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tv   Lewis and Clarks Expedition  CSPAN  February 7, 2016 2:52pm-4:01pm EST

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americans inflicting injury on poor and helpless people and particularly people of a different race and color, no matter how warranted by military ss at or the excesses of the adversary our operations may or may genuinely be, this produces reactions among millions of people around the is profoundly detrimental to the image we would like them to hold of this country. i am not saying this is just our right. i am saying that this is so and it is found in the circumstances to be so. and the victory purchased at the price of further such damage would be a hollow one in our world. vietnam hearings 50 years later. watch more of the hearings chaired by senator j william saturday, from where
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he 13th at 10 p.m. eastern and sunday, february 14, at 4 p.m. eastern. america" only on c-span3. next, authors ralph viola talknd herman about their book. the rolers discussed that native americans played in the expedition. the library of congress hosted >>s hour-long event areas thank you john. -- thank you, john. herman and i are going to act as a tag team today. we have been doing this for many years. we did a trail together a number of times going over the bitterroot mountains, following in the footsteps of lewis and
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clark. we initiated that for the smithsonian, carried that on. i was lucky enough to be involved in a number of those. that is how we became interested in lewis and clark. of course, he is a historian. so he came at it from that point of view. i am a historian of cartography. together we put this book together. as far as we know, it's the only book that talks primarily about the maps of lewis and clark. of course, a huge number of books since the bicentennial of lewis and clark on them and on
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the various activities. some touch on maps. there is a fine atlas that was put together of lewis and clark maps. we are trying to correct this imbalance by guiding and documenting the root of these maps. before i continue, i want to thank a number of people that were involved with this production. beginning with my publisher. a number of books done with the library of congress. i took this to her about 2 years ago and she was very interested in it. we met with one of the publishers in our publishing office. she carried on from there. i want to thank both of them. i want to thank peggy, particularly. and peter from the publishing office. and diane from geography maptivism, who scanned over the
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100 maps in the book. they had to be scanned from the library of congress. the majority are from the map division. i want to thank jackie nolan, our photographer in the geography map division that compiled a number of the map. and our reference section, who helped a great deal when i was working on the book. the theme of our book is a biography of lewis and clark's great 1814 map. is measures 12 by 28 inches. we have a copy here. tony is going to hold it up. just to give you an idea. >> could you speak up just a little bit? ralph: we can't turn this up at a higher? you can't hear me any better? no? it's not working? how about this?
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well, we'll have to speak louder. [laughter] but here is the map. our book is a biography of this map. the power wasn't on. this is the original copperplate engraving. there is an american and british edition. this was published in 1814. the book is the background, the stories behind the story. this map was first published with lewis and clark's journal, the history of the expedition under the command of captains lewis and clark, as edited by nicholas biddle.
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thomas jefferson was the inspiration. he wrote the specifications for the map. for lewis, but most of the mapmaking was done by his coleader, clark, who was a cartographer. military training, and self educated in map making. over 200 maps survived. 30 by american indians. the majority compiled by clark. although jefferson wrote "i cannot live without books." he also wrote "an inspection of a map will give any better description than writing." thomas jefferson himself was a cartographer. he published a map of virginia in 1787. he comes from a family of mapmakers. joshua fry and peter jefferson published the first map of the state of virginia in the 1750's.
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i will move ahead here. this is a map the doctor is showing you. it's the biography of this map we are focusing on. today, the lewis and clark map can be reduced in a few hours, or probably a few minutes, using simple programming language and geographic data downloads from onboard earth orbiting satellites or digital elevation models. the one we see here was done in 2003 by the u.s. geological survey. it took three hours at that point.
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but 200 years ago, the production of this map required a team of some 50 explorers, soldiers, american indians, mountain men, cartographers, copperplate engravers, printers, and an american president and secretary of state. each took this group some 10 years to produce and publish the map that the doctor just showed you. are book is focused on the story of this map and its back story. we will begin with a short overview of the expedition. then we will share several map stories and vignettes within the story, and conclude with a description of several special features of the book. herman: thank you ralph. let's see if we can get this thing to work. i have a very weak voice and the mic isn't working. that is too bad. no way you can get that working? does this help a bit? ah, terrific. this is why we are a good team. [laughter]
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i am herman viola, a curator emeritus at the smithsonian. we have done a lot of lewis and clark adventures together. we did a trail on horseback, i think 20 times. we really got into it. especially the american indians. that is why i got particularly interested in this story. we interacted with so many different indian tribes. as most of you probably know more about this than we do, but we're not telling you the history of the expedition, we are focusing on the story about map. the expedition started out in 1804, ended in st. louis in 1806. it was jefferson's inspiration. he wanted to know what was beyond the mississippi river.
