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Lewis and Clark manuscript comes to light

June 12, 2000

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    Dr. Elliott Coues secretly hired Mary Anderson to make and exact, handwritten copy of the journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Stories about the rare manuscript are appearing in newspapers and newscasts throughout the nation, including ABC's "Good Morning America."

A one-of-a-kind word-for-word, drawing-for-drawing handwritten copy of the original journals of explorers William Clark and Meriwether Lewis has come to public light for the first time, announces Michael Mooney, president of Lewis & Clark College.

The extraordinary 1893 manuscript is part of the George Tweeney Collection, one of two premiere collections of printed material on the Lewis and Clark Expedition acquired within the past few months by Lewis & Clark College. In addition to the Tweeney Collection, the College acquired the archives and collection of Irving (Andy) Anderson, the preeminent scholar on Sacagawea and her family, Mooney says.

“When Dr. Elliott Coues edited the original journals of the explorers in 1893, the American Philosophical Society permitted him to take the journals from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.,” explains Jim Kopp, director of Lewis & Clark’s Aubrey Watzek Library, where the manuscript now resides. Unbeknownst to the society, Coues hired expert copyist Mary Anderson for $150 to make an exact handwritten copy of the journals.

“Coues intended to publish the journals at a future date, but that never happened,” comments Gary Moulton, a leading scholar on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and editor of the 13-volumeJournals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

“For the first time, scholars have the opportunity to compare the Mary Anderson facsimile to the original journals to see, for example, what Coues added to the journals and how he changed spelling and punctuation,” says Kopp. “The original journals reside with the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, where we can still see the markings of Coues and editor Nicholas Biddle throughout.”

The one-million word manuscript fills 16 slipcase boxes.

Tweeney, who recently died in Seattle at the age of 84, found the Coues/Anderson manuscript 80 years after its creation at Harper’s Publishing House in New York.

“George Tweeney had a lifetime interest in the expedition and looked for the rare items others missed or didn’t know about,” Moulton says.”The Coues manuscript copy is a jewel.”

“The Irving Anderson Collection is important because Andy did incred-ible work to enlighten us all on Sacagawea’s life and role and that of her husband and son in the expedition,” says Moulton.

Irving Anderson (1920-1999) was one of the founders of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. He documented the spelling and correct pronunciation of Sacagawea’s name (Suh-cog-uh-wee-uh) and researched the history of her son Jean Baptiste’s grave site. In addition, Anderson’s scholarship led to the portrayal of Sacagawea and young Jean-Baptiste on the new dollar coin.

The Irving Anderson Archives and Collection are the gifts of the Anderson family. Anderson was a friend and neighbor of Lewis & Clark College.

The more than 30 cubic feet of archival materials include Anderson’s research on Sacagawea and her family, correspondence with other scholars of the expedition, research notes, photographs and book drafts. The Anderson Collection, with its more than 150 titles, is the working library of a scholar who was passionate about his subject.

“It was Irving Anderson’s wish, and that of his family, to make the collection available to students as a working collection for fledgling scholars of the expedition,” notes Doug Erickson, head of special collections and archives of the Watzek Library. “We are extremely grateful to Lynne Anderson and her family for their generous donation of these materials and for establishing the Irving Anderson Memorial Fund to help process and conserve the materials,” he says. “We will remember Andy for his abundant life, the research and scholarship he undertook and shared, and for his lasting contributions to future scholarship.”

The new acquisitions enhance the College’s already extraordinary collection with its Dr. Eldon G. Chuinard Collection, acquired in 1984, and the Roger Wendlick Collection, the finest private collection ever assembled by one individual, acquired in 1998.

“Thirty-five years of directed acquisitions have built this remarkable library,” comments Stephen Dow Beckham, the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., Professor of History at Lewis & Clark and chair of the College’s Lewis and Clark Expedition Bicentennial Committee.

“Lewis & Clark College now offers scholars access—in one room to the finest and most complete collection of printed materials on the Lewis and Clark Expedition known to exist,” Beckham points out.

“It is the envy of all other Lewis and Clark repositories,” says Moulton, who has visited and used the collection.

The Lewis & Clark College Collec-tion started in 1967 when Frederick Beinecke presented an inscribed copy of Ernest Staples Osgood’s Field Notes of William Clark. In 1973, Mr. and Mrs. Laurence Shaw gave the College the rare Biddle-Allen edition of the journals of Lewis and Clark in original boards, published in two volumes in 1814.

Then in 1984, the College received the Dr. Eldon G. Chuinard Collection, the gift of Chuinard’s son, Dr. Robert Chuinard. The collection includes 400 books, journals and periodicals with many early 19th-century printings. Dr. Eldon Chuinard, a Portland surgeon, wrote Only One Man Died. This book documents the medical aspects of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The College’s Lewis and Clarkania now includes four major collections and every edition of every journal, foreign and domestic, including printings in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Baltimore; London; Dublin, Ireland; Paris; Weimar, Germany; Vienna, Austria; and The Netherlands. It also contains contemporary newspaper notices, Thomas Jefferson’s “Message to Congress” on the return of the expedition, each work in Lewis and Clark’s traveling library, Aaron Arrowsmith maps published in 1802 and 1804, and other cartographic materials.

Supporting titles range from letters, field notes and biographies to poetry and children’s books. They also include works of fiction based on the expedition, articles and pamphlets.

“Lewis & Clark’s collection is such a rich resource for study,” Moulton says. “It should bring scholars to view it for years to come.”

Currently, the College is pursuing grants to create the most complete bibliography of materials related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition and to digitize the Coues/Anderson manuscript in order to preserve it and to make it accessible via the Internet.

“I have been working the mine open in Phila., and now have all the MSS. Ub perfect order for reference and when necessary for citation by vol. and page. There are 18 bound notebooks and 12 small parcels of other Mss., making in all 30 codices, and I think something like 2,000 handwritten pages. Of course we shall not be idiotic enough to ever let the Mss., go out of our hands without keeping a copy. I have an expert copyist already at work, making a copy, word for word, letter for letter, and point for point. I do not know how the expense will come out; if you authorize the expenditure of $150, I will make up the balance, whatever it will be, and the copy become[s] our joint property. I think most probably, after our present edition, if that turns out as well as you have every reason to expect, you will want to bring out another volume reproducing the original Mss. verbatim. It will be such a curiosity as the world has never yet seen and make a great sensation.”

—Cutright, Paul Russell and Brodhead, Michael J. Elliott Coues Naturalist and Frontier Historian (University of Illinois, 1981), 345. This citation is from the Coues-Harper correspondence. The correspondence is the property of Yale University.

—by Jean Kempe-Ware


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