Pioneers, Hunters and Explorers

This resource contains a range of wonderful original records from some of the most famous pioneers, explorers and hunters of the American West.

Almost an unwitting explorer, many of the journals of John James Audobon (a naturalist and painter who travelled the country in his quest to paint all of the birds in North America) are present in the Graff Collection, including Copy of my journal from Fort Union [illegible word] Commencing Augt. 16th at 12 o’clock, the moment of our departure (Graff 109) as well as beautiful artwork by his son, J. W Audobon. ‘Mountain men’ are well represented, for example Narrative of the exploring expedition to the Rocky mountains… (Graff 1433) and Wild life in the far west; personal adventures of a border mountain man… (Graff 1914), which both feature Kit Carson, and Life of J. C. Adams, known as Old Adams, Old Grizzly Adams... (Graff 15), the famous bear trainer who opened a mountaineer museum in his later life. Conquering the wilderness, or, New pictorial history of the life and times of the pioneer heroes and heroines of America (Graff 4195)includes accounts of Davy Crocket, Kit Carson, Daniel Boone and Buffalo Bill among others, while perhaps the most famous American pioneers can be discovered through History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the sources of the Missouri: volume I (Graff 2478-1).

The accompanying map, was reduced from the original... 1835 Broadside Minnesota; Canada
[Account book, May 25, 1825 to June 14, 1828] 1825-1828 Financial Record; Journal; Ephemera
[Account of activities in Canada] 1843 Journal Canada
Adventures with Indians and game, or twenty years in the Rocky Mountains 1903 Rare Book
Afoot and Alone; a walk from sea to sea by the southern route. Adventures and observations in Southern California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, etc. ... 1871 Rare Book; Journal North Carolina; South Carolina; Georgia; Alabama; Mississippi; Louisiana; Texas; New Mexico; Arizona; California
[Ambrotype portrait of Kit Carson] 1859 Photograph
Army sacrifices; or, Briefs from official pigeon-holes. Sketches based on official reports, grouped together for the purpose of illustrating the services and experiences of the regular army of the United States on the Indian frontier 1879 Rare Book The Dakotas; New Mexico; Mexico; Wyoming; Colorado; Texas
Audubon and his journals Vol I 1897 Ephemera; Photograph; Correspondence; Rare Book; Journal Canada
Audubon and his journals, Vol. II 1897 Ephemera; Photograph; Correspondence; Rare Book; Journal Kentucky; Florida; Canada
Autobiography of a pioneer 1914 Pamphlet; Journal California; Missouri; Texas
[Autograph letter signed, addressed to Henry Heald] 1811 Correspondence
[Autograph letter signed, addressed to Mr. Davis] 1895 Correspondence California
[Autograph letter, addressed to James Rumsey] 28 Jul 1770 Correspondence Illinois
[Autograph letter, addressed to John Bachman] 08 Jan 1845 Correspondence
B.C., 1887. A ramble in British Columbia, by J.A. Lees and W.J. Clutterbuck... with map and 75 illustrations from sketches and photographs by the authors. 1888 Rare Book Canada
Baughman, the Oklahoma scout. Personal reminiscences 1886 Rare Book Oklahoma; Kansas
The Black Hills. A minute description of the routes, scenery, soil, climate, timber, gold, geology, zoölogy, etc. With an accurate map, four sectional drawings, and ten plates from photographs, taken on the spot. 1876 Rare Book Wyoming; Nebraska; The Dakotas
The border and the buffalo: an untold story of the southwest plains 1907 Rare Book Missouri; Kansas; Texas; New Mexico
The boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase; a historical study 1901 Rare Book Louisiana; Texas; Florida
Buffalo Bill from Prairie to Palace 1893 Rare Book Iowa; Colorado
A chapter in the life of one of the pioneers of the Reserve 1880-1899 Journal Ohio; Indiana; Pennsylvania
[Collection of published and manuscript writings] 1841-1848 Rare Book; Ephemera Colorado; Mexico; Oregon