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he wanted to do this several times, could not figure it out. he hired a scientist to come to the west coast by way of russia, and the kossacks stopped him. [laughter] once he became president he was able to make this a reality. he picked meriwether lewis, a man that knew the family quite well, and talked him into coming on board. theoretically, i do want to not want to offend anybody, these were probably republicans at the time. the congress did not want to waste any money. [laughter] anyhow, jefferson had to convince congress this was actually an economic adventure that would pay off for the united states. he needed $2500 or so to fund the soldiers to go west.
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he said we are doing this so that we can make contact with the native peoples that without west. we don't know anything about them. we don't know how many warriors they haven't these tribes. we've already had a couple of wrar with indians to begin withs. the last thing we want to do is to go west and find people we cannot cope with. congress thought that was a good idea. of course, jefferson secretly was hoping to discover new animals. all these stories about extinct creatures. he hoped some of those creatures were still alive. the only president that had a mastodon skeleton in the white
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house. [laughter] he wanted to make sure that the fellows who did this cap good notes, documented the plants and animals, and by priority, make friends with the native people they met. the last thing we wanted was a conflict with people all across the american west. anyhow, the expedition saint out from st. louis in 1804 in may. you can see this wonderful chart, which gives you an idea of the route back and forth. the reality is they actually thought there would be a ship on the pacific coast so that they would not have to walk all the way back again. there would be a boat that could take them. there was a lot of shipping going along the pacific coast. as it turned out, lewis and clark spent the winter out there. there was a boat 50 miles up that they never had contact with. so they decided to tighten their belts and go all the way back again. they ended up making 8000 miles on water, and 800 miles on foot. they tried to use votes primarily. the goal was to find a water route across the continent that would simplify making contact the pacific and international trade. they sent a boat back with stuff they already collected. they went back into canoes and further up river.
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the one drawback, which none of them went on -- jefferson thought this through very carefully -- they never dreamed they would need horses to cross the mountains. lewis and jefferson walked along the alleghenies. they knew the mountain range out there. they thought it was parallel to what was in the east. they thought they could just stroll over and take boats down. suddenly you see these huge snow-covered mountains. they had 3000 pounds of supplies, a lot of ammunition, led, gunpowder. papers, notes, presents for the indians. they had a challenge. they knew that they needed horses. who had horses? the indians.
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fortunately they had with them a shoshone girl. only only hollywood could write a script like this. she was along because she was married to a frenchman. she said look, this is where i used to live. she recognized places where she had been as a girl. she said, my people are here. sure enough, they bumped into a shoshone village. the chief of the village was her brother.
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i can't spend too much time with that, but it was a very emotional meeting. she was interpreting with this man, and they suddenly realize they are brother and sister. they had not seen each other in all these years. they hugged each other and cried. lewis and clark, in their journals, they said indians are just like us, they have emotions just like us. [laughter] so many interesting depths to this story. thanks to that reunion, they got their horses. they were able to go over the lolo trail, which i urge all of you to try to do, if you can. there is a highway you can take now. there are still people out there, wranglers who will take people on horseback. you would be amazed the campsites that they documented. they are there to this day.
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we would take the journals out and read and say, this is where they stood. it was astounding. they made it to the pacific coast. the boat was not there to take them home. so they had to come all the way back again. the one myth about story is that lewis and clark went off into an untracked wilderness. the first people to see it. the reality is, they had aaa triptychs from the american indians. [laughter] hard for us to believe. the canadians had been up there earlier. they had collected a lot of geographical data from a native peoples. lewis and clark are supposed to make friends with these native peoples. they did that very well. they encountered 55 different native groups. some of them were complete fans
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-- complete bands of people. somewhere just individuals. they made contact with about 55 different tribal peoples. their mission was to say, we are the new people on the block, you may have been loyal to spain or russia or the french, but now the united states is here. we have a boss in the east who is going to be very kind to you. is going to be the great father. the indians called him the great white father. that was nonsense. it was always the great father, the person who gives gifts. indians were colorblind that way. one of these engravings showing one of the meetings with the native peoples.
