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    With 120 Fine Hand-Colored Lithographed Plates of American Indians

    Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall. History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs. Embellished with one hundred and twenty portraits, from the Indian Gallery in the Department of War, at Washington. Philadelphia: Published by D. Rice & A. N. Hart, 1855.


    Third octavo edition. Three large octavo volumes. iv, 333, [1, blank]; xvii, [1, blank], [9]-290; iv, [17]-392 pages. Preface (pages 1-2) bound before contents leaf in Volume I (pages iii-iv). With 120 hand-colored lithographed plates ("Lith. Printed & Cold. by J.T Bowen"). Tissue guards.

    Contemporary red morocco, covers decoratively panelled in gilt within a gilt triple-rule border, spines decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt board edges and turn-ins, all edges gilt, pale yellow coated endpapers. Binding lightly scuffed and soiled, a few plates very slightly cropped at lower margin, just affecting imprint. Some very occasional minor soiling. Previous owner's ink signature on front free endpaper. A wonderful copy with vividly colored plates.

    Originally published in twenty folio parts (three folio volumes) between 1836 and 1844, with 120 hand-colored lithographed plates. The first octavo edition appeared in 1848-1850, with the plates reduced. Several octavo editions were published between 1850 and the 1870s, with varying numbers of plates, some maintaining the original 120, and some abridged to contain as few as forty or fifty plates. All are highly desired today. "As early as 1824, the practice was begun of taking portraits of the principal Indians who came to Washington, and depositing them in the War Department. They were chiefly painted by Mr. King, an artist of high repute, who has been remarkably successful in transferring to his canvas the strong lineaments of the Indian countenance. Col. M'Kinney [sic], who was for many years superintendent of Indian affairs at Washington, and was thus brought in constant association with the principal men of the nations and tribes which sent representatives to the seat of government, conceived the plan of making this rare and curious collection more valuable to the world by publishing a series of engraved portraits exactly copied and colored from these paintings. With each portrait is connected a biographical sketch of the individual whom it is intended to represent, interspersed with anecdotes and narrations. The work contains also a historical account of the various Indian tribes within the borders of the United States" (Sabin 43410a, describing the 1836-1844 edition). "The original oil paintings of which the plates were copies were all destroyed in the 1865 Smithsonian fire" (Howes).

    Howes M-129 ("the most colorful portraits of Indians ever executed"). Sabin 43411 (describing the 1850 octavo edition).


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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