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John K. Hillers, Thomas Moran (center) on the Powell expedition, 1873, with Indian boy and J.E. Colburn, courtesy East Hampton Library

In the summer of 1873 Moran headed west to join John Wesley Powell on a trip to the Grand Canyon. Four years earlier Powell had captured the nation's attention when he led a small group of men in custom-crafted boats through the whitewater of the Colorado River. Already planning a pendant for Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,Moran accepted Powell's invitation to join him the following summer. Accompanying the party was Justin E. Colburn, a correspondent, who, during the trip, sent letters east for publication in the New York Times. Vivid, candid, and insightful, Colburn's letters offer a clear view of a forbidding landscape and a firsthand account of the often difficult journey he and Moran made with Powell to the Grand Canyon. Moran wrote his wife Mary a humorous and revealing account of his adventures on 13 August 1873.


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