Welcome to Peter Harrington Books

129033 129033_1 129033_2 129033_3 129033_4 129033_5 129033_6 129033_7
McKENNEY, Thomas L., & James Hall.

History of the Indian Tribes of North America...

with biographical sketches and anecdotes of the principal chiefs. Embellished with one hundred and twenty portraits from the Indian Gallery in the War Department at Washington.

Availability: In stock

Published: Philadelphia Rice, Rutter & Co., 1848-50

Stock Code: 129033

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First octavo edition, following the folio edition of 1836-44. A magnificent record of Native American dignitaries - "the most colourful portraits of Indians ever executed" (Howes). McKenney, who was Superintendent of Indian trade from 1816 until 1822 and headed the US Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1824 to 1830, collaborated with James Hall, the Illinois journalist, lawyer, state treasurer and from 1833 Cincinnati banker, to produce this famous work, which includes the only known likeness of many of the most prominent Native American leaders of the early 19th century. The text, which was written by Hall based on information supplied by McKenney, takes the form of a series of biographies of leading figures amongst the Indian nations, followed by a general history of the Native Americans. The work is now famous for its colour plate portraits of the chiefs, warriors and women of the various tribes, faithful copies of original oils by Charles Bird King painted from life in his studio in Washington (McKenney commissioned him to record the visiting Indian delegates) or worked up by King from the water-colours of the young frontier artist, James Otto Lewis. The lithography and hand-colouring were entrusted to the distinguished lithographer J. T. Bowen, best known for his hand-coloured octavo edition of another landmark American publication, Audubon's Birds of America (1839-44).

Confused? Read our glossary


3 volumes, large octavo (255 x 165 mm). Contemporary red morocco by Altemus, spines elaborately tooled in gilt in compartments, floral panels in gilt to covers within French fillet frames blocked in blind, gilt roll to cover edges, all edges gilt, yellow coated endpapers, blue silk page markers.


With 120 hand-coloured lithograph plates, with tissue guards, by J. T. Bowen, mostly after Charles Bird King.


Early 20th-century bookplate of Edward S. Thompson to front free endpapers, partially erased pencil ownership inscription to frontispiece recto of vol. III. A little rubbing to lightly toned spines, minor wear to spine ends and tips, a couple of small scuffs and marks to faintly soiled covers, foxing and slight marks to endpapers, tiny hole to rear free endpaper of vol. III, occasional foxing to contents, light offsetting to tissue guards, a couple of very minor blemishes to plates; a very good, handsomely bound, set.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200. View Full Details


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book

Peter Harrington Limited. Registered office: WSM Services Limited, Connect House, 133-137 Alexandra Road, Wimbledon, LONDON SW19 7JY.
Registered in England and Wales No:3609982 Copyright © 2018, Peter Harrington. All rights reserved.

credit cards logo