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John Xantus: The Fort Tejon Letters, 1857-1859 - Century Collection (Paperback)
  • John Xantus: The Fort Tejon Letters, 1857-1859 - Century Collection (Paperback)
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John Xantus: The Fort Tejon Letters, 1857-1859 - Century Collection (Paperback)

(author)
£31.50
Paperback 288 Pages / Published: 30/05/2017
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John Xantus was a bit of a charlatan; of that there is little doubt. He lied about his exploits, joined the U.S. Army under an assumed name, and managed to alienate most of the people he met. Yet this Hungarian immigrant became one of the Smithsonian Institution's most successful collectors of natural history specimens in the mid-nineteenth century, and he is credited with the discovery of many new species in the American West.

From his station at Ft. Tejon in California's Tehachapi Mountains, Xantus carried on a lengthy correspondence with Spencer Baird at the Smithsonian, to whom he shipped the specimens he had trapped or shot in the surrounding sierra and deserts. A prolific letter writer, Xantus faithfully reported his findings as he bemoaned his circumstances and worried about his future.

Working from Smithsonian archives, natural history writer Ann Zwinger has assembled Xantus's unpublished letters into a book that documents his trials and triumphs in the field and reveals much about his dubious character. The letters also bring to life a time and place on the western frontier from which Xantus was able to observe a broad panorama of American history in the making.

Zwinger's lively introduction sets the stage for Xantus's correspondence and examines the apparent contradictions between the man's personal and professional lives. Her detailed notes to the letters further clarify his discoveries and shed additional light on his checkered career.

The University of Arizona Press's Century Collection employs the latest in digital technology to make previously out-of-print books from our notable backlist available once again. Enriching historical and cultural experiences for readers, this collection offers these volumes unaltered from their original publication and in affordable digital or paperback formats.

Publisher: University of Arizona Press
ISBN: 9780816535842
Number of pages: 288
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm

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