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where is it? they carried gifts to give to get to native peoples. colorful ribbons they took. the most important were metals and uniforms, things that gave military significance. these are called peace metals. on the offers of these coins, you see the class -- the clapsed hands of friendship. lewis and clark carried about 100 of these with them. they gave the biggest, supposedly, to the head chief, although they did not have such a thing as a president. the middle sizes were the tenants. the small ones were the ordinary
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members of the community. these indians value 50's greatly. --valued these greatly. they would be very with them. -- would be buried with them. i mentioned the aaa triptych. the hudson's bay people had been out there before. a man works for hudson's bay and worked to get geographical information that is remarkably accurate. you are looking at a map done in 1801. it has been recorded locations of the indian tribes in that part of the world. in the rocky mountains, that is this horizontal line.
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then he has the rivers that feed into it. he has located all these different villages. on this map is documented the locations of 32 indian tribes. the cia would have loved a map like this going into afghanistan. [laughter] it's an amazing network of information. he then a year later did another map. a very knowledgeable person. he simplified the map and took out people. keep within the geographical features. it's astounding. what is astounding to ralph and myself is that the names of these features that the indian recorded parts of the names we use today for these features. the bear tooth, king mountain today is chief mountain. heart imagine near cody wyoming. -- heart mountain near cody, wyoming. these have transferred down 200
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years. you can see why it is such important information. here you have the red line showing the missouri river. you see the rivers that feed into it. this was all compiled from his information. this information went to england and was transferred to the first geographical map of north america. the most significant part of this map is that the indian tribesmen filled this map with all of the people all over the west. when this was compiled in england, all of that that was put in worthy geographical features. he erased all these thousands of people that lived out there.
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that is why unconvinced people in the east said, well, it's an empty landscape ours for the taking, because nobody is there. is all done with the stroke of a brush that dozens of people are gone. -- it is all done with the stroke of a brush that thousands of people are gone. as lewis and clark go west, they encounter these people. that expedition could not have succeeded without the help of those indians they encountered.
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i like to tell folks would lewis and clark did was follow a chain across the west. each link in the chain is an indian community. they welcomed them. that is how it worked. it was a chain of friendship. i work a lot with indian people. when they get over the lolo trail and are starving, they think they can't get anywhere. they met another tribe. they had heard of what people, but never met them. -- white people, but never met them. a see a diligent distance and have to get food. they see 3 little boys jump up and start running like crazy. clark gallops of all his worst, grabs one of the kids -- gallops up on his horse, grabs
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one of the kids. he has flaming red hair. anything -- indians had not seen anything but people with black hair. they gave the boys yellow ribbons and said, tell your families that they will have extra people for dinner tonight. [laughter] we will be there shortly. these boys go running into the village. this tribe still has this oral history today. they run into the village saying, we have seen monsters in the woods. [laughter] their parents told him to calm down. what do you mean monsters? some of them have realized. -- yes, yes, some of them have blue eyes. and one monster, his head is upside down. [laughter] the worst monster, his head is on fire.
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a long story short, the kids calmed down. we will see what these monsters are really like. they welcomed the expedition and the rest was history. thank you very much. [applause] ralph: he's not done yet. this was a very important map. this was the map of 1802. there were 2 1802 maps. this relates more directly to the lewis and clark expedition. this was purchased by jefferson. as part of the planning , jefferson put together a team to plan the expedition. he worked very closely with the secretary of treasury.
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the secretary had data pulled together. a british surveyor ended up here in washington, d.c. he worked in the surveyor's department of the city of washington. in 1803, king was named first surveyor of the city of washington. he implemented the plan on the ground. he worked part-time for the war department. he worked six hours a day for the city and two hours a day for the war department. he did a number of maps for jefferson.
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this is one of them. this is a map that he compiled. this map was based on data from the hudson's bay company. vancouver's map provided west coast outlines. the interior was taken off of the arrowsmith map, which is in essence the indian tribesmen map. one of the nice things that the designers did for this book, -- insets forts the larger map. it's hard to reproduce a large map in a book. you can never read the details.
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i told them i wanted to do i told them i wanted to do insets. we have three of these in the book. this shows you the details of the upper missouri river. then the king mountain, heart mountain. boar's tooth mountain, but it should be bear's tooth mountain. that was miscopied. this is around bismarck and north dakota. this part of the map was taken david thompson in 1790. thompson was a surveyor. he made a small map, copied by the british diplomat, edward
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thornton. thornton, we got a copy of the map. we've a lot of british information, but primarily on an indian map. this with the objective of lewis and clark. this is david thompson's map. the first raider, mountain man trader, mountain man. he compiles his map of north america, which is purchased by jefferson.
