This collection consists of photocopies of nine letters written by Charles Gratiot, a frontier trader, between 1792 and 1796.
Charles Gratiot was born in 1753 in Lausanne, Switzerland. He went on a successful trading expedition to Illinois in 1774 and in December 1777 opened a store in Cahokia, Illinois. In addition to his store in Cahokia, Gratiot also operated a fur trade post in Kaskaskia, Illinois. He played a large role in supplying provisions to George Rogers Clark and his army during Clark's invasion of Kaskaskia in 1778. At the end of the Revolutionary War Gratiot moved to St. Louis, where he successfully continued in business and married Victoire Chouteau, the daughter of the founder of St. Louis. Gratiot died in 1817.
The photocopied letters in this collection, which date from the 1790s, include a description of commercial assets of Louisiana, especially New Orleans; a discussion of business matters; and impressions of Anglo American relations. The collection also includes a brief biographical sketch of Gratiot, prepared in 1966 by Jocelyn Ghent, and a photograph of a portrait of Gratiot.
The Library acquired the photocopies circa 1967. These copies were made from photocopies at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The originals are in the Missouri Historical Society.