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Item #: OP487B-188
THE CRUISE OF THE CORWIN. JOURNAL OF THE ARCTIC EXPEDITION OF 1881 John Muir 1917 1st Large Paper Limited Edition Dust Jacket Slipcase Near Fine
By Muir, John, Edited by William Frederic Bade, Photos by Edward S. Curtis
Price: $1500.00


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Large Photo Above: Slipcase for John Muir, Cruise of the Corwin, 1917, 1st and limited large paper edition with Slipcase.


Above: John Muir, Cruise of the Corwin, 1917, 1st and limited large paper edition. 


Above: Dust Jacket for John Muir, Cruise of the Corwin, 1917, 1st and limited large paper edition

THE CRUISE OF THE CORWIN: JOURNAL OF THE ARCTIC EXPEDITION OF 1881 IN SEARCH OF DE LONG AND THE JEANNETTE. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1917, 1st edition. 279 pp. The book has a hand-colored photogravure frontispiece, with 26 plates consisting of one map, eleven halftone reliefs from photographs, eight halftone reliefs from sketches by Muir, and six line blocks from drawings by Muir. Hardcover, Larger format Large Paper Edition, Numbered 311 of 550 copies. Book pages are from a thick paper stock, left untrimmed (uncut) and pages not slit (unopened). The pages are very clean, with no foxing, and are made from a high quality paper that will not yellow or deteriorate. The covers are handsome green boards, with a matching green cloth spine, and a dark green title patch with gold letters. The book itself is in excellent condition, almost like New. 

The book comes with its original dust jacket and slipcase. The jacket is made from a heavy paper that did not stand up to a century of existence, it has fractured on the spine area. It has been recently reinforced with tape on the underside. It also come with its original slipcase. The slipcase has come apart but the all the parts are here except the vertical back, the least important part. Due to repairs the DJ and slipcase are Very Good or Near Fine. The book itself is utterly Fine. Limited editions of John Muir are quite scarce, especially with their DJ and slipcase.  

A Note on Price: There are several copies of the Limited Edition Corwin available on the internet. Only one is comparable to this copy, with Dust Jacket and Slipcase, and it is asking $3000. There several large paper copies without the DJ and Slipcase, they range from $500 to $850. 

In spring of 1881 John Muir set out on the ship 'Corwin' for a journey of 15,000 nautical miles from San Francisco into the Arctic sea. The purpose of the voyage was to search for three ships that had been lost in the area, and to verify the local fleet's compliance with international seal and otter hunting regulations. Muir went along because of his fascination with glaciers. He was also drawn by the call of one of the world's last unexplored coastlines. This turned out to be Muir's last great foray into the wilderness, as he became a settled farmer afterwards. The book was compiled after his death from Muir's diaries, notes, articles, essays by his biographer, William Frederic Bade.

More about the Corwin:

In addition to its regular arctic duties as a United States Revenue Service Cutter, the Corwin steamed out of San Francisco Bay on May 4, 1881 with orders to search for the American polar exploration vessel Jeanette which had not been heard from since 1879. Muir shipped onboard as a naturalist and correspondent for the San Francisco Daily Bulletin, and this work consists of the 21 letters that he wrote to the Bulletin during the more than five-month voyage, supplemented with notes from his daily diary, and the two scientific reports on botany and glaciation that he wrote for the government. 

Muir was a gifted journalist with a reporter's instinct for the dramatic. Filled with colorful details of the arctic natives and their customs, the stark landscape, and frequently perilous adventures in an inhospitable and hazardous environment, his dispatches were eagerly read by a large audience.

Excerpted from The Cruise of the Corwin:

Muir's Final Great Journey by John Muir.

The renowned naturalist John Muir married in 1880, but the lure of one last grand adventure proved too great. In the spring of 1881 he sailed for the Arctic aboard the Corwin, whose sad task it was to search for the Jeannette, lost during a polar expedition. Muir had already written about the effects of glaciation, and welcomed the chance to get a first hand view of Alaskan glaciers farther north than he had ever been.

This journey was not without its own perils; the Jeannette was later found to have been crushed by pack ice and as Muir writes aboard the Corwin: 'Shortly after one o'clock this morning I was awakened by unusual sounds on deck, and after listening for a few minutes, concluded that we must be entangled in the edge of the pack and were unshipping the rudder for fear it might be carried away... It seems that about midnight, owing to the fog and snow, we got into a field of heavy masses of ice on the edge of the main pack, which, on account of a north wind that had commenced to blow, was now moving slowly southward, and while backing out of it, a moderate bump that chanced to take the rudder at the greatest disadvantage broke it off without any appreciable strain.'

In its attempt to find the Jeannette, the Corwin travelled along the coast of Alaska and then Siberia. They visited native villages as well as the uninhabited Wrangell Island, which they claimed for America in 1881. (It is now the Russian 'Ostrov Vrangelya.')

Muir considered himself one of the first humans to have set foot upon it: 'Not the slightest trace, however, could we find along the river, along the shore, or on the bluff to the northeastward, of the Jeannette party, or of any human inhabitant. A land more severely solitary could hardly be found anywhere on the face of the globe.'

The beach was well tracked by polar bears, but none of the party could discover any sign of reindeer or musk oxen, though the country seems to abound in the kind of food they require. A single fox track was observed, and some burrows of a species of spermophile; also a number of birds, and about twenty species of plants, most of them in bloom. The rock is clay slate, which weathers smoothly, and is covered with a sparse growth of mosses, lichens, and flowering plants, not unlike that of the adjacent coasts of Siberia and Alaska.'

The Cruise of the Corwin, pulled together from Muir's articles and journals by his literary executor, is a welcome addition to the literature about America's last frontier, Alaska. Muir captures the fierce beauty of the land and its inhabitants when a way of life was fast vanishing - and thanks to his efforts, some of it is still preserved for this generation.


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