[Cramer | Zadok]

The Navigator, Containing Directions For Navigating The Monongahela, Allegheny, Ohio, And Mississippi Rivers

Tenth Edition



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Tenth edition of Zadok Cramer’s Navigator, published in 1818.

Octavo, iv, [5]-304pp. Contemporary marbled boards, rebacked in modern leather, gilt-ruled bands on spine with gilt-lettered title over leather spine label. Binding professionally restored with reinforced hinges, tissue repairs to endpapers and portions of the original leather preserved on spine edges and corners. Foxing and toning throughout. Faint dampstain to top edge of preliminary pages, tears along the edge of three pages. Previous owner’s name (William Burks) written in ink on title page with another notation blacked out in ink below. Pencil notations of check marks, cross marks and numbers found on pages 162 through 194, indicating this volume may have been used by someone traveling on the Lower Mississippi River. Also, a small pencil drawing of a group of buildings on page iv. Complete with all 28 woodcut maps, including navigation charts of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers (13 each), plus a map of Pittsburgh and one of the Falls of Ohio. Housed in brown cloth clamshell with title in gilt on spine.

(Thomson 282) (Howes C855) (Sabin 17386) A very nice example of this important guide used for travel along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in the early nineteenth century.

“At the beginning of the 19th century the waterways of the trans-Appalachian West were important transportation routes for emigrants, traders, and travelers. Flatboats, keelboats, and eventually steamboats carried goods and people to various destinations along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers as well as their tributaries. River guides became standard purchases for those who traveled the western waters. … One of the earliest and best-known river guides was compiled by Zadok Cramer.” (“American River Guides from 1800 to 1860,” AB Bookman’s Weekly, July 27, 1998, p. 125)

Cramer died in 1813, two years after the publication of the 7th edition of The Navigator. His wife, and eventually his daughter, took his place in the printing business, and five additional guides were published between 1814 and 1824. While significant revisions were made to the eighth edition of 1814, the last four editions saw only minor changes. Among the changes made to the 10th edition of 1818 were an updated section on Pittsburgh as well as updated entries for other river towns. In this particular copy of the 10th Navigator, someone consistently checked off the individual entries from Island No. 35 [Tipton County, Tennessee] to Bayou Sara, Louisiana. There are also occasional number notations in the right margin which appear to be mileage corrections. There’s an interesting drawing on page iv, which has a large building in the center, possibly a warehouse, flanked by two smaller buildings on stilts. While not certain, this copy may have been used by a flatboatman or steamboat pilot or possibly a passenger who was traveling on the Lower Mississippi River.

Additional information

Location Published



Cramer & Spear


Tenth Edition

Date Published



Quarter Leather


Very Good


[Cramer | Zadok]


[Cramer | Zadok]