History of the Indian Tribes of North America
First Edition Lithographs after the original oils by Charles Bird King and James Otto Lewis.
McKenney and Hall’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America has long been renowned for its faithful portraits of chiefs, warriors and women of various Native American tribes.
Col. Thomas J. McKenney was a champion of Native American causes, and fought throughout his tenure to preserve something of their culture; such an integral part of the history of the United States. Hired in 1816 as the head of the United Stated Bureau of Indian Affairs, McKenney shortly thereafter began to plan an archive that would house Indian memorabilia. Between 1821-24, several delegations of Native Americans came to Washington to see President Monroe. McKenney took advantage of this opportune time to record their likenesses, commissioning Charles King and, to a lesser extent, James Lewis. More paintings were added to these over the years resulting in an impressive gallery of Indian portraiture.
In 1830, McKenney was dismissed by President Jackson and subsequently began to work the publication of a folio of the portraits. Completed 1836, the plates for the first edition were first published in 1832. The folio was a collaborative effort, the text written by James Hall based on information, which McKenney supplied. The magnitude of the project was overwhelming; McKenney battled poverty, politics, and printers to achieve his goal.
In 1865, a fire at the Smithsonian destroyed almost all of the original paintings from which the lithographs were drawn. The prints from the remaining folios are thus vital in their role as faithful recordings of Native American and pre-Civil War histo
Hoo-wa-ne-ka, A Winnebago Chief.