Conquering the wilderness, or, New pictorial history of the life and times of the pioneer heroes and heroines of America 1883 Rare Book Kentucky; New Mexico; California
Copy of my journal from Fort Union [illegible word] Commencing Augt. 16th at 12 o’clock, the moment of our departure c.1845 Journal
Crossing the Plains; narratives of the scenes, incidents and adventures attending the overland journey of the Decatur and Rush county emigrants to the "far-off" Oregon in 1852. With an introductory chapter by Camilia T. Donnell, and a thrilling narrative of a Buffalo Hunt and Battle Royal with Mountain Wolves, by Sutherland McCoy. 1896 Rare Book Indiana; Oregon
Dakota Tawaxitku Kin; or, The Dakota Friend 1852 Periodical The Dakotas; Canada
A day with the Cow Column in 1843; recollections of my boyhood 1934 Rare Book; Journal Oregon; Idaho
Death valley in '49... 1894 Rare Book California; Michigan; Wisconsin; Ohio
Diary of the Washburn expedition to the Yellowstone and Firehole rivers in the year 1870 c.1905 Diary; Journal Montana; Wyoming
The discovery, settlement and present state of Kentucke… 1784 Rare Book Kentucky
Echoes of the Past 1914 Rare Book California; Nevada; Illinois; Iowa; Missouri; Idaho; Wyoming; Ohio
Ein ausflug nach felsen-gebirgen im jahre 1839... 1840 Rare Book Oregon; Missouri
Expedition to Oregon 1914 Pamphlet Oregon; Illinois
Experiences of a trapper and hunter from youth to old age 1924 Rare Book
Exploration du territoire de L'Orégon, des Californies et de la Mer Vermeille 1844 Map California; Oregon
The extermination of the American bison, with a sketch of its discovery and life history 1889 Rare Book Kansas; Texas; Nebraska; The Dakotas
Famous frontiersmen, pioneers and scouts; the vanguards of American civilization 1883 Rare Book Wyoming; Ohio; Canada; Kentucky; Tennessee; Virginia; California; Washington; New York; Arizona; Colorado; Nebraska; Texas; Pennsylvania
For Alaska gold fields the Kotzebue Sound Mining and Trading Co. will dispatch the fast sailing bark J.A. Falkenburg...on May 10, 1898 direct to Kotzebue Sound ... 1898 Broadside; Poster Alaska; California
[Four maps taken from 'The central gold region. The grain, pastoral and gold regions of North America. With some new views of its physical geography; and observations on the Pacific railroad.'] 1860 Map Colorado; Wyoming
Four years in British Columbia and Vancouver Island: an account of their forests, rivers, coasts, gold fields and resources for colonisation 1862 Rare Book Canada
Frontier legend; Texas finale of Capt. William F. Drannan pseudo frontier comrade of Kit Carson... 1954 Rare Book Texas
George Frederick Augustus Ruxton papers c.1839-1948 Correspondence; Broadside; Photograph Missouri; Mexico
The great west and Pacific coast c.1877 Rare Book The West; Pacific Northwest
The great western almanac for 1843 1843 Pamphlet The Dakotas
History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the sources of the Missouri: volume I 1814 Rare Book Nebraska; Colorado; Wyoming; Idaho
History of the expedition under the command of Captains Lewis and Clark, to the sources of the Missouri: volume II 1814 Rare Book Oregon; Washington; Missouri; Wyoming
The history of Oregon and California: and the other territories of the North-West coast of North America, accompanied by a geographical view and map of those countries, and a number of documents as proofs and illustrations of the history 1844 Rare Book Oregon; California; Canada; Missouri; Pacific Northwest
The history of Texas; or, The emigrant’s, farmer’s, and politician’s guide to the character, climate, soil and productions of that country: geographically arranged from personal observation and experience 1836 Rare Book Texas; Mexico
Hudson’s Bay, or, Every-day life in the wilds of North America during six years’ residence in the territories of the honourable Hudson’s Bay Company 1848 Rare Book Canada
Idaho: six months in the new gold diggings. The emigrants guide overland. Itinerary of routes, features of the country, journal of residence, etc. 1864 Pamphlet Idaho
