The story of America’s westward expansion is exceptionally well represented in the Society’s collection due primarily to the generosity of two donors: Donald McKay Frost (1877-1958) and Thomas W. Streeter (1883-1965).
A stickler for condition and willing to trade up until the best possible copy had been obtained, Frost eventually built a library that constituted sixty-five percent of the titles listed in Henry Raup Wagner’s bibliography, The Plains and the Rockies. In the summer months, Frost retraced western exploration routes on foot and horseback, using narratives and guides from his collection. Once the library outgrew Frost’s home, he placed the 4,000-volume collection at AAS.
Thomas Streeter was interested in the history of Texas, westward expansion and early railroad and canal material, and he built a vast private library. Streeter was elected to the Society in 1933 and later served as president. Over many years, he donated segments of his collection, including his transportation material. Upon his death, his bequest of funds for use at auction allowed AAS to purchase 126 additional treasures at the seven sales of the Streeter collection held between 1966 and 1969.