McKENNEY, Thomas L. (1785-1759) and James HALL (1793-1868). History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Philadelphia: Edward C. Biddle (vol. I); Daniel Rice and James G. Clarke (vols. II and III), 1837-1842-1844.
3 volumes, 2o (525 x 365 mm). 120 hand-colored lithographic plates and uncolored lithographic map (War Dance in vol. I parted and with tape repair on verso, occasional offsetting and spotting throughout, several plates and guards with ink smears, unobtrusive on the plates, Kish-Ke-Kosh with one inch marginal tear). Contemporary quarter calf (library markings and tape repairs on spines, hinges broken, worn).
Provenance: St. Catherine's Hall Library, The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, Cornwells Heights, PA (bookplates); a gift from Katharine Drexel who received it by descent from her father, Francis A. Drexel.
FIRST EDITION, mixed issue. Titles: volume I, state B; volume II, state B; volume III, state A. Plates: War Dance, state A; Red Jacket, state C. Contains the printed list of subscribers.
The practice of taking portraits of the principal American Indians who came to Washington had begun as early as 1824. Chiefly painted by Charles Bird King, they were deposited in the War Department. Col. McKenney, superintendant of Indian affairs at Washington, conceived of the plan of making a collection of biographies, enhanced by the addition of the portraits. 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.
This set bears the important provenance of Blessed Katharine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in 1891 and daughter of Francis A. Drexel, business partner to J.P. Morgan. The present set is believed to have been part of the Drexel family library which was used to tutor the three Drexel daughters. Katharine Drexel later helped relieve the sufferings of American Indians under the tutelage of Indian missionary Monsignor Joseph Stephan. Her inheritance of nearly $20 million was used to help the plight of American Indian and African American people through the work of her convent. Pope John Paul II beatified Katharine Drexel in 1988.
Bennett, p.79; BAL 6934; Field 992; Howes M-129; Reese 24; Sabin 43410a. (3)