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The Atlantic to the Pacific: What to See and How to See it (1873), by John Erastus Lester


About the Author

John Erastus Lester, a Rhode Island lawyer, traveled west in 1872 in hopes of improving his health, visiting Yosemite and other areas. During his visit to Yosemite the author met several pioneers, including John Muir, Galen Clark, James Hutchings, James Lamon, and John Smith (of the Cosmopolitan Saloon). After his return in late 1872, he presented a paper before the Rhode Island Historical Society. Due to demand from his friends, he revised it and printed a short book the following year, The Yo-Semite, Its History, its Scenery, its Development. It includes a rare early glimpse of Muir in Yosemite. Shortly after publishing this book, Lester wrote a more-extensive book of his western travels, The Atlantic to the Pacific: what to see, and how to see it (1873). The following obituary appeared in the Providence Journal May 5, 1900:
John Erastus Lester, aged 59 years, died Thursday after an extended illness. He was well known in this city and attained a reputation as an author and as a pomologist [Editor’s note: fruit grower—dea]. By profession he was a lawyer. He was born Aug. 3, 1840, in this city, and attended the public schools of that period, graduating with honors. After leaving school he entered Brown University and was a member of the class of ’62, taking the degree of A.M. On leaving Brown he took a course of study in the Harvard Law School, graduating in 1864. He studied law in C. S. Bradley. Later ill-health compelled Mr. Lester to sever his connection with the legal profession. He travelled extensively throughout the West, and shortly afterwards wrote his first book, “The Yosemite,” which was followed by “From the Atlantic to the Pacific.” After completing his writings he was again taken ill and his doctors advised an European trip, at the conclusion of which he returned to this city and engaged in the practice of law. Some few years ago he was obliged to retire on account of poor health, which ultimately resulted in his death. . . .


Bibliographical Information

John Erastus Lester (1840-1900), The Atlantic to the Pacific: What to See and How to See it (London: Longmans, Green and Company, 1873), LCCN rc 01001523. xii+293 pages. Illustrated. 18 cm. Includes errata slip inserted at page 1. Bound in blue cloth with gilt and black lettering and design. Page edges in gilt. Library of Congress call number F594.L64. Currey & Kruska 237; Cowan p.389.

Also published in Boston: Shepard and Gill, 1873. 365 pp. The Boston edition has a fold-out Yosemite Valley map, and was bound in green cloth with lettering and design in gilt and blind.

The London edition is reproduced here. The London edition has a single page Yosemite Valley map, fewer pages (but same text), and added footnotes to explain some Americanisms. Some dollar amounts in this book were converted to British pounds, denoted with l, at the rate of 1l for $5.

This book is also available on microfiche in the Travels in the West and Southwest series from Primary Source Microfilm (Gale).

Digitized by Dan Anderson, April 2006, from a copy at University of California San Diego. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice is left intact.
    —Dan Anderson, www.yosemite.ca.us

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management

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