Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians

Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians

Catlin, George

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Place Published: London
Publisher: Printed by the Author at Egyptian Hall, Picadilly
Date Published: 1841
Edition: Second edition
Book Id: 45034


Two volume set. 264 & 266pp. Small quartos [26 cm] Beautifully rebound in 3/4 red morocco over marbled boards with matching pastedowns and endsheets by Zaehnsdorf for Bartlett & Company of Boston. Complete with three maps and 400 engravings. Near fine. Near fine. Light rubbing to extremities of bindings.


Inscribed by the author, George Catlin, on the original yellow front free endsheet. Inscription reads: "To _____ - with compliments of - the author. - Geo Catlin - London 1842." A young lawyer turned portraitist, George Catlin traveled west from his home Pennsylvania in 1830 to fulfill his dream of recording on canvas the North American Indian and their way of life. It was his desire, he said, to paint "faithful portraits of their principal personages, both men and women, from each tribe, views of their villages, games, etc., and [to keep] full notes on their character and history. I designed, also, to procure their costumes, and a complete collection of their manufactures and weapons, and to perpetuate them in a Gallery Unique, for the use and instruction of future ages."In Saint Louis, Catlin met superintendent of Indian Affairs William Clark, with whom he went to Prairie du Chien for the negotiation of peace treaties with a number of tribes - Sioux, Missouri, Omaha, Iowa, and the Sac and Fox. In the fall of 1830, Catlin found himself at Fort Leavenworth, where he met and painted some of the eastern woodland Indians - Shawnees, Delawares, Kickapoos, and Potawatamies - who were being forcibly emigrated from their old homes to new lands beyond the Missouri. Before the smallpox epidemic of 1832, Catlin visited the tribes of the lower Missouri and Platte Rivers - the Otoes, Missouris, Omahas, and Pawnees.During 1832 Catlin was able to travel aboard the steamboat Yellowstone, for a stay among the Indians of the Upper Missouri Basin - notably the Blackfoot, Crow, and Mandan. In 1834, he reached Fort Gibson, Arkansas, where he recorded some of the nearby Osages; and later in the year he accompanied Colonel Henry Dodge, who commanded a force of United States Dragoons on a visit to the Kiowas, Comanches, and Wichitas, on the Arkansas and Red Rivers. In 1836, Catlin went north to Minnesota, where he painted a number of Winnebagoes and Menominees, and visited the famed Pipestone Quarry. During the following year, he visited South Carolina, and Particularly Fort Moultrie, where there were imprisoned many Seminoles, captured during the long hostilities in Florida.By the end of the decade, the project had reached its conclusion. The result was Catlin's "Indian Gallery" consisting of an enormous collection of artifacts, tools, implements, ceremonial equipment, weapons, and costumes, as well as more than four hundred paintings - scenes of tribal life in addition to the portraits. Shortly after taking his whole "Gallery" to England for an extended period, Catlin published the first of his many editions of 'Letters and Notes', which had begun as a series of articles that began in 1837. Wagner/Camp 84.1. Sabin 11536 Howes 1770