The Autobiographies and Reminiscences are made up of 153 documents varying in length from one page to over sixty pages, the average being around five pages in length. Most include details from the writer's early life, but the bulk of each document tends to be their overland journeys or voyages to the Pacific Coast and California in pre-Gold Rush times and then accounts of their lives after arrival. Many of the writer's - all are men - talk of their families, education, occupations before and after arriving out West, as well as experiences mining, businesses, farming and ranching. Other aspects of their new lives are discussed: law and politics, the military and wars, social events, agriculture, literature and theater, shipping and leisure activities. The time period covered by the accounts is from the 1840s through 1904 - when the project was completed. The geographic location discussed range from all over the United States: New England, New York, the south, the Midwest - especially Missouri - and of course locations along both the overland trails to the West, as well as ports of call in South and Central America. Many accounts are looking back at their lives, and some are accurate and others may or may not be embellished as the writer relates a life some fifty or sixty years earlier.
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