3 December 2007
McKENNEY, Thomas L. (1785-1859) and James HALL (1793-1868). History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Philadelphia: Edward C. Biddle (vol. I) and Daniel Rice and James G. Clark, 1836-1842-1844.
3 volumes, 2o (513 x 363 mm). Notice to binders bound in at p.3 of volume one, list of subscribers and note on the genuineness of the portrait of Pocahontas at end of volume three. 120 hand-colored lithographed plates and one uncolored lithographed map (some offsetting from text, occasional foxing, particularly to War Dance in volume one, the portrait of Red Jacket with closed tear not affecting the image). (Pp. 1-4 with repaired tear.) Contemporary scarlet half morocco gilt, spines in six compartments with five raised bands, gilt lettering in two, the others with gilt flower and leaf decoration, glazed marbled endpapers, some original wrappers bound in (covers worn at the extremities particularly the head and foot of each spine, some rubbing).
FIRST EDITION OF "THE GRANDEST COLOR PLATE BOOK ISSUED IN THE UNITED STATES UP TO THE TIME OF ITS PUBLICATION" (Reese). "Its long and checkered publication history spanned twelve years and involved multiple lithographers (mainly Peter S. Duval and James T. Bowen) and publishers, but the final product is one of the most distinctive and important books in Americana. Almost all the plates are portraits of individual Native Americans, the majority painted from life by Charles Bird King" (ibid) who was employed by the War Department to paint the Indian delegates visiting Washington D.C. His work formed the basis of the War Department's Indian Gallery, but most of King's original paintings were subsequently destroyed in a fire at the Smithsonian, and McKenney and Hall's magnificent work is the only record of the likenesses of many 19th-century Indian leaders. A biographical sketch accompanies each portrait, and the work also contains a general history of the various Indian tribes within the borders of the United States. Bennett p.79; BAL 6934; Field 992; Howes M-129; Reese Nineteenth Century American Color Plate Books 24; Sabin 43410a. (3)
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