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it is copied by nicholas king. this map is then carried by lewis and clark to the great bend of missouri. it makes a great circle. an example of international exchange at an early time in our history. these two maps are in our collection. the second great map that relates to the final map is this one by clark. this was prepared by clark during the first winter oversight near bismarck, north dakota. there were several indian villages here.
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from the winter of 1804-1805, lewis and clark stayed here and sent information of the lower missouri. now for the first time this has been in detail. the french and spanish knew of this part of the river. they knew of the river from st. louis. they had not left it in detail. this information was sent in the spring of 1805, when lewis and clark sent off on the second leg of their expedition. they sent back 7-8 men. lewis and clark were very good commanders. they sent back the malcontents -- [laughter] >> along with this data.
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the data reaches washington, d.c. nicholas king, the first surveyor of the city of washington, a british trained cartographer. and thomas jefferson sit on the floor of the white house, pulling all this information together. jefferson was intimately involved with this. nicholas king compiles this map. he compiles four copies of this. this is in our collection. this is for the state department, one for each house of congress, and the war department. this is a state to prevent copy. -- this is the state department copy. the war department copy is in the national archives. the other two have disappeared. it shows three layers of information. one, we are he talked about, the first relatively accurate rendition of the lower missouri. the second level of information -- well, here is the missouri, the detail from it.
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the second relates to a census of military power. it is 300 tents, 800 men. it comes to 16,000 warriors. they could have been young boys, probably. that was the count, 16,000. the u.s. army at the time was recalled. -- was 3000, generously. when they saw this, they were a little concerned. that was one of the purposes of this map. the final layer of information is the west. the second leg of the expedition, which was a planning map. during the winter, they
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debriefed indians returning from war parties, trading parties. they have this new information, they extend the missouri river. for the first time they have a map of yellowstone. they don't know what to do with these mountains, so they just push them to the north. [laughter] >> because they have all of this of information. cartographers are very conservative. they try to retain all their information somewhere on the map. all of the maps are compiled this way. the lower missouri was based on the survey.
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it involved measuring the straight-line distance between each major turn during the journey and recording each compass bearing of the next turn. they had five separate compasses. they relied on this 300 years earlier. it had not changed much. it is also called dead reckoning. they take these compass bearings. clark is taking the bearings, and somebody in the boat is writing it down. courses and distances each turn, , may, 1805 on an 8000 mile trip. each turn they recorded this information with the compass and distance.
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45 degrees west of south. this book is a tremendous three volume work on the entire trip. they took readings and reverse readings. there were errors. they were only about 20 miles off at the end of a 8000 mile trip. here you get the other information. -- at the end of a 4000-mile st. from the end of the louis to the columbia river. here you get the other information. 45 degrees west of south, which is this right here. there is a point of an open plane on the opposite. -- on the opposite bluff. here is the open plane. here is the opposite loft. -- the opposite bluff. then in the evenings, when they
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had some time, lewis and clark plotted their daily courses and distances on a gridded paper to provide a rudimentary base map to which geographic information could be added. that is how these sectional and river maps were made. when they had a long stay, then they pulled all of those sheets together and made a composite map, which you see here. this is one of the river sheets along the missouri river. it is very interesting, because this one says "this place called by the indians ' hill of little devils." that has a long history in the mythology.
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i think herman is going to add to that. >> how much time do we have? >> this is worth it. [laughter] herman: very short. anyhow, we were talking about the little devils. the truth is, they are little people. 10 northern plains people still believe in them. there are harbingers of good luck, if you see one it means they are helpful. cross them.nt to one of my indian friends said it is like those irish with their leprechauns. .hey are about that size a number of people have seen the little people. my indian friend said, please don't come off the last thing we
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want are all these tourists reservationsh our looking for the little people. i will tell you one story if you want to hear it that i have. these are northern plains people. and the little boy was quite sick and the relatives were there in the kitchen, drinking coffee, praying, thought the boy was going to die. suddenly the boy pops out of the bedroom. everybody says, you are up, are you ok? what's going on and where was that little man next to my bed? these are the stories that are out there. is interesting that lewis and clark documented the existence of these people. [applause] you can find this in the journals and the journals are online now.
