McKenney, Thomas (1785-1859) & Hall, James (1793-1868) History of the Indian Tribes of North America with Biographical Sketches of the Principal Chiefs. Embellished with One Hundred and Twenty Portraits from the Indian Gallery in the Department of War, at Washington. Philadelphia: Biddle, 1837; Philadelphia: Greenough, 1838.
Volume one and part of volume two bound as one, folio, illustrated with seventy-one of seventy-two full-page hand-colored lithographs, lacking the plate of Se-Quo-Yah in the first volume, the second volume ending with the portrait of Ahyouwaighs, the seventy-second plate; the first twenty leaves of text in volume one with brownish discoloration in the gutter margin; plates otherwise good; bound in original half leather, buckram boards, with the large original gold-tooled label pasted to the front board; leather worn, chipping to head cap, corners bumped and scuffed, water discoloration to boards, 19 1/2 x 14 1/4 in.
The original painted portraits of Native American Indians were created by Charles Bird King, after which these lithographs were taken, at the behest of McKenney. A fire at the Smithsonian in 1865 destroyed 290 of the 295 original canvases, thus leaving these prints as the only extant record of those works documenting the breadth and diversity of the North American natives almost completely wiped out by European inhabitation of the continent.
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