John Maley, An Account of Four Years Travels

Maley JournalView Maley's Manuscript onlineA previously unknown journal by American explorer John Maley was presented to SMU’s DeGolyer Library on April 19th, 2013 by the SMU Board of Trustees to celebrate the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  The journal represents the four millionth volume at the SMU libraries.

In the 188-page handwritten journal, John Maley recounts his 1808-1812 travels through present-day Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. Often traveling alone, he wrote of prairie fires, snakebites, robbers and an encounter with a panther. But in addition to his adventures, Maley carefully describes agriculture, mines and mineral deposits, trading opportunities and the inhabitants of settlers’ villages and Native American camps.

Historians have long been aware of the second half of Maley’s journal, which has been housed at Yale University since 1824 and includes an account of Maley’s trip up North Texas’ Red River. The existence of the first half of the journal was unknown until it was acquired by a Philadelphia rare book dealer.

The Maley manuscript has been digitized and is available to scholars worldwide.

A free souvenir keepsake describing the manuscript and its significance is available at DeGolyer Library while supplies last. The keepsake is also available digitally.

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Related: If you enjoy Americana, you may also like DeGolyer Library’s U. S. West: Photographs, Manuscripts, and Imprints digital collection.


Year of the Library at SMUSMU is commemorating the Year of the Library, the 100th anniversary of the 1913 creation of University’s first library, the hiring of the first librarian and the acquisition of its first book.

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