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Item #40474 History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Thomas L. McKENNEY, Charles Bird KING James HALL, James Otto LEWIS, writer, painter.
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America
History of the Indian Tribes of North America

History of the Indian Tribes of North America

Philadelphia: Edward C. Biddle, 1836; Daniel Rice, 1838; and James G. Clark, 1844. Folio; 3 vols. (20 1/16 x 14 1/4 inches). 120 hand-colored lithograph plates, map, and 17-page subscriber list present. State "A" of volumes one and three, state "B" (issued with part 16) of volume two.

19th-century half-Morocco to style over marbled boards, spines gilt. Within individual chemises and slipcases.

First edition of this Americana highspot, a profusely illustrated record of prominent nineteenth-century Native Americans, which was "the grandest color-plate book issued in the United States up to the time of its publication." (Reese)

Thomas McKenney, a Quaker, was Superintendent of Indian Affairs from 1816-1822. While in this post he became concerned for the survival of Western tribes after observing unscrupulous people taking advantage of Native Americans for profit. McKenney decided to create an archive to preserve the artifacts and history of Native Americans whose culture was disappearing due to settler-colonialism. A visit to the studio of artist Charles Bird King inspired McKenney to add portraits to his archive. McKenney helped start the first national collection in Washington, the Archives of the American Indian, and served as curator of this archive while he was Superintendent of Indian Affairs and head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Perhaps surprisingly, in his government role, McKenney advocated for Indians to be removed to somewhere west of the Mississippi and the portraits he commissioned make reference to the benefits of missionary and "civilizing" work. He was instrumental in the passage of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, but also criticized some government policies toward Indians, which led President Jackson to dismiss McKenney from his post in 1830. After leaving government, McKenney was able to turn more of his attention to his publishing project recording biographies and portraits of Native Americans. Within a few years, he was joined by James Hall, a journalist, lawyer, and the Illinois state treasurer, who had written extensively about the West. Both authors saw their book as a way of preserving an accurate visual record of a rapidly disappearing culture. The text, which was written by Hall based on information supplied by McKenney, takes the form of a series of biographies of leading figures among the Indian nations, followed by a general history of the North American Indians. The work is famous for its color-plate portraits of chiefs, warriors, and women of various tribes, which are faithful copies of original oils by Charles Bird King. King painted the illustrious Indians from life in his studio in Washington, D.C., where McKenney commissioned him to record visiting Indian delegations from 1821 to 1837. At times King's paintings were worked up from the watercolors of the young frontier artist, James Otto Lewis. All but four of the book's original paintings were destroyed in the disastrous Smithsonian fire of 1865; their appearance in this work preserves what is probably the best likeness of many of the most prominent Indian leaders of the early 19th-century. Among King's sitters were Sequoyah, Red Jacket, Major Ridge, Cornplanter, and Osceola. This was the most elaborate plate book produced in the United States to that date, and its publishing history is complex. Its production spanned eight years, multiple lithographers, and was funded by 1,250 subscribers. The title pages give an indication of issue: Volume I, first issue was by Edward C. Biddle and is dated 1836; the second issue was by Frederick W. Greenough with the date 1838; and the third issue is by Daniel Rice and James G. Clark and dated 1842. Volume II, first issue is by Frederick W. Greenough and dated 1838; and the second issue is by Rice and Clark and dated 1842. Volume III, first issue is by Daniel Rice and James G. Clark and dated 1844.

American Color Plate Books, 24; BAL 6934; Bennett, 79; Best of the West, 68; Bowers, 339-40; Field 992; Howes M-129 ("d"); Lipperhiede Mc4; Sabin 43410a; Servies 2150; Stack, 5.

Item #40474

Price: $120,000.00