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A Selective Bibliography of Exploration
Relating to the United States


by William H. Goetzmann
University of Texas at Austin

Part I. Atlases and General Works

The exploration literature relating to the United States is perhaps more abundant than that of any other nation except Britain and Spain—both proprietors of vast empires.

Perhaps the best place to start for the U.S. is with William H. Goetzmann and Glyndwr Williams, The Atlas of North American Exploration, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1992 and a good road atlas. Other important atlases are Seymour Swartz and Ralph Eherenberg, The Mapping of America, Abrams, NY, 1980, repr., Wellfleet, NJ, 2001, Eric Newby, The World Atlas of Exploration, Artists House, London, 1975, repr., 1982, Phillips' Atlas of World Exploration, London 1996, The Times Atlas of World Exploration, HarperCollins, NY, 1991, Dennis Reinhartz and C.C. Colley, Mapping the American Southwest, Texas A&M Press, College Station, TX, 1987.

There are several useful series, the most recent of which is John Logan Allen, The Exploration of North America, 3 vols., U. Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1997. For Texas see Ron C. Tyler, The Handbook of Texas, 6 vols., Texas State Historical Association, Austin, TX, and available online, Rueben Gold Thwaites, Early Western Travels, 1748-1875, 22 vols., reprint, Winwood, 1998, Carl I. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West, 5 vols., Institute of Historical Cart., San Francisco, 1957-1963, Leroy R. Hafen, The Mountain Men and Fur Trade of the Far West, 10 vols., Arthur H. Clark, Glendale, CA, 1965-72, repr., 2001, Adelaide R. Hasse, Reports of Explorations Printed in the Documents of the United States Government, NY, reprint 1969. This is an indispensable guide to the many 19th Century published reports (with copious illustrations) that appear in the U.S. Congress, House and Senate Documents Series. Another important bibliography of late 19th Century exploration is Lawrence F. Schmeckebier, Catalogue and Index of the Publications of the Hayden, King, Powell and Wheeler Surveys, Northwest Books, Portland, OR, 1904, repr., 1970. Also see Raymond Howego, Encyclopedia of Exploration to 1800, Hordern House, Potts Point, Australia, 2003, Howard R. Lamar, The New Encyclopedia of the American West, Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT, 1998, and William H. Goetzmann, The World Explorers Series, 33 vols., Chelsea House, NY,1991—that includes the major American explorers. And finally, William H. Goetzmann, New Lands, New Men: America and the Second Great Age of Discovery, revival reprint, Texas State Historical Association, Austin, TX, 1995, treats the whole of American exploration by land and around the world concluding with Robert E. Peary's attaining the North Pole in 1909 finally confirmed by Thomas D. Davies of the Foundation for the Promotion of the Art of Navigation in 1990 by using modern photogrametry.

Introduction || Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 || Conclusion

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