William H. Clark is one of the most well-known figures in the history of westward expansion; he was half of the Lewis and Clark duo whose expedition was the stuff of which legends are made. But beyond the expedition journals, what do we know of him, his family, or his private life?
Perhaps a little more, thanks to the efforts of Robert G. Stone (Historical Markers, Ltd.) and David M. Hinkley (Fiber Accents). In their first joint printing venture, they bring us a unique look at the private life of William Clark through his "other" journal, the remaining book in the set on which he recorded his journey with Lewis. The original book is part of the William Clark Papers collection in the Missouri Historical Society archives. Handwriting and spelling similarities seem to confirm its authorship by Clark's own hand.
Simply put, this book is a collection of interesting family recipes, home remedies, and partial listing of the belongings of each family member. This kind of specific information provides valuable insight into Clark's family and personal life. Mr. Stone and Mr. Hinkley recognized its value and have edited and assembled its contents in Clark's Other Journal.
In these pages the reader will find a brief biography of William Clark, and page after page of inventory lists and bits of wisdom from the Clark home. Here are entries for clothing items like frocks, pantaloons, stockings, drawers, dresses, handkerchiefs, and shoes as well as materials such as silk, gingham, calico, muslin, dimity, cambric, flannel, linen, nankeen, and sheeting. Jewelry items include topaz, pearl, gold, coral, and jet.
Beyond these material items are also many entries of home wisdom, including gardening tips, many recipes (crisp crackers, bay leaf ketchup, stewed oysters, all sorts of puddings, rolls, cakes, bread, and so forth) home remedies for cough, croup, and burns, and directions for preserving fruits like apples and currants. Lifted directly from the pages of the historic original, Clark's Other Journal speaks volumes as to the everyday life of a person with Clark's social standing in 1820 St. Louis. Such material is rarely made available for the research needs of folks who cannot travel to the archives in person. Mr. Hinkley and Mr. Stone have done researchers and living historians a great service in compiling and publishing this material.
In addition to its merit as a research tool, Clark's Other Journal is also a testament to the integrity of two dedicated living history professionals. When the editors were unable to find a bindery that could produce a book in the fashion of the early 1800 time period, they researched binding techniques and hand-bound this first edition in traditional format. The cover is made from marbled paper and the 50-page book has been assembled by hand sewn with linen thread! In short, the book is bound in a format acceptable for strict-jured living history events. The first edition is limited to 500 copies, yet the retail price is very reasonable at $9.50, plus shipping and handling.
Clark's Other Journal is a book well worth having both for its historical value and for its own uniqueness. Hinkley and Stone have promised to publish other such works in the future, and this reviewer looks forward to them. MB
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