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    One of a Small Number of Copies Issued with the Plates Hand-Colored

    Geo[rge] Catlin. Illustrations of the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians with Letters and Notes Written during Eight Years of Travel and Adventure among the Wildest and Most Remarkable Tribes Now Existing. With Three Hundred and Sixty Engravings, from the Author's Original Paintings. In Two Volumes. Tenth Edition. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1866.

    Deluxe issue of the tenth edition (first published in 1841 with title: Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians), one of a small number of copies issued by the publisher with the etchings colored by hand. Two octavo volumes (9.5625 x 6 inches; 244 x 153 mm.). With 180 numbered plates, including hand-colored etched frontispiece and 308 hand-colored etchings (on 176 leaves), some heightened with gum arabic, and three hand-colored engraved maps (one folding), all after Catlin. With guard leaves.

    Contemporary (publisher's) half red hard-grain morocco, ruled in blind, over marbled boards. Spines ruled in blind in six compartments with five raised bands, ruled and lettered in gilt in two compartments, the remaining four compartments tooled in gilt alternately with an Indian portrait and a crossed tomahawk and peace pipe, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Binding lightly rubbed, front hinge of Volume I and both hinges of Volume II cracked, but sound. Some occasional light to moderate foxing, mostly to the text and guard leaves. Volume I with some scattered marginal pencil point markings. A very attractive copy, with the plates generally clean and fresh, and handsomely colored.

    "These plates, or rather etchings, although merely outlines, are well executed, and appear to be very faithful representation of the objects and scenes described in the book...A considerable part of these letters were published in the New York papers, as early as the years 1832 and 1833. His paintings, from which the plates were taken, and a collection of Indian manufactures, were exhibited for many years in Piccadilly, London" (Rich, quoted in Sabin).

    "A young lawyer turned portraitist, George Catlin [1796-1872] traveled west from his home in Pennsylvania in 1830 to fulfill his dream of recording on canvas the North American Indians and their way of life. It was his desire, he said, to paint 'faithful portraits of their principal personages, both men and women, from each tribe, views of their villages, games, etc., and [to keep] full notes on their character and history. I designed, also, to procure their costumes, and a complete collection of their manufactures and weapons, and to perpetuate them in a Gallery Unique, for the use and instruction of future ages'...By the end of the decade, the project had reached its conclusion. The result was Catlin's 'Indian Gallery,' consisting of an enormous collection of artifacts, of tools, implements, ceremonial equipment, weapons, and costumes, as well as more than four hundred paintings-scenes of tribal life in addition to the portraits. Shortly after taking his whole 'Gallery' to England for an extended period, Catlin published the first of his many editions of Letters and Notes, which had begun as a series of articles that ran in the New York Commercial Advertiser, July 24, 1832-September 30, 1787. Catlin illustrated his book with line-cut reductions of his original paintings, and in the text described his adventurous years among the Indians. He recorded his observations of ceremonies, dances, hunting methods, forms of warfare, and the ways of daily living among the major tribes of the high plains and the Rocky Mountains" (Wagner-Camp, pp. 198-199).

    Field 260. Howes C241. McCracken 8K. Sabin 11537. Streeter 4277.




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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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