CURTIS, Edward Sheriff (1868-1952). The North American Indian being a Series of Volumes Picturing and Describing the Indians of the United States and Alaska. Edited by Frederick Webb Hodge. Foreword by Theodore Roosevelt. Field Research conducted under the patronage of J. Pierpont Morgan. [Cambridge, Mass.], 1907-1930.
20 text volumes only, 4o (314 x 240 mm). Titles printed in red and black. 1,511 illustrations, comprising 1,505 photogravures, 23 colored, the rest in sepia, 4 maps and 2 diagrams (some pale offsetting from old tissue guards affecting only some plates). Original publisher's brown half morocco gilt, top edges gilt, others uncut, by H. Blackwell or William Bennett (a few spines lightly sunned).
LIMITED EDITION, number 28 of 500 proposed sets (but probably only 272 sets produced, see below), this copy with the photogravures on Japanese tissue with the General Introduction signed by Edward S. Curtis and dated 1907.
A COMPLETE SET OF THE TEXT VOLUMES OF CURTIS'S MONUMENTAL WORK, The North American Indian, one of the most expensive undertakings in the history of book production and one of the most comprehensive ethnographic records of the native tribes of North America. According to author and critic A.D. Coleman, it is "an absolutely unmatched masterpiece of visual anthropology, and one of the most thorough, extensive and profound photograph works of all time" (Sacred Legacy: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, ed. Christopher Cardozo, NY, 2000, p.25). The North American Indian took 16 years longer to complete than projected, and exceeded its budget by nearly $1.4 million. Curtis's immense work contains one of the largest visual records of Native Americans in existence, produced in lavish style under the patronage of J. Pierpont Morgan.
The planned 500 sets planned were never completed. An estimated 272 sets were finished, many of which have been broken up, while an estimated 85 remain in institutional collections. Three issues were produced: one printed on Van Gelder paper; another on Japan vellum; and another on Japanese tissue as in this set. 40 sets were issued on tissue and the remaining sets were split relatively evenly between vellum and Van Gelder, with many sets exhibiting a mixture of two or more types. Howes C-965; Roosens and Salu 2702; Truthful Lens 40. A FINE SET.
[With:] CURTIS. [Prospectus] The North American Indian. Cambridge, Mass., 1907. 4o (321 x 240 mm). Title printed in red and black. 2 original photogravures printed in sepia (some pale marginal spotting). SCARCE ORIGINAL PROSPECTUS OF CURTIS'S NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN. [And with:] CURTIS. [Prospectus] The North American Indian. Boston: Charles E. Lauriet, 1935. 2o. Self wrappers. (22)