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the original journals at yale university. they are online and they are fascinating to read if you have the time. of they did capture a lot this sultry and cultural and religious information along the way. west, itioned, going was all based on indian information. this is one of the pages from our book, and this shows one of the documented cases. he visited the camp and it is well documented. and he showed him this map of the yellowstone. this is the first accurate map of the yellowstone river. they didn't have any maps and didn't know about it. here you see it on the nicholas
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king maps. here is the larger out in misery. all of that is based on indian information. map, and ifelous you wanted, if you would like to see it we will show it to you. the end of the trip to the columbia river, they compiled another map. again nicholas king, when this was brought back he copied this and put it together. lower missouri, where we just talked about. everything here is new information. along the route of the expedition is based on lewis and clark.
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yellowstone. because of the information they found, clark came back along the yellowstone. this is all new information. the third indian maps that we describe and discuss, and you have to buy the book now to see it -- [laughter] i want to talk about how they communicated. and they communicated through sign language. expertthe hunters was an in sign language and also spoke eight indian languages.
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and they had members with them that could speak the various .anguages this shows what lewis and clark had to go through to get an answer outside of sign language. that was just before they started crossing the mountains. i was thinking about their journal. translates some english and french. sacagawea's husband translates in sacagawea translates. that's how they spoke. the other spoke with her brother. there is one example of five in onent languages chain.
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so it was very difficult. it was very time-consuming. it affected the way the maps were made. some of them took a day, two days to make. your going back and forth and also talking with different generations of indians. they are generally -- generational maps in some cases. i guess we are ready for questions. the rest of the story is in the book. [applause]
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yes? >> it was the king map that showed the west as basically empty? ralph: yes, the aerosmith map. that indicates the idea that there was a mountain range. one a single range. that was a concept in a european traditional views of the american west. they compare it to the appellations. as herman said, you go through a valley and you are at the next site. >> i am very interested in natural history. was the most interesting new species of animals they discovered? herman: they encountered so many different ones. the great one is the grizzly bear. the indians warned them when they were in the villages, the indians said you must be careful, because once you get past us, the monster bers are going to get you. --monster bears are going to get you. they laughed and said we have
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, guns. the worst problems they had were grizzly bears. they chased soldiers into trees. they chased them into the rivers. they would shoot them 5-6 times and it is not kill them. the grizzly bear was one of the most significant natural history specimens they encounter. >> i would like to hear about how much the native peoples -- what did they do before the french came, and certainly the british and others? did they draw on the ground? which is a transfer it -- what data they transfer it to to keep? ralph: they did draw on the ground. we begin the book with that. a draw it in the ground.
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they use stones and pile of dirt and draw lines for rivers. these would be copied by lewis or clark. many of the maps that exist -- let me show you one. here is the final printed map that we showed you. this is the indian map from which it came. you can see that they followed it very closely. this is lewis river, which is now the lower snake. clark's fork here. they sketch it in the ground. we have a 1756 map in our collection that looks like it was drawn on some kind of animal skin. and birchbark. there are caps on birchbark. -- maps on birchbark.
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most of them are memory maps. they are drawn on the ground and passed along. indians use maps to not show you something new, but to remind you of where you have been before, or something you had forgotten. you are going over the same area, the same trails across the rockies. they might sketch a map to help remember where you or your family has been before. but unlike the european tradition of cartography, creating a new map to learn something new, that did not exist. >> today extend across generations? -- did they extend across generations?
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ralph: probably among european. >> [indiscernible] was there much revision in that span? ralph: after lewis died, clark took over his position as superintendent of indian affairs in the west. he interviewed all of the traders and trappers coming back from the west. he had this large map in his office in st. louis. the base of this map is the lewis clark expedition. he added this new information. he starts this in 1809.
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it is sent to washington in 1810. then it is returned to him in 1814 after the map is published. he continues to add new information. he makes corrections. we were just looking at one before relating to the wyoming area. he used that map from 1809 to 1815. added expeditions in the south. john coulter is one of the great explorers in the american west. on the weight bac -- on the way back, john culture asked if you could be discharged and joined trappers on the way back.