Illustrated notes of an expedition through Mexico and California 1852 Rare Book California; Texas; Mexico
Incidents and experience in Iowa from 1840 to 1844 1840-1844 Journal Iowa
Indian sketches, taken during an expedition to the Pawnee tribes, Vol. I 1835 Rare Book Missouri
Indian sketches, taken during an expedition to the Pawnee tribes, Vol. II 1835 Rare Book Missouri
The Indian War of 1864 being a fragment of the early history of Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming... 1911 Rare Book Kansas; Nebraska; Colorado; Wyoming
The Iowa Band 1870 Rare Book Iowa; Wisconsin; Illinois
James Clyman, American Frontiersman, 1792-1881. The adventures of a trapper and covered wagon emigrant... 1928 Rare Book California; Oregon; Missouri; Illinois; Wisconsin; Utah; Idaho; Wyoming; Nebraska; The Dakotas
John Bidwell, pioneer, statesman, philanthropist: a biographical sketch 1906 Rare Book California
John Colter, discoverer of Yellowstone park; an account of his exploration in 1807 and of his further adventures as hunter; trapper; Indian fighter; pathfinder and member of the Lewis and Clark expedition 1926 Rare Book Wyoming; Montana; Idaho
John Hunton’s diary: volumes 1-3 (1873-1879) 1956-1970 Rare Book Wyoming
John Hunton’s diary: volumes 4-6 (1880-1889) 1956-1970 Rare Book Wyoming
The journal of Andrew Ellicott 1803 Rare Book Florida; Ohio; Mississippi
Journal of a trapper, or, Nine years in the Rocky Mountains, 1834-1843: being a general description of the country, climate, rivers, lakes mountains, etc., and a view of the life led by a hunter in those regions 1914 Journal; Rare Book Wyoming; Idaho; Oregon
A journal of travels into the Arkansas territory, during the year 1819. With occasional observations on the manners of the aborigines. Illustrated by a map and other engravings. 1821 Journal Arkansas; Pennsylvania; Ohio; Mississippi
The journals of Capt. Thomas Becknell from Boone's Lick to Santa Fe and from Santa Cruz to Green River 1910 Pamphlet New Mexico; Missouri
L.A. Huffman photographs 1833-1907 Photograph Montana
Letter from the Secretary of War, transmitting, in compliance with a Senate resolution of February 23, 1875, a report of the expedition to the Black Hills, under command of Bvt. Maj. Gen. George A. Custer 1875 Broadside The Dakotas; Wyoming; Montana
Letter of J. C. Fremont to the editors of the National Intelligencer, communicating some general results of a recent winter expedition across the Rocky Mountains, for the survey of a route for a roilroad [sic] to the Pacific… 1854 Pamphlet; Correspondence Kansas; New Mexico; Arkansas; Nevada; California
Letter: Seattle, Wash., to Mr. Fred Lockley, Portland [Oregon] 23 Apr 1926 Correspondence Washington
The life and adventures of Colonel David Crockett of Tennessee 1833 Rare Book Tennessee
The life and adventures of James P. Beckwourth, mountaineer, scout, and pioneer, and chief of the Crow nation of Indians. With illustrations. Written from his own dictation, by T. D. Bonner 1856 Rare Book Tennessee; New Mexico; California
Life of J. C. Adams, known as Old Adams, Old Grizzly Adams... 1860 Pamphlet California; Oregon; Utah
Life sketches of a jayhawker of ’49, by L. Dow Stephens; actually told by himself in his own way. 1916 Pamphlet Iowa; California; Arizona; Canada
Loren L. Williams journals, 1851-1880: volume I, early reminiscences of south western Oregon 1851-1859 Journal; Ephemera Oregon
Loren L. Williams journals, 1851-1880: volume II 1859-1862 Journal; Ephemera
Loren L. Williams journals, 1851-1880: volume III 1862-1866 Journal; Ephemera
Loren L. Williams journals, 1851-1880: volume IV 1866-1875 Journal; Ephemera
Loren L. Williams journals, 1851-1880: volume V 1875-1880 Journal; Ephemera
Mad rush for gold in frozen North 1914 Journal Alaska
Map of explorations and suveys in New Mexico and Utah 1860 Map New Mexico; Utah; Arizona; Colorado
Map of a reconnaissance of the Black Hills 1874 Map The Dakotas; Wyoming; Montana
Map to illustrate Mr Kane's Travels in the territory of the Hudson's Bay Company 1859 Map Canada; Oregon
Memoirs of a pioneer c.1929 Pamphlet; Journal Wyoming; Kansas; Utah
