The Journal of San Diego History
Summer 1985, Volume 31, Number 3
Thomas Scharf, Managing Editor

Book Notes

Monuments to Jedediah Smith. Compiled by Raymond F. Wood. Stockton: Jedediah Smith Society, 1984. Illustrations. Map. Appendices. 47 pages. $10.00 Paper.

Monuments to Jedediah Smith contains a four page biographical sketch of Smith, a map of his travels, and a listing of thirty one monuments to Smith (over half of them in California). The listing for each monument includes county, specific location, accessibility, type of construction, wording on the monument, and a photograph of the monument. Insofar as it goes, the booklet is fine. But it leaves a large question: Why? What purpose does the book serve? Would it not have been more useful if the compiler had included an essay on the significance of Smith and the reason why there are so many monuments to the man? Could not the publication have addressed the role of myth in the west? Or the role of the frontier experience in shaping Americans self-image?