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he got not return to st. louis until 1810. he was out there that whole time. coulter was the first robenot. he was the first. he was out there for 6 years. he beat hugh glass and leonardo dicaprio by 200 years. on one of these occasions, his partner was killed and dismembered. black feet then stripped coulter bare and told him to run for his life, assuming erroneously that
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he could not have run them. during his escape, he managed to kill one of his pursuers. in a great feat of insurance, he covered 300 -- of endurance, he covered 300 miles before reaching safety seven days later. that is the story that should be told, john coulter. a fur trader ot there -- trader out there sent him on a five mile trip of what is yellowstone national park to established a network of trading with the crows. heated in the middle of winter with snowshoes. -- he did it in the middle of
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winter with snowshoes. to commemorate him, he was debriefed by clark. clark at this new information to the map. see his trip over what is today -- we see his trip over what is today yellowstone park. clark was still hoping the war department would publish this map. it shows coulter'route in 1807. he named this lake after his publisher, which i always wanted to do. [laughter] but there was an error by the engraver and it comes out lake riddle. but it's a great story. there are many more of these in the book. i don't know if i answered your question. >> getting on this information from the indians, and then the superintendent-- herman: he responsible for one of the largest dispositions of the native americans. ralph: i don't think herman wants to take that.
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herman: i don't think you want to go there. ralph: he had very good relations with the indians, personally. herman: they called him the redhaired chief. they really admired him a great deal. he really admired the indians. but you're right, the trail of tears did occur in this time period. they thought the west was an empty place. people in the east running the bureau of indian affairs did that because they thought indians were getting destroyed because of alcoholism and other problems. the head of the bureau, a very question -- very christian quaker wanted to put them out in the place were they could start all over again.
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that is probably how that got started. it was to help indians, but it ended up destroying their culture and traditions. lewis and clark began with the maps that you showed us. they acquired that along the way. i am gathering there are maps showing routes across the rockies, but they had no idea of the magnitude of the rockies. in my correct? ralph: correct, they had no idea. >> i'm reading one of several accounts. it makes it sound like it was unknown territory, but obviously it wasn't. ralph: the distances were only known. --the distances were unknown. the indians count on their maps. they don't have miles and distances. they have numbered nights or days that it took. on the first lewis and clark map, 1805, which they copied from an indian map, it is written 8 nights.
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it puts it in terms of nights traveling. that is beyond the mountains. i am not sure the indians did that much in the mountains. they are in the front ranges of the mountains, where the game was. they cross the mountains to point buffalo. there were the indians on the western side. that is where the fishing was.
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within the mountains themselves, are not sure they did much. herman: one must thing -- one last thing, remember lewis and clark gave those boys ribbons. an indian reservation still has one of those pieces of ribbon in their museum. >> you mentioned the medals. how many of them survived? where are they? herman: the smithsonian has a good set of them. if you want to get copies of them, you can go to the u.s. mint. they have the original dyes. they were made until the benjamin harrison administration. that the government stopped issuing them. by then, the purpose had so devalued, they were giving into kids at indian schools if they got a good grade. they are so significant. but they were in existence for
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about 100 years. the mint has copies of all of the coined ones, not the stamped once created from washington. -- stamped ones created from washington. ralph: you can buy them at the union station. >> thank you ralph and herman. i would like to thank them not only for a great presentation, but also a wonderful book, which we learned about. i would like to say a word about the book itself. it is filled with a lot of the beautiful maps that you saw on the screen. it also has two ralph reproductions of maps which come with the book. the book sells for $99. but you can get it today at a staff discount price of $90 at the library of congress. i hope you'll take advantage of that.
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take one more time to think ralph and herman -- to thank ralph and herman for sharing their stories and knowledge with us. just give them a final round of applause. [applause] they will be signing the book at this table. finally, i want to congratulate the publishing office, the managing director for negotiating this deal and bringing this book to us. thank you peggy. see you at the next presentation. please join us. >> you are watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us facebook at c-span history.
