Documents of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
by C. Bríd Nicholson
December 2018, 242pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5455-2
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5456-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Without Sacagawea to guide them, Lewis and Clark would never have reached the Pacific.

Through its extensive use of primary source materials and invaluable contextual notes, this book offers a documented history of one of the most famous adventures in early American history: the Lewis and Clark expedition.

This book is the first to situate the Lewis and Clark expedition within the political and scientific ambitions of Thomas Jefferson. It spans a forty-year period in American history, from 1783–1832, covering Jefferson’s early interest in trying to organize an expedition to explore the American West through the difficult negotiations of the Louisiana Purchase, the formation of the “Corps of Discovery,” the expedition’s incredible journey into the unknown, and its aftermath.

The story of the expedition is told not just through the journals and letters of Lewis and Clark, but also through the firsthand accounts of the expedition’s other members, which included Sacagawea, a Native American woman, and York, an African American slave. The book features more than 100 primary source documents, including letters to and from Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, and others as the expedition was being organized; diary excerpts during the expedition; and, uniquely, letters documenting the lives of Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, and York after the expedition.


  • Contextualizes the expedition as a part of Thomas Jefferson’s vision of America
  • Documents all of the previous failed expeditions that Jefferson tried to organize
  • Explores the lives of Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea, and York, both before and after the expedition
  • Gives a detailed account of the preparations for the expedition
  • Notes the political and historical success of the expedition
C. Bríd Nicholson is associate professor of history at Kean University, in Union, NJ. She is author of Emma Goldman: Still Dangerous and has edited Conflicts in the Early American Republic. A recipient of the Presidential Excellence Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Kean in 2010, she was inducted into the Kean Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi; in 2011 she was appointed a Fellow of the Kean University Center for History, Politics and Policy. She has also produced a number of historical documentaries, including The Black Eagle of Harlem and George Washington: The Farewell Address.


"The material in this attractive volume is not readily accessible by quick online search so the book is a good addition to most libraries."—ARBA, March 6, 2019

Eyewitness to History

ABC-CLIO’s Eyewitness to History series provides primary documents accompanied by invaluable contextualizing information to help readers understand historical developments, events, and individuals. The books’ format allows for a remarkable range of documents that showcase a wide variety of perspectives, including personal narratives, letters, and first-hand accounts; newspaper stories, op-ed pieces, and contemporary reactions and responses; and government and legislative documents, such as laws, speeches, and court testimony.

Each title in the series offers a fascinating documentary history devoted to a significant era, event, or social movement. The carefully curated primary sources give the actual words of people who lived through these past times, empowering today’s readers and researchers to consider the topic critically, fairly, and intelligently.
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