"