Memorandum and diary of J. Clyman 1840-1841 Diary; Journal
Message from the President of the United States ... communicating a report of an expedition led by Lieutenant Albert on the upper Arkansas and through the country of the Camanche Indians in the fall of the year 1845... c.1846 Journal Arkansas
[Mounted photograph of Christopher Carson] c.1860 Photograph
Narrative of the adventures of Zenas Leonard, a native of Clearfield County, PA. Who spent five years in trapping for furs, trading with the Indians, &c. &c., of the Rocky Mountains 1839 Rare Book Canada
A narrative of events and difficulties in the colonization of Oregon, and the settlement of California… 1852 Pamphlet Oregon; California
Narrative of the exploring expedition to the Rocky mountains in the year 1842: and to Oregon and north California in the years 1843-44 1847 Rare Book; Journal Oregon; California; Kansas; Utah
Narrative of Richard Lee Mason in the pioneer west, 1819 1915 Pamphlet Illinois; Ohio; Kentucky; Indiana; Pennsylvania
National map of the territory of the United States from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean 1867 Map USA
New map; Gold in the Black Hills, with explanatory notes and extracts from official reports, with laws appended upon the subject of mines and mining 1876 Pamphlet The Dakotas; Wyoming
Northern Wiskonsan: a description of the northern part of this territory 1843 Pamphlet Wisconsin
Notes of a sporting expedition in the far west of Canada, 1847 1898 Rare Book; Journal Canada
Official map of the territory of Arizona compiled from surveys, reconnaisances and other sources 1880 Map Arizona
Official map of the Territory of Arizona: with all the recent explorations c.1864 Map Arizona
The olden time; a monthly publication, devoted to the preservation of documents and other authentic information in relation to the early explorations, and the settlement and improvement of the country around the head of the Ohio. v. 1-2 [Jan. 1846-Dec. 1847] 1846-1848 Periodical Pennsylvania
On the border with Crook 1891 Rare Book Arizona; Montana; Nebraska; The Dakotas
The Oregon trail; sketches of prairie and Rocky-mountain life...Illustrated by Frederic Remington 1892 Rare Book Oregon; Wyoming; Colorado; Kansas; Nebraska
Original photograph of Grizzly Adams and a grizzly bear c.1860 Photograph
Panoramic views [of Yellowstone National Park]: U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories 1882 Map Wyoming
Part of central Wyoming: U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories 1882 Map Wyoming
The personal narrative of James O. Pattie, of Kentucky… 1831 Rare Book; Journal Missouri; California; Colorado; Wyoming; New Mexico; Mexico
Pioneer life or, Thirty years a hunter. Being scenes and adventures in the life of Philip Tome. 1854 Rare Book Pennsylvania
Punch’s-pocket-book 1845 Diary; Financial Record
Recollections of my boyhood 1914 Rare Book Oregon; Missouri; Idaho; Wyoming; Washington
Recollections of my life: fifty years of itinerancy in the Northwest 1885 Rare Book Minnesota; Ohio; Florida; Tennessee; Wisconsin; Indiana; California; New York; Illinois
Reconnaissance of the Zuñi, Little Colorado, and Colorado Rivers 1852 Map Colorado
Report of the committee appointed to inquire whether any, and if any, what, alterations are necessary to be made in the act for establishing trading houses with the Indians, and the several acts supplementary thereto 1810 Pamphlet Arkansas; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Louisiana; Michigan; Mississippi; Ohio; Oklahoma
Report of the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures… 1804 Pamphlet Louisiana; Texas; Arkansas; Kansas; Oklahoma
Report of an expedition up the Yellow Stone River, made in 1875 1875 Pamphlet The Dakotas
Report of the exploration of two passes through the Rocky Mountains, in 1858 1859 Pamphlet Canada
[Report of explorations in and about the Big Horn Mountains, and the valleys of the Big Horn, Grey Bull and Stinking Water, and Clark’s Fork, lying west of and between the Big Horn and the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, and thence crossing the main chain to the National Park] 1881 Pamphlet Missouri; Wyoming
