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John Gast painted this picture in 1872 for a series of western travel guides. The scope and detail suggest it may be a large painting, but the original -now in the Library of Congress- is actually less than 13 x 17 inches.
I fell in LOVE with this painting, a visual encyclopedia of historical transportation technologies surging west during the 19th century. (Note the simple Indian travois and buffalo being shuffled ahead of the covered wagon, pony express, stagecoach and trains!) The beautiful woman in the diaphanous gown represents the "Star of the Empire," carrying a book to signify national enlightenment, while her other hand stretches telegraph wires. The spirit of manifest destiny- with all its bittersweet side-effects- pervades some of the time period in my historical romance waiting to be discovered--THE CALLING STONE. For excerpts, go to www.cjfosdick.com