National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: March 17, 2014

National Archives at Kansas City

Peter Stark to Discuss Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire at the National Archives

For More Information Contact:
Kimberlee Ried, 816-268-8072

Kansas City, (MO)…On Wednesday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m., the National Archives at Kansas City will host Peter Stark for a discussion and signing of his book Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire. A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the program.

Six years after Lewis and Clark's began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of the Eastern establishment's leading figures, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson, turned their sights to founding a colony akin to Jamestown on the West Coast and transforming the nation into a Pacific trading power. Author and correspondent for Outside magazine Peter Stark recreates this pivotal moment in American history for the first time for modern readers, drawing on original source material to tell the amazing true story of the Astor Expedition. Unfolding over the course of three years, from 1810 to 1813, Astoria is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship in the wilderness and at sea. Of the more than one hundred-forty members of the two advance parties that reached the West Coast - one crossing the Rockies, the other rounding Cape Horn - nearly half perished by violence. Others went mad. Within one year, the expedition successfully established Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River. Though the colony would be short-lived, it opened provincial American eyes to the potential of the Western coast and its founders helped blaze the Oregon Trail.

To make a reservation for this free program call 816-268-8010 or email kansascity.educate@nara.gov. Stark will be available to sign copies of his book after the program. Copies of Astoria will be available for purchase from Rainy Day Books.

About the Author

Peter Stark is the author of The Last Empty Spaces: A Past and Present Journey Through the Blank Spots on the American Map; Last Breath: The Limits of Adventure; At the Mercy of the River: An Exploration of the Last African Wilderness; and the essay collection Driving to Greenland:Arctic Travel, Northern Sport, and Other Ventures in the Heart of Winter. He also edited the anthology Ring of Ice: True Tales of Adventure, Exploration, and Arctic Life. A correspondent for Outside, he has written for Smithsonian and The New Yorker, among other publications, and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award. He lives in Montana. For more information visit www.peterstarkauthor.com.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 13 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to more than 50,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by nearly 100 Federal agencies. Serving the Central Plains Region, the archives holds records from the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The facility is located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108. It is open to the public Tuesday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for research, with the exhibits open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

# # #

LPM/LE-RM 14-014

Top of Page

National Archives at Kansas City >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272

.