Report of Lieut. General P.H. Sheridan, dated September 20, 1881, of his expedition through the Big Horn Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, etc.: together with reports of Lieut. Col. J. F. Gregory,... Surgeon W. H. Forwood, and Capt. S. C. Kellogg... 1882 Pamphlet; Journal Wyoming
Report of the secretary of war: communicating, in answer to a resolution of the Senate, a report of E. F. Beale of his exploration for a wagon road from Fort Defiance, in New Mexico, to the western borders of California 1858 Rare Book New Mexico; California
Report upon the Colorado River of the West 1861 Rare Book New Mexico; Utah; California; Mexico
Roughing it 1872 Rare Book; Journal Nevada; California
The routes and mineral resources of north western Canada 1898 Rare Book Canada
The Russian settlement in California, Fort Ross 1896 Pamphlet California
Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains, a diary and narrative of travel, sport, and adventure, during a journey through the Hudson's Bay Company's territories, in 1859 and 1860 1875 Rare Book; Journal Canada
Schoolcraft and Allen--expedition to northwest Indians: letter from the Secretary of War, transmitting a map and report of Lieut. Allen and H.B. [i.e. R.] Schoolcraft’s visit to the northwest Indians in 1832 1832 Pamphlet Canada; Minnesota
Seventy years on the frontier: Alexander Majors' memoir of a lifetime on the border… with a preface by "Buffalo Bill" 1893 Rare Book Mexico; Nebraska; Colorado; Utah
Six weeks on horseback through Yellowstone park 1913 Rare Book; Correspondence Wyoming
Sketch of road from Corinne on the U. P. R. R., Utah Ty. to Fort Shaw, Montana: from sketches and field notes of 1st Lt. J. M. Sanno and Major W. H. Lewis of the 7th US Infty... c.1870 Map Utah; Montana
Sketch of the routes of Hunt and Stuart 1836 Map Missouri; Nebraska; The Dakotas; Wyoming; Idaho; Washington; Oregon
Sketches of the life and adventures of Jacob Parkhurst 1842 Rare Book Ohio; Pennsylvania; Kentucky
Ten thousand miles of travel, sport and adventure 1869 Rare Book
Three years among the Indians and Mexicans 1846 Pamphlet Missouri; New Mexico; Montana
A thrilling narrative of the horrible sufferings and miraculous escape of Samuel Brown... 1852 Pamphlet Iowa
Tracks and trails, or, incidents in the life of a Minnesota territorial pioneer 1931 Pamphlet Minnesota; Illinois; Mississippi
Travels and experiences in America with army, and Indian reminiscences c.1890 Journal; Diary Oklahoma; Kansas; Missouri; Canada
True tales of the plains, by Buffalo Bill 1908 Rare Book Kansas; The Dakotas; Iowa; Nebraska; Wyoming; Colorado
Twenty years on the trap line. Being a collection of revised camp notes written at intervals during a twenty years experience in trapping. 1891 Rare Book Iowa; Minnesota; The Dakotas
[Two maps from 'Railroad to the Pacific: northern route: its general character, relative merits, etc.'] 1854 Map
[Two maps taken from 'Narrative of an expedition to the shores of the Arctic Sea, in 1846 and 1847'] 1850 Map Canada
Uncle Dudley’s odd hours: western sketches, Indian trail echoes, straws of humor 1904 Rare Book Minnesota
Where to emigrate and why. Homes and fortunes in the boundless West and the sunny South... with a complete history and description of the Pacific railroad 1869 Rare Book California; Oregon; Washington; Alaska; Idaho; Montana; Arizona; New Mexico; Utah; Colorado; Wyoming; The Dakotas; Nebraska; Kansas; Minnesota; Iowa; Missouri; Wisconsin; Michigan; Illinois; Virginia; North Carolina; South Carolina; Georgia; Alabama; Mississippi; Tennessee; Kentucky; Texas; Louisiana; Arkansas
Wild life in the far west; personal adventures of a border mountain man… 1872 Rare Book California; Mexico; Arizona
The Yosemite guide-book: a description of the Yosemite Valley and the adjacent region of the Sierra Nevada, and of the big trees of California 1870 Rare Book; Map California; Nevada