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them all weekend american history tv is featuring santa barbara california. in 1871, a santa barbara native -- planted america's first avocado trees. c-span recently visited many sites's showcasing santa barbara's history. >> in the 1910s, film studios were anybody who had a camera. there was a lot of money to be made in this previously films new endeavor. have been shown in nickelodeon's. they had a camera the ticket picture of a camera doing a shimmy shake or guys drinking. he paid your nickel and you turn the crank and you got to watch a movie like this. it started to develop into a real art. we got real writers and producers and experienced people to put the films together. that is where the flying a arrived in 1910 is things are
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really getting good. we currently are at one of the remaining pieces of the american film company studio and santa barbara, california at the corner -- the building behind us is the green room for the flying a. this is where they came to change in the costumes, get their makeup on and wait in the main room. they each have private rooms for them to change in in the they would wait in the green room. they would wait to be called into the studio to take their shots and do the things of. there -- up there. -- there things up there. the owner found at the walls really were green when he started restoring this. this is the best of these little three buildings that are left at the studio. the studio was started in chicago in 1910. when it started became right off the ground perfectly because single hutchinson, the many put -- it came right off the ground
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perfectly because samuel hutchinson, the man who put this together, went to other studios in chicago and robbed them of their personnel. he offered the more money. when they came to the company they had a studio ready to go from start to finish. no training was needed and they started making films. one of the things they specialize in was cowboy films. unlike other studios and -- other studios filming around east, they the had a unit down in new mexico and arizona. they said we have real westerns made with real cowboys and the real west. that is what started to distinguish them from other studios. >> we are here at the santa barbara historical museum in downtown santa barbara. i'm standing in front of one of the most interesting items in the museum's extensive collections. this is a silent movie camera. it was used in the flying a studio productions. it was owned by cameraman robert feelin and donated by his wife.
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this camera is interesting. this model camera was used for over 40 years. it was really revolutionary for its time, the 19-teens. the film could hold a 400 foot reel of film which allowed for continuous filming for seven minutes, which was unheard of at that time. >> the flying a came to santa barbara because they had a unit that was working out of san diego, san juan capistrano, the mesa and lakeside. their director, a man named alan , they were looking for something different. in 1912 they came up to santa barbara and set up their first studio in an old abandoned ostrich farm. about two blocks from where we are now. in 1913 they built the studio we are currently sitting at.
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it was huge at that time. this was covering that it was time, it wast the eventually an entire three quarters of the block we have here. they started off small and started getting bigger and better. this was the largest film studio in california, the largest in the united states, the largest in the world. it depends on whose publicity agent you are talking to. was it by size of the building, by volume of films they were turning out? what largest means, we don't know. but the newspapers reported that our new studio in santa barbara is the largest. >> a number of successful hollywood figures got their start here in flying a. probably the best-known is the director victor fleming, who went on to direct "gone with the wind" and "the wizard of oz." the studios biggest star was married miles mentor, a mary
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pickford type. she played innocent young waifs subjected to danger in temptation and it end of the day everything would turn out all right. she was a huge star in the teens for the flying a studio. her career ended tragically. in 1922 she was implicated in the shooting death of william desmond taylor, a hollywood movie director. that case was never solved. there were all sorts of rumors flying that mary miles was the lover of taylor, even though she was 30 years younger than he was. and that they were -- there were rivals for his affection. in one of those stories one of the rivals was her mother. >> one of the most controversial films was a movie called purity. they got a top model to pose in
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this movie. this movie was about a young girl and her boyfriend who is a poet, and she wants to make money to publish her boyfriends book. she comes across an artist bathing naked in a pool. -- he thinks is she is his ideal model. but audrey was known for her work. nude a lot of the statue work featured audrey. she is also head of the mercury head dime and the other standing liberty quarter. she was a famous model. andcame to the flying a post model. when she was posing nude, as an artist from model, she did not move, so people said, it's art. it's ok to do that.
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as the movie went on they would show famous works of art, showing other nudes. this is ok, see? this is famous art. this is in the vatican. but it was, of course, highly controversial to have a nude woman on the screen. some cities banded altogether. others embraced it. it was a big hit for them. the flying a met its end because hollywood became the center for filmmaking. there were a number of different studios in different places, so it was fine, but as hollywood became more and more established , there was camaraderie, people meeting after hours, talking about what they had done, how they had done it, close-ups, dolly shots, all of these things. and santa barbara is getting isolated. and it started costing more to get things up to santa barbara. everything could be told that could be bought by -- everything
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could be bought in bulk in los angeles. and also getting more and more actors involved because now actors wanted to be in los angeles. you could do a shoot in the morning for one company and then do a shoot in the afternoon for another company. so, they would have to take the entire day to get up he, shoot for a day, and then go back to los angeles. so, slowly the flying a started to fade to black. by 1921 they filmed their last movie. and they were out of business. recentlyty staff traveling to santa barbara california to learn about its rich history. you can learn more about santa barbara all weekend on c-span3. you are watching american , every tv, all weekend weekend on c-span3. >> about 25 years ago on february 27, 1991, president


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