LEWIS, James Otto (1799-1858). [Wrapper title:] Aboriginal Port Folio. Philadelphia: May-December, 1835.
8 parts only (of 10), broadsheets (490 x 300 mm). 3 leaves letterpress advertisements for parts 1-3 [all issued]. 64 hand-colored lithographic plates after Lewis by Lehman & Ducal, Philadelphia. (Without the lithographic title-page or frontispiece, plate of Kun-nun-der-waaguinse-zoo with long horizontal tear across image, other shorter tears/nicks at sheet edges, slight soiling, but otherwise in very fresh condition.) ORIGINAL PRINTED WRAPPERS, wrappers and plates with original stab holes preserved, the last part still partially sewn, untrimmed (front wrapper of no. 5 and back wrapper of no. 8 with heavier edge fraying and creasing, edgewear to wrappers).
FIRST EDITION, A REMARKABLE SURVIVAL, WITH THE ORIGINAL WRAPPERS. The present set of the earliest and rarest color-plate book on American Indians preserves the first eight parts complete with their original printed paper wrappers. Scarcer than McKenney and Hall's History of the Indian Tribes, Maximilian's Reise in das Innere Nord-America or Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio, Lewis' work records the dress of the Potawatomi, Winnebago, Shawnee, Sioux, Miami, Fox, Iowa and other tribes at treaties of Prairie du Chien, Fort Wayne, Fond du Lac and Green Bay.
Publication of the work was costly and time consuming. The work was originally issued in 10 parts with 8 plates per number in printed wrappers. The publisher was forced into bankruptcy while part nine was in the press, however, reducing the edition and forcing part ten to be just barely finished and sparsely distributed. A projected eleventh part would have contained "Historical and Biographical Description of the Indians," but was never completed. The title and three advertisement leaves are therefore the only text in the work, excluding that on the wrappers. The front wrappers bear a lithographic portrait vignette and the note: "Subscription price $2.00 pr Number issued Monthly untill 10 numbers are Complete." Printed on the back wrappers of numbers 5 and 6 is a long series of testimonials praising the work, including quotations from U.S. Gazette, New York Mirror, Commercial Herald, Knickerbocker, Saturday Evening Post, and Secretary of War Lewis Cass. The present copy is also unique in its untrimmed state: of recent copies sold at auction, it measures 3¼ inches taller than the Sax copy and 1 inch taller than the incomplete Siebert copy.
Bennett p.68; Field 936; Howes L315; Reese, American Color Plate Books 23; Sabin 40812.