A collector of early Southwest American images, our contributor has a hunch this flea market find, a leather bound sketchbook, might outline significant US history.
The date in the sketchbook is 1852 and includes drawings of what look like Southwest landscapes. There are topographical notes and botanical notes, lists of supplies and references to a J.R. Bartlett.
Could that be the John Russell Bartlett who the US Government hired as an early surveyor of the Southwest? Was this sketchbook related to the first US-Mexican border survey?
This investigation takes History Detectives to the fiercely disputed borderlands of the Southwest and to a Bartlett historian who has travelled miles of Bartlett’s original trail. Finally, an art historian advances our journey to its colorful conclusion.
Artwork of the Southwest
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