National Archives Education Team

indian presents - quaranta
National Archives Education Team
10/24/2021 22:00:14
URL for full object
Citation for full object
National Archives Education Team
Filename in shared drive folder
Indian Presents - Quaranta
General description of the complete original artifact
This artifact is a list of all of the items that Meriweather Lewis purchased from the Indians in preparation for his expedition to the west. It was created in 1803. The list includes a title-head: "Indian Presents," a line underneath the title, and then a list of the items purchased with the amount purchased written beside them. The list is additionally formatted in a table, with the items and quantity on the left, and what I am presuming is the price on the right. The bottom of the price column has the total price for all of the items. Some of the items on the list are things that I would expect one to purchase before an expedition such as "sheet iron," "silk," and "butcher knives," however many of the items on the list are strange to me. Why would clark need "72 rings" or "8 and 1/2 red beads"? Additionally, a few items on the list are items that I completely do not understand the meaning of. An example is, one of the items is called "12 doz. nonesopretty." What is this? The data is recorded on a very nondescript piece of paper that definitely looks like it is from the 1800s, not only in the handwriting, and the color and creases of the paper, but the word use as well.
Estimated number of records in data set
Estimated number of fields if this were a database
Estimated time to digitize all records in set (hours)
1/2 hour (it is not a ton of data to digitalize; it is only one piece of paper)
Time period when data was created
Organization creating data
An individual person
Individual who created data (if known or guessable).
Meriweather Lewis
Shortcomings of this taxonomy for data set (if any)
I don't know if there are any shortcomings of the taxonomy of this data set. This was a way for Lewis to record the items that he bought for his expedition. It was also a means for him to organize and record these items. This process of recording likely allowed him to more easily identify items that he had already bought and items that he still needed to buy. If we are speaking from a modern point of view, there are issues with the layout and orderliness of the data, as it could be more clearly ordered. From an 1800s point of view however, it is a very well organized set of data that served the purpose of benefiting the individual who created it (Lewis). As long as it was legible to him, it was a perfectly well organized chart. We can also compare this chart to a shopping list - it is very similar to our modern day shopping lists, albeit a bit more formal.
Notes about the image you chose
I selected this image from a few different images I had recorded because I was interested in learning about the Lewis and Clarke expedition. I was also intrigued by the objects that Lewis purchased, as some of them are very strange to me. There are also others that are words that don't make sense to me, and I would love to learn if they were shorthand for a modern term that we use for something today. The whole mystique surrounding this artifact and what the meaning of the words contained within it is why I chose this image as opposed to others that I had saved such as a list of the U.S. Navy Muster Roll written in the nineteenth century.