Contents and Arrangement

Sylvester Mowry Letter to His Father, 1853 November 27

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Eight-page letter detailing the survey expedition for the Northern route of the Pacific Railroad across the Cascade Range in July-November 1853. Mowry's letter provides a thorough account of the expedition from its departure from Fort Vancouver on July 27th, 1853, until its return four months later on November 18th. He describes crossing the Cascade Range at the 46th latitude; surveying the Yakima River basin where they found a French Catholic mission; trips to Fort Dalles, Fort Okanogan, up the Okanagan River to British territory, and to the Great Okanagan Lake; meeting in Fort Colville with Governor Isaac Stevens, the head of the Northern Pacific Survey; and returning down the Columbia River via Fort Walla Walla and Fort Dalles. Mowry mentions other expedition members, including Lieutenant Duncan (3rd Artillery, astronomer, topographer, and draughtsman) and Lieutenant Hodges (4th Artillery, quartermaster, and commissary); describes the newly surveyed territory, mentioning volcanic activity and discovery of gold in the Cascades; and shares his opinion on railway construction and other uses of the land.

The year on the letter appears to be 1883, though this is likely an erratum based on the letter's author and content.


Materials are arranged in the order in which they were accessioned.

Collection History


AM 2017-50


No materials were removed during processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by John Delaney in April 2013. Finding aid written by John Delaney in April 2013.

Finding aid updated by Faith Charlton in June 2016 and by Kelly Bolding in October 2016, August 2017, November 2017, November 2018, January 2019, July 2019, September 2019, November 2019, January 2020, and February 2020.

No additions will be made to this collection. Accessions relating to this topic will be added to the General Manuscripts Miscellaneous Collection (C0140).

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Sylvester Mowry Letter to His Father; Princeton University Library Collection of Western Americana Miscellaneous Manuscripts, C1446, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 1

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