Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reading the History of... Snake Country Expedition

Largely the story of fur traders Donald Mackenzie and Alexander Ross, who led the earliest fur trapping expeditions into the Snake River Country of present-day Idaho and Montana on behalf of the North West Company in the 1820s, this history also analyzes the legal, institutional, and commerce-related forces driving the North American fur trade of the early 19th century.

Details about the expeditions was provided primarily by Ross, a conscientious chronicler, who recorded Mackenzie's trailblazing expeditions of 1821-23 as well as the difficult 1824 expedition that he led.

"His journals provide the first account there is of daily happenings in the Snake country," historian John Phillip Reid points out. "The most compelling reason Ross and other leaders of the earliest Snake expedition kept journals was to furnish guidance to future trapping parties and inform them of problems, dangers, and places to avoid."

Expeditions in the Snake River Country,
by John Phillip Reid
The Arthur H. Clark Company, 2011

Artwork: Trappers Carrying Furs on Snowshoes
Out of the Past: Snake Country Expedition
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Appalachian Toys and Games from A to Z

The toys and games described in this watercolor-illustrated children's picture book are authentic 19th century pastimes enjoyed by youngsters growing up in America's Appalachia Mountains.

Ranging from apple dolls (a wrinkled toy molded from Rome apples) to whimmydiddles (a toy carved by young boys on a stick with a spinner), author Linda Hager Pack provides an alphabetical sampling of traditional games, toys, and songs depicting playtime in 19th century Appalachia. The book describes familiar toys like marbles, slingshots and pick-up-sticks along with lesser-known toys such as limberjacks, Tom Walkers, and buzz buttons.

A native Appalachian, Pack is a veteran educator who has taught college-level courses in children's literature. Her text is accompanied by the artwork of master watercolorist Pat Banks.

by Linda Hager Pack
The University Press of Kentucky, 2013

continued in The Book Stall

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Growing Camellias in Cold Climates

Based on the author's decades of research and breeding experience, this book details the cultural practices necessary for growing camellias in northern climates. It names and profiles cultivars that have proven themselves cold hardy across many seasons.

"The primary purpose of Growing Camellias in Cold Climates is to present the advantages (there are some) and the challenges encountered by the northern gardener," Ackerman explains. "These emphasize striking differences as compared to those followed by our southern friends."

by William L. Ackerman
Noble House, 2003
continued in The Book Stall