Westward Ho!

Thousands of Americans were traveling west in 1846. Aspiring historian Francis Parkman of Boston traveled along the Oregon Trail to study the Indians before they became changed by the forces of civilization. Brigham Young and the Mormons, under attack by their neighbors in Illinois, moved out of Nauvoo and started a trek toward an unsettled area inhospitable enough to discourage encroachment by outsiders. Andrew Jackson Grayson of St. Louis set out from Independence in mid-April and celebrated his safe arrival in California with a family picture. James Frazier Reed from Springfield, Illinois, and his family were surviving members of the ill-fated Donner party, almost half of whom perished before they could reach California.

Francis Parkman
Francis Parkman
Attributed to Southworth and Hawe
Daguerreotype, circa 1852
4 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (NPG.84.268)

Past Exhibitions | National Portrait Gallery Home