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Jefferson's Letter to Meriwether Lewis

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Meet Gerard Gawalt, American History Specialist, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

Gerard Gawalt discusses the draft of a letter that Thomas Jefferson sent to Meriwether Lewis to initiate the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

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Read a transcript of the Jefferson letter, and view the original

Library of Congress Web Sites of Interest
Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America
Exhibit on the exploration of the American West from the first European encounter to the transcontinental railroad.
Thomas Jefferson
Exhibit on the life of Thomas Jefferson, including the important role he played in exploring the American West through the Lewis and Clark Expedition and other initiatives.
Library of Congress American Memory
American Notes: Travels in America, 1750-1920
Reproduces 253 published narratives on traveling in America by American and foreign writers from the General Collections of the Library of Congress.
The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts
Reproduces nearly 2,000 maps and charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750-1789, from the collections of the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress.
The First American West: The Ohio River Valley, 1750-1820
Reproduces original historical material related to the Ohio River Valley, the first American West.
George Washington Papers
Reproduces the 65,000 items in the George Washington Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.
Map Collections: 1500-2003
American cartographic treasures from the map collections of the Library of Congress.
Thomas Jefferson Papers
Reproduces the 27,000 items in the Thomas Jefferson Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.
Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion,1820-1890
Reproduces thousands of maritime documents, including logbooks, journals, diaries, letters, and maps, from the Mystic Seaport collections on exploration and settlement of the American West Coast.
Other Web Sites of Interest
Center for Great Plains Studies: Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
University of Nebraska-Lincoln site for the authoritative modern edition of the expedition’s journals.
Fort Mandan: The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
Represents the place where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1804-5. Provides a guide to Fort Mandan; the Interpretive Center in Washburn, North Dakota; Bodmer Art Gallery; and an online catalog.
The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
From the University of Nebraska, the complete text of the most authoritative edition of Lewis and Clark's Journals.
LewisandClark200.Gov
A federal portal offering access to multiple sites with information about historical places related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, an interactive map, and other educational resources.
Lewis & Clark Internet Archive
Links to hundreds of sites related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
Sponsored by the National Park Service, this site provides information on the 3,700-mile Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial
News on commemorating the legacy of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, with a list of upcoming events.
National Geographic: Lewis & Clark
Features on Lewis and Clark with journal entries, letters, maps, drawings and a timeline.
Other Materials of Interest

Print Sources on Lewis and Clark: Primary Sources

Flores, Dan L., ed. Jefferson and Southwestern Exploration: The Freeman and Custis Accounts of the Red River Expedition of 1806. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984.
   LC call number: F377 .R3 J43 1984

Jackson, Donald, ed. Letters of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, with Related Documents, 1783-1854. 2d. ed., with additional documents and notes. 2 vols. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978.
   LC call number: F592.7 .J14 1978

Moulton, Gary E., ed. The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 13 vols. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2000.
   LC call number: F592.4 1983
Note: This work has been made available online by the University of Nebraska Press / University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries-Electronic Text Center.

Print Sources on Lewis and Clark: Secondary Sources

Allen, John L. Passage through the Garden: Lewis and Clark and the Image of the American Northwest. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975.
   LC call number: F592.7 .A48

Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
   LC call number: F592.7 .A49

Botkin, Daniel B. Our Natural History: The Lessons of Lewis and Clark. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1995.
   LC call number: QH104.5 .W4 B68 1995

Gilman, Carolyn. Lewis and Clark: Across the Divide. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 2003.
   LC call number: F592.7 .G55 2003

Jackson, Donald. Thomas Jefferson and the Stony Mountains: Exploring the West from Monticello. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981.
   LC call number: E332.2 .J32

Ronda, James P. Finding the West: Explorations with Lewis and Clark. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001.
   LC call number: F592.7 .R65 2001

-----. Lewis and Clark among the Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.
   LC call number: F592.7 .R66 1984

Snyder, Gerald S. In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1970.
   LC call number: F592.7 .S68

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  December 23, 2015
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