8vo., (9 x 5 4/8 inches). Lithographed frontispiece and 5 plates. Original publisher's brown cloth, decorated in blind and gilt (a bit worn at the extremities).
Provenance: with the near contemporary ownership inscription of "C.J. Starr" on the front free endpaper; with the bookplate of Jay T. Snider on the inside of the chemise, his sale, Jay T. Snider Collection of Historical Americana, his sale Christie's 21 June 2005, lot 154
First edition. Juliette Kinzie was the wife of one of the earliest settlers of Chicago, and an important trader in the Great Lakes region, John Kinzie. "Wau-Bun" is a mixture of autobiography and history. "It recounted Juliette Kinzie's own experiences as an early settler of Wisconsin and Illinois amid a general description of the lives of local Native Americans, the history of white settlement in Chicago, and the activities of her father-in-law. As Kinzie noted in her preface, "It never entered the anticipations of the most sanguine that the march of improvement and prosperity would, in less than a quarter of a century [that is, since the time when she had arrived at what was a frontier outpost], have so obliterated the traces of 'the first beginning,' that a vast and intelligent multitude would be crying out for information in regard to the early settlement of this portion of our country." 'Wau-Bun' attempted to fill this gap and was well received, perhaps because its historical narrative is combined with what Milo Quaife called Kinzie's "fondness for romance and for dramatic effect" (Chicago and the Old Northwest, 1913). Kinzie was aware that her descriptions of relationships between the white settlers and the Native Americans were out of keeping with the majority cultural opinion. She noted in her preface, "Some who read the following sketches may be inclined to believe that a residence among our native brethren and an attachment growing out of our peculiar relation to them, have exaggerated our sympathies, and our sense of the wrong they have received at the hands of the whites." And despite the centrality in her account of the "massacre," Native Americans were presented as fully rounded characters, and their cultures, customs, and language were discussed with respect" (JoAnn E. Castagna for ANB). Catalogued by Kate Hunter