Early accounts of Alaska and Canada

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Early accounts of Alaska and Canada

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Muokkaaja: helmikuu 3, 2016, 5:22am


Do you have any recommendations of accounts by early (say, pre-1900) travellers in northern North America? I'm interested in explorers, scientific expeditions, ethnographers, trappers, pioneers... any first-hand reports, preferably with the emphasis on observation rather than dramatization or plot drive.

helmikuu 3, 2016, 11:03am

Have you read Sir Alexander Mackenzie? I'd start there.

helmikuu 3, 2016, 12:40pm

Thanks! I've read nothing on America yet so no suggestion is too obvious.

helmikuu 3, 2016, 2:16pm

Kabloona by Gontran de Poncins, memoir of a Frenchman who lived 15 months in late 1930s with Inuit in traditional lifestyle. Good read.

helmikuu 3, 2016, 9:19pm

I have not read original sources; however, if you parse the bibliography of A Journey Down the Amur River Black Dragon River you will find numerous references to Russian explorers in America and eastern Russia. Likewise, Company of Adventurers is the first volume of the history of the Hudson Bay Company, and again its bibliography will lead you to some original writings on the exploration of western Canada.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 4, 2016, 9:11am

The Lakeside Press series has published an annual book for the last 100 years that usually deals with early American explorers through their memoirs. A full list is over on the Lakeside Classics Collectors group page. These are all mostly still in print in other editions, but of the ones I've read so far my favorites are these: Narrative of the Narvaez Expedition which is the story of a really lucky or really unlucky conquistador's misadventures in early Florida and trekking west until finally reaching "civilization" in Mexico. Harrowing, but what a resilient guy. The Narrative of the Adventures of Zenas Leonard was the story of a young man from PA who went west seeking his fortune. His family thought he was dead for five years before he finally turned up one day. I'm currently reading Bidwell's Echoes of the Past and in Camp and Cabin. This is two explorer's adventures in one volume. Both of them give really good impressions of early California exploration and life. Lots of interesting observations about native Americans and the interactions with the Spaniards and the influx of mountain men, explorers and fortune seekers from the east. In Camp and Cabin is particularly good because he was a very well educated young man trying to get rich in the gold fields and he later went on to become a missionary, but he has a lot of unusual insight into the sociology of this mish mash of people. None of these are really Canada and Alaska related though there are sometimes references to folks travelling on in that direction. Another one is called The Englishwoman in America, wherein the author did spend a great deal of time in Canada before venturing on to the States.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 4, 2016, 12:55pm

Ruh roh, an entire publisher dedicated to this topic? A quick googling says Lakeside Press no longer exists though, are those all collectible rarities? A Journey Down the Amur sounds good, especially as I'm reading up on Siberia right now.

helmikuu 4, 2016, 2:33pm

Lakeside Press is an imprint of the R. R. Donnelly Co. They publish one book a year that isn't for sale on the retail market. It is given as a gift to employees and customers, thus the rarity. I have most of them except for the first 20 years or so including the one that just came out Christmas 2015.

helmikuu 4, 2016, 4:55pm

defaults -- you can find them on ebay and the used book market. I have to be *very* patient when looking for bargains.

helmikuu 5, 2016, 4:13pm

Three Robert Louis Stevenson first hand accounts of his travels:

The Amateur Emigrant
Across the Plains
The Silverado Squatters

John Muir wrote many books about his hikes and the outdoors, among them A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.

The Alexander Mackenzie works mentioned in >2 benjclark: are worthwhile.

>6 varielle: Sounds like a fascinating set of books.

helmikuu 6, 2016, 10:49am

Muir looks like a character worth a closer look, thanks again.

helmikuu 6, 2016, 11:15am

It's not pre 1900, but there is a book called A School Teacher in Old Alaska that is based on the journal of a woman named Hannah Breece, who was in country from about 1904-1918. It's a little unusual because she wasn't "an adventurer" so much as a middle aged woman on her own -- I think she was in her mid forties when she first went up there.