Francis Parkman was a historian of the 18th century. Among other things, and despite health problems that plagued him, including nervous ailments, lameness, and increasing blindness, he traveled west over the Oregon Trail, and then wrote about his experiences (The Oregon Trail, 1847). He went on to turn out eight volumes of history, a book on rose culture, and a novel. He chose a theme of the closest interest to his countrymen -- the colonization of the American continent and the wars for its possession -- and he lived through fifty years of toil to complete the great historical series that he designed when he was but a youth at college. The main attraction of the subject lies in his picturesque, manly character, his inspiring example of fortitude and perseverance, and his training and achievements as a historian. In addition, he was a professor of horticulture at Harvard and a founder of the Archaeological Institute of America.