Description

    Schoolcraft's Massive Work on Native Americans, Inscribed by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs

    [Henry R. Schoolcraft, LL.D., editor]. Information, Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Collected and Prepared Under the Direction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Per Act of Congress of March 3d, 1847. Illustrated by Seth Eastman, Capt. U.S.A. Published by the Authority of Congress. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Company, 1852-1857.

    First edition, except for Volume I, which is a second edition. Inscribed at the time of publication by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, George Moneypenny to Charles Mason, Commissioner of Patents, on a preliminary blank in Volumes I and II. Six large quarto volumes. Volume I: half-title, engraved title, printed title, v-xxiii, 13-568 pages; Volume II: half-title, engraved title, printed title, [v]-xxiv, 17-608 pages; Volume III: half-title, engraved title, printed title, v-xviii, 19-635 pages; Volume IV: half-title, engraved title, printed title, v-xxvi, 19-668 pages; Volume V: half-title, engraved title, printed title, vii-xxiv, 25-712 pages; Volume VI: half-title, frontispiece, printed title, [v]-xxviii, 25-756 pages. Profusely illustrated with 310 plates (of 332 called for), many of which display contemporary hand-coloring, and numerous woodcuts in the text.

    Modern dark brown half leather over marbled paper boards with red leather title labels lettered in gilt. Blind-stamped ornaments to spines within five raised bands. All edges sprinkled red. New endpapers, with the original endpapers bound in. The bindings have minimal shelf wear, but are mostly impeccable. Uneven toning throughout the text, with varying degrees of toning to the plates and text. Some offsetting to adjacent pages from the plates. Scattered minor foxing. Library call numbers in ink on the first preliminary page following the title page of each volume. A large number of tissue guards not present. A stunning set of this rare Western Americana classic in very good condition.

    "This differs from No. 77849, supra, only in 'Part I,' which is a reissue with new titles uniform with the other parts" (Sabin).

    "Schoolcraft's work was intended to be a great encyclopedia of information relating to the American Aborigines. With great earnestness, some fitness for research, and a good degree of experience of Indian life, Mr. Schoolcraft had but little learning and no scientific training...[Schoolcraft] has indeed performed a very important service for Indian history, in collecting and preserving an immense amount of historic data. Vocabularies of Indian languages, grammatical analyses, legends of various tribes, biographies of chiefs and warriors, narratives of captivities, histories of Indian wars, emigrations, and theories of their origin, are all related and blended in an extraordinary and perplexing manner. A very large number of beautiful steel engravings, representative of some phase of Indian life and customs, are contained in the work, but the most valuable of its illustrations are the drawings of weapons, domestic utensils, instruments of gaming and amusement, sorcery and medicine, objects of worship, their sculptures, paintings, and fortifications, pictograph writing, dwellings, and every form of antiquities, which have been discovered" (Field).

    Howes S183. Sabin 77855.


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    June, 2010
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