"NOTHING SHORT OF THE LOSS OF MY LIFE SHALL PREVENT ME FROM BECOMING THEIR HISTORIAN": CATLIN'S NORTH AMERICAN INDIANS, 1841 SECOND EDITION, SIGNED AND DATED BY CATLIN IN EACH VOLUME
CATLIN, George. Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians. London: the Author, at the Egyptian Hall, Picadilly, 1841. Two volumes. Octavo, original brown cloth. Housed together in custom half morocco clamshell box. $13,800.
An exceptional copy of Catlin's North American Indians, boldly signed "Geo. Catlin of Wyoming, Penna. 1842" in each volume. This is the second edition, published the same year as the first, and contains three maps (one folding) and over 300 plates.
One of "the nation's pioneer anthropologists," Catlin wrote that "the history and the customs of such a people, preserved by pictorial illustrations, are themes worthy of the lifetime of one man, and nothing short of the loss of my life, shall prevent me from becoming their historian" (Hassrick, 15). A young lawyer turned portraitist, Catlin set out for the West from his home in Pennsylvania in 1830 to record on canvas North American Indians and their way of life. His eight years among the major tribes of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains resulted in his "Indian Gallery," an enormous collection of artifacts as well as more than 400 paintings—portraits and scenes of tribal life. Catlin's Letters…, one of the first detailed illustrated descriptions of the Far West, combined a travelogue of adventures with anthropological observations of ceremonies, dances, hunting methods, forms of warfare, and daily living. Illustrated with hundreds of line-cut reductions of his original paintings. Wagner-Camp 84:4. Sabin 11536. Early owner signature on title pages. "Second Edition" on title pages inked over.
Joints expertly repaired. An exceptionally good copy with only light wear to extremities, scarce and desirable inscribed and signed by Catlin.