Dear Brother: William Clark's Letters Published by The Filson and Yale University Press

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Portrait of William Clark by Joseph Bush, circa 1817.The project undertaken by Jim Holmberg to edit a collection of William Clark letters at The Filson is nearing its completion.  In the spring of 2002, Yale University Press, in association with The Filson Historical Society, will publish Dear Brother: Letters of William Clark to Jonathan Clark.

These highly significant William Clark letters were written to his beloved oldest brother, Jonathan, over an almost twenty-year period. They contain important information about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the post-expedition life of his slave, York, the death of Meriwether Lewis, and many other people and subjects. They provide a window to William Clark’s world, through which we can view its people and events in it, including William himself.  A total of fifty-five letters (including eight written to other Clark family members that appear in an appendix) are divided into chapters reflecting periods of William Clark's life mirrored by the letters.  Extensive notes, an introduction, brief chapter introductions, illustrations, and a foreword by noted Lewis and Clark scholar James Ronda help reveal the value of the letters.

Letter written by William Clark to his brother Jonathan from Ft. Mandan in April 1805 before setting off into country "extensv and unexplored."Those familiar with the history of the letters know that they were discovered in a Louisville attic in 1988 among the family papers of Temple Bodley, a Jonathan Clark descendant.  Mr. Holmberg, in reflecting upon seeing the Clark letters for the first time, remembers the experience as one of the most memorable moments of his curatorial career.  In recognizing the significance of the letters, he knew they should be published.  Both Professors James Ronda and Gary Moulton, editor of The Journals of The Lewis and Clark Expedition, have stated that William's letters to his brother Jonathan provide greater insight into the man himself than any other known letters.  Readers will be able to experience for themselves the world of William Clark as given to us by the pen of the great explorer himself.

To purchase a copy of Dear Brother, Please visit our online bookstore.

Volume 3, Number 1

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