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Lewis and Clark Documents

More than 3,000 pages of original manuscripts, rare books, and contemporary illustrations from the Lewis and Clark expedition can be found in American Journeys. Click the AJ number below to go to the document’s home page where you can begin reading, search its contents, read a background essay about it, and more. All of these documents may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial educational use; for more details, click “Copyright and Permissions” from any document home page.

  • AJ-140
    Jefferson, Thomas. Jefferson Suggests Transcontinental Expedition to George Rogers Clark, 1783. In this two-page manuscript letter from the Draper Manuscripts, the future president suggests such an expedition to William Clark’s older brother two decades before the Corps of Discovery sets out.

  • AJ-100
    Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804-1806, edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites.. Printed from the Original Manuscripts … Together with Manuscript Material of Lewis and Clark from Other Sources, including Note-Books, Letters, Maps, etc. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1904-1905). Volumes 1-7; 2,977 pages with more than 200 illustrations. The atlas volume was not included here because all important Lewis and Clark maps are already available from the Library of Congress American Memory Project ( For other expedition material elsewhere on the Web, see the background essay to volume one of this document.

  • AJ-097
    The Original Journal of Sergeant Charles Floyd, 1804. The manuscript diary of the only member of the expedition to die en route. 59 pages in color, with typed transcription.

  • AJ-090
    Jefferson, Thomas. Message from the President of the United States, Communicating Discoveries Made in Exploring the Missouri, Red River, and Washita, by Captains Lewis and Clark, Doctor Sibley, and Mr. Dunbar; with a Statistical Account of the Countries Adjacent. (New York: Printed by Hopkins and Seymour, 1806). 131 pages including Lewis’ first extensive report of what the Corps of Discovery had found.

  • AJ-146
    Clark, William. Manuscript Letter on Journey up the Missouri River, Fort Mandan, April 2, 1805. One-page letter from William Clark to Major William Croghan on what happened to the expedition during its first season. From the Draper Manuscripts.

  • AJ-147
    Clark, William. “Letter from Capt. Clark, One of the Party Appointed by the President to Explore the Missouri, &c, to His Brother, St. Louis, September 23, 1806.” Clark’s 5-page account of the expedition, written the day they returned to St. Louis, as it appeared in The Monthly Anthology, and Boston Review (Boston: Munroe & Francis, 1807).

  • AJ-160
    Frazer, Robert . Manuscript Prospectus for the Publication of Robert Frazer's Journal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Frazer’s journal was lost and only this prospectus for its publication survives.

  • AJ-100
    Bodmer, Karl. 63 Engravings of Places and People Encountered by Lewis and Clark. First published in Maximilian Prince of Wied's travel narrative, Reise in das innere Nord-America in den Jahren 1832-1834 (Coblenz: J. Hölscher, 1839-1841). Scanned from the original plates, some in color. These are distributed throughout the journals; they are easily retrieved by entering Bodmer in the “search all fields” box.
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