Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 550

Early Report of Pike’s Expedition to Louisiana and Capture

"[Pike's Expedition] The Medical Repository ... and A Review of American Publications on Medicine … Second Hexade. Vol. V",

Subject: Document - Pike's Expedition

Period: 1808 (published)


Color: Black & White

5.3 x 8.5 inches
13.5 x 21.6 cm
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Samuel L. Mitchill was a physician, U.S. Congressman and Senator, founding editor of the first medical journal in the U.S. (Medical Repository) and active correspondent of Thomas Jefferson who called him the “Congressional Dictionary.” Mitchill had a strong interest in maps and western exploration and his medical journal presented many of earliest reports of trans-Mississippi explorations, many of which were communicated directly to Mitchill.

In this issue for November 1807 - January 1808, Mitchell published a summary of “Pike’s Journey to explore Louisiana,” (pages 297-300), which appears to be a summary communicated directly to Dr. Mitchill by Pike. At one point the writer [Dr. Mitchill] notes that “Capt. Pike declared to Dr. Mitchill” how barren the area was between Kansas and Santa Fe. The Spanish had confiscated Pike's notes which he reconstructed when he returned to Washington, quite possibly with Mitchill’s help. The highlights of the journey were provided, including Capt. Pike’s attempt, abandoned after 6 days, to reach the summit of the mountain named for him. Pike’s report of his exploration was not published until 1810, two years after this summary. The volume also includes Mitchill’s review of Patrick Gass’s Journal of the Lewis & Clark exploration (pages 185-189). In addition, the volume contains one of the earliest American notices of lithography along with Mitchill’s enthusiastic speculation of its potential (p. 244). Quarto, hardbound in contemporary leather.


Condition: C+

Text is good with light toning and periodic dampstains throughout with some associated rippling of pages. Boards are heavily worn and stained and the spine is mostly lacking.

Estimate: $200 - $250

Sold for: $400

Closed on 6/9/2021