English explorer, trader, and geographer David Thompson (1770-1857) was born in London and educated at the Grey Coat School, Christ's Hospital School, and at Oxford University. While still in his teens he came to Canada as an apprentice with the Hudson's Bay Company, but left in 1797 to become a partner in the North West Company. His extensive explorations of western Canada included the discovery of the source of the Columbia River in 1807, and he surveyed the entire river in 1811. He established trading posts throughout the Pacific north west, including ones on the Kootenai, Pend Oreille, and Spokane Rivers. In his later years he created a comprehensive map of the northern United States and Canada, based on the surveys he and others had completed. From 1816 to 1826 he headed the British commission that established the boundary between the U.S. and Canada. His old age was marred by poverty, and his work was largely forgotten until the posthumous publication of his writings in the early 1900s.
The collection contains Photostat copies and microfilm of selections from Thompson's journals, notebooks, and other writings. Included are his journals, 1806-1812; observations, 1807-1809; courses and distances, 1808-1812; "Saleesh and Kullyspele [sic] vocabulary"; Mandan vocabulary; and report of experiences in the west, written in 1845. The microfilm contains Thompson's journal, 1807; account of trade of the North West Company, 1809; and remarks on the country west of the Rocky Mountains, 1813.
Restrictions on Access :
The collection is open to the public.Restrictions on Use :
The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any publication use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.Preferred Citation :
David Thompson papers, Mss998, Oregon Historical Society Research Library
The collection is arranged in the following series:
Acquisition Information :
Origin of the collection is unknown.Bibliography :
David Thompson, Columbia journals (Montreal ; Buffalo : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1994)Location of Originals :
Originals located at the Archives of Ontario, Canada; the Royal Geographic Society, London, U.K.; and at the Royal Commonwealth Society, U.K.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings: