• "Red Bluffs, North Platte River, U.S. Geological survey going into camp where the Oregon Trail." Courtesy Brigham Young University via the Mountain West Digital Library.

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    Red Bluffs, North Platte River, U.S. Geological survey going into camp where the Oregon Trail
    • Date
    • 1869-1870
    • Creator
    • Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942
    • Description
    • A photograph of wagons and men approaching a river. The title was taken from Jackson's The Oregon Trail, Photographs of the U.S. Geological Survey of 1869 & 1870,"" and more recent views along the old trail made in 1929. Gelatin print, 9 x 19.5 cm. E... more
      A photograph of wagons and men approaching a river. The title was taken from Jackson's The Oregon Trail, Photographs of the U.S. Geological Survey of 1869 & 1870,"" and more recent views along the old trail made in 1929. Gelatin print, 9 x 19.5 cm. Electronic reproduction. less
    • Rights
    • Http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/special_collections.php; public domain; Courtesy L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University
    • Partner
    • Mountain West Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Brigham Young University - Harold B. Lee Library

  • "Oregon Territory. Illman & Pilbrow Sc. Entered ... 1833 by Illman & Pilbrow ... New-York." Courtesy the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

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    Oregon Territory. Illman & Pilbrow Sc. Entered ... 1833 by Illman & Pilbrow ... New-York
    • Date
    • 1835
    • Creator
    • Burr, David H., 1803-1875. Illman & Pilbrow.
    • Description
    • In full color by region. The first edition, with no date on the title page and the copyright dates on the maps running from 1831 to 1835. This issue is probably earlier than the LOC copy - the LOC copy has most of the pages numbered, while this copy ... more
      In full color by region. The first edition, with no date on the title page and the copyright dates on the maps running from 1831 to 1835. This issue is probably earlier than the LOC copy - the LOC copy has most of the pages numbered, while this copy has only a few pages numbered (and the numbers there are do not always correspond to the index numbers). Ristow states that Burr completed only eight of the 63 maps by 1832 and was then unable to complete the project because of his appointment to the U.S. Post Office as topographer; the atlas was completed by Illman and Pilbrow and issued in 1835. Burr is given credit on the title page, and the entire group of maps is in his "style" so we can assume he played at least a supervisory role in the production of the remaining maps. This copy is all original with half leather brown cloth covered boards and gilt stamped title "The Universal Atlas" on the front board, and tissue between each map. Full color. P771,1379a; Ristow p.106. P771-48,1379a-48. less
    • Rights
    • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
    • Partner
    • David Rumsey

What began as an informal network of trails created by Native Americans to trade and hunt was expanded by the expeditions of prominent explorers, including Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and John Jacob Astor to become the migration paths of America’s settlers and later some of the roads and highways that traverse the country today. Early traders, mapmakers, and surveyors provided descriptions and rudimentary maps to people living in the East that piqued the public imagination. Fur traders, such as Jedediah Smith and Kit Carson, later expanded American settlers' knowledge of the Western half of the continent by sharing experiences from their trapping expeditions. Missionaries used this information to venture into the northwest to found churches in the 1830s. Large-scale migration into the Oregon Territory began in 1840, when the trail, which would become known as the “Oregon Trail,” was still faint and maps were scarce.