Willard Glazier to accompany his book ‘Down the Great River‘ (a copy of which is included). A veteran of the Civil and Spanish-American wars, bestselling author, and amateur explorer, Glazier had a fascinating career that was marred by his claims of discovering a new source for the Mississippi. According to ARCE [Albany Rural Cemetery Explorer];

“In 1881 he canoed 3,000 miles of the Mississippi River, starting in Louisiana. During his journey, he made claims to discovering a small lake south of Lake Itasca in Minnesota, though it was already on maps from government surveys. Willard campaigned in 1887 to rename Elk Lake, which he called Glazier Lake, as the true source of the Mississippi River. The Minnesota Historical Society investigated his findings referring to him as a “quack explorer and charlatan adventurer.” Willard later confessed he had not visited any streams feeding into Elk Lake. To solidify Lake Itasca as the true source of the Mississippi, the Minnesota Legislature passed a resolution, so their “earliest explorers be not robbed of their just laurels.”

Source (ARCE).

Map Details

Publication Date: 1893

Author: Matthews, Northrup & Co.

Sheet Width (in): 4.25

Sheet Height (in): 39.75

Condition: A

Condition Description: Two sheets joined along a horizontal centerfold that shows light discoloration and wrinkling from the adhesive. Light wear along fold lines, but overall in near fine condition. Includes a battered ex-library copy of 'Down the Great River' by Willard Glazier and published by the Hubbard Brothers in 1893.

Out of stock