Bartlett Sketchbook

The Case:

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.

Discuss this story

Season 8, Episode 5

Eduardo Pagán Location:
Rhode Island and Arizona

Artwork of the Southwest

Related Content

Related Links


This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.


blog comments powered by Disqus