SCHOOLCRAFT’S MONUMENTAL AND WONDERFULLY ILLUSTRATED SIX-VOLUME WORK ON THE AMERICAN INDIAN—A DISTINCTIVE PRESENTATION SET
SCHOOLCRAFT, Henry R. Historical and Statistical Information, Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo & Co. (Volumes I-IV); J.B. Lippincott & Co. (Volumes V-VI), 1851-54, 1868, 1860. Six volumes. Thick folio (9 by 12 inches), period-style three-quarter black morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, original pale yellow pastedowns and endpapers retained.
Mixed first and early edition set of the most comprehensive anthropological work on American Indians of its time, with over 320 lithographic and steel-engraved illustrations and maps (many full-page chromolithographs, some with hand-coloring) by Seth Eastman and others. This set a scarce presentation set, inscribed in a secretarial hand in the first three volumes: “C.E. Potter, Esq, with the respects of H.R. Schoolcraft.”
In 1847 Congress authorized Schoolcraft, explorer and former superintendent of Indian Affairs in Michigan, to collect historical and statistical information on the country’s native inhabitants. “Schoolcraft’s work was intended to be a great encyclopedia of information relating to the American Aborigines… It has indeed performed a very important service for Indian history, in collecting and preserving an immense amount of historic data. Vocabularies of Indian languages, grammatical analyses, legends of various tribes, biographies of chiefs and warriors, narratives of captivities, histories of Indian wars, emigrations and theories of their origin, are all related and blended in an extraordinary manner. A very large number of beautiful steel engravings are contained in the work, but the most valuable of its illustrations are the drawings of weapons, domestic utensils, instruments of gaming and amusement, sorcery and medicine, objects of worship, their sculptures, paintings and fortifications… and every form of antiquities, which have been discovered” (Sabin 77849). Abundantly illustrated by soldier-artist Seth Eastman of the U.S. Army, with numerous engravings on steel, in-text woodcuts, hand-colored lithographs and chromolithographs. The most prominent lithographic studios of the period were also employed in this work—Ackerman of New York, and J.T. Bowen, P.S. Duval, and Illman & Sons of Philadelphia. Originally published entirely by Lippincott, Grambo from 1851-57; the final two volumes are slightly later, published by J.B. Lippincott in 1868 and 1860, respectively. Includes five steel-engraved additional title pages, one steel-engraved portrait of Schoolcraft in Volume VI, one folding letterpress table, 328 plates and maps after Seth Eastman and others, comprising 215 steel-engraved plates (86 hand-colored, tinted, or printed in color), 92 lithographic plates (69 hand-colored, tinted, or printed in color), 18 steel-engraved maps (seven hand-colored), and three uncolored lithographic maps. Original cloth cover with gilt vignette bound in at rear of Volume VI. Bennett, 95. Eberstadt 128:497. Field 1379n. Howes S183. See Wagner-Camp 203b. Numerous citations in Ayer, Indian Linguistics. Bookplate. Blind embossed stamp of Manchester City Library to title pages and frontispiece (only) of Volumes V and VI.
Fine condition. A lovely, complete set.