Originally published in 1951, Newbery and Caldecott Medal winner James Daugherty has applied his literary and artistic skill to bringing to life the remarkable expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their 3555-mile trek from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. Taken largely from original accounts of the expedition, Daugherty has written in his simple, forceful, and lyrical way to evoke the drama and pathos of what was one of American's most daring journeys of discovery. Commissioned in 1803 by President Thomas Jefferson to explore and open up this vast territory, Lewis and Clark felt it was the realization of a lifelong dream. Against the hardships of the wilderness, possible attack by hostile Indians, sudden blizzards and terrifying natural obstacles, these two men led a Corps of Discovery ably and nobly to complete their mission. Their Corps included American Indians from the Sioux, Mandan, Shoshone, Clatsop and Chopunnish tribes as well as one black slave named York. Sacajawea—the only woman on the trip—was a Shoshone who contributed invaluable service as interpreter and guide. Daugherty's evocative sepia and black ink illustrations depict individuals of humor, vitality, passion, and strength.
About the Author: Before James Daugherty (1889-1974) became a noted author, he was a well-established artist having illustrated more than forty books by other authors. In Mr. Daugherty's own books, the art and text combine gusto, exuberance, rich detail and a masculine style singing a song of America. When receiving the Newbery Award in 1940 for Daniel Boone, Daugherty summed up the spirit of his major lifework: "Wit and taste, beauty and joy are as much a necessary part of the democratic heritage as economics and the utilities...Children's books are a part of that art of joy and joy in art that is the certain inalienable right of a free people." Mr. Daugherty is primarily remembered for his inspired expression of the American spirit in both visual and literary form, a spirit characterized by appreciation for the heroes of democracy. In publishing three of his titles we have painstakingly preserved his two and three color drawings so that you may enjoy his books in their original context.