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McKENNEY, Thomas L. (1785-1859) and James HALL (1793-1868). History of the Indian Tribes of North America.

McKENNEY, Thomas L. (1785-1859) and James HALL (1793-1868). History of the Indian Tribes of North America.


McKENNEY, Thomas L. (1785-1859) and James HALL (1793-1868). History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Philadelphia: Edward C. Biddle (parts 1-6), Frederick W. Greenough (parts 7-13), J. T. Bowen (part 14), Daniel Rice and James G. Clark (parts 15-20), 1836-1844.

20 original parts. Folio (21 x 15 inches). Notice regarding 'The Description of the War Dance, received from Mr. Atwater" being incorrect tipped-in towards the end of part 9, Erratum slip tipped-in to beginning of part 10, "Notices to Binders and Subscribers" tipped-in at the beginning of part 20, "The History of the Indian Tribes of North America" bound in to the ends of parts 1-3 and throughout parts 17-20, 17 pages of facsimile signatures of subscribers, leaf entitled "The Genuineness of the Portrait of Pocahontas, lithographed leaf of maps entitled "Localities of All the Indian Tribes in North America in 1833", all at the end of part 20; title pages to part 1 (Volume 1, Biddle imprint, 1837, BAL state B), part 9 (Volume 2, Greenough imprint, 1838, BAL state A), part 16 (Volume 2, Rice and Clark imprint, 1842, BAL state B as called for), part 20 (Volume 3, Rice and Clark imprint, 1844, BAL state A). 120 SUPERB hand-colored lithographed plates after C. B. King and Rindisbacher (some minor offsetting of text onto plates, some occasional spotting to text leaves). ORIGINAL OCHRE PRINTED PAPER WRAPPERS (backstrips to parts 1-3 worn away and wrappers loose, short tear with loss to front wrapper of part 17, one or two creases); housed in red morocco backed clamshell box.  

PROVENANCE: THE BRADLEY MARTIN COPY, his sale, Sotheby's New York, 31 January 1990, lot 2531, $36,000 hammer


The parts offered here contain the first state title pages to parts 9, 16 and 20, the 'War Dance of the Sauks and Foxes' plate with the Biddle 1834 imprint, but without the imprint of the lithographers, The 'Red Jacket' plate with Biddle 1834 imprint. Exceedingly rare in parts, only one other sold at auction according to ABPC since this copy in 1990, the Richard Harris copy, Bloomsbury New York, 13 October 2010, lot 158

Thomas McKenney, appointed Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Washington in 1824, began travelling west in 1826 to observe the fading cultures of the Chipewa, Winebago and other tribes. Dismissed from this post by President Jackson in 1839, McKenney conceived of collecting the portraits of notable Native Americans, begun by Charles Bird King in 1824, and pairing them with biographies written by the popular author of western  topics, James Hall.  Bird was commissioned by McKenney to execute portraits of visiting Indian delegates in his studio in Washington, with some famous sitters including Red Jacket and Major Ridge, as well as a portrait of Pocahontas paired with contemporary quotations attesting the accuracy of the likeness. Most of Bird's paintings were destroyed in the Smithsonian fire of 1865, and given that this work is most commonly encountered in 3 bound volumes.

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