MCKENNEY, Thomas Loraine (1785-1859) [and James HALL (1793-1868)]
History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs. Embellished with One Hundred Portraits from the Indian Gallery in the War Department at Washington
Philadelphia: Caxton Press of Sherman & Co. for D. Rice & Co., 1872-1874. 3 volumes (text: 2 volumes, royal 8vo [10 7/16 x 7 1/4 inches; atlas of plates. folio [20 x 14 inches]). Text: "Billy Bowlegs" portrait as frontispiece to volume II of text; atlas of plates: 120 hand-coloured lithographs after Karl Bodmer, Charles Bird King, James Otto Lewis, P. Rhindesbacher and R.M. Sully, drawn on stone by A. Newsam, A.Hoffy, Ralph Tremblay, Henry Dacre and others, printed and coloured by J.T. Bowen and others.
Expertly bound to style in uniform navy half morocco over the original blue cloth-covered, richly gilt spines divided into five compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and fourth, the others with repeat decorative motif built up from small tools, marbled endpapers, gilt edges
The last folio edition of one of the most important 19th-century works on the American Indian, and one of the most important colour plate books produced in America in the age of lithography
The first folio edition was issued by E.C. Biddle from 1836 to 1844, and reissued by F.W. Greenough and Daniel Rice. The number of different printers and lithographers involved in the project speaks to the complicated production of the most elaborate plate book published in the United States up to that time. The present final edition of McKenney & Hall was issued by the firm of D. Rice, whose father took over the initial project as publisher in the early 1840's. This edition differs from the original folio edition in significant ways. Most importantly, a plate is added, the portrait of the Seminole chief Billy Bowlegs which appears as a frontispiece in the second text volume, making this the most complete form of the work. Also, this edition was published without the map, table, and facsimile signatures of subscribers which appeared in the original edition, and also removes James Hall's name from the titlepage, only crediting McKenney. This edition is also unusual for the number plates that are included with no publisher's credit line. The reason for this is not known, but Christopher W. Lane states that 'there was no single date at which these no-imprint variants were run off'. In other words, they could date from the 1830's onwards, although he goes on to note that their first recorded appearance is in an 1842 issue of volume I of the 3-volume folio edition. McKenney and Hall's Indian Tribes of North America has long been renowned for its faithful portraits of Native Americans. The portrait plates are based on paintings by the artist Charles Bird King, who was employed by the War Department to paint the Indian delegates visiting Washington D.C., forming the basis of the War Department's Indian Gallery. Most of King's original paintings were subsequently destroyed in a fire at the Smithsonian, and their appearance in McKenney and Hall's magnificent work is thus our only record of the likenesses of many of the most prominent Indian leaders of the nineteenth century. Numbered among King's sitters were Sequoyah, Red Jacket, Major Ridge, Cornplanter, and Osceola. After six years as Superintendent of Indian Trade, Thomas McKenney had become concerned for the survival of the Western tribes. He had observed unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of the Native Americans for profit, and his vocal warnings about their future prompted his appointment by President Monroe to the Office of Indian Affairs. As first director, McKenney was to improve the administration of Indian programs in various government offices. His first trip was during the summer of 1826 to the Lake Superior area for a treaty with the Chippewa, opening mineral rights on their land. In 1827, he journeyed west again for a treaty with the Chippewa, Menominee , and Winebago in the present state of Michigan. His journeys provided an unparalleled opportunity to become acquainted with Native American tribes. When President Jackson dismissed him from his government post in 1830, McKenney was able to turn more of his attention to his publishing project. Within a few years, he was joined by James Hall, a lawyer who had written extensively about the west. Both authors, not unlike George Catlin, whom they tried to enlist in their publishing enterprise, saw their book as a way of preserving an accurate visual record of a rapidly disappearing culture. (Gilreath). McKenney provided the biographies, many based on personal interviews, and Hall wrote the general history of the North American Indian.
OCLC 35709791; this edition not in Field, Howes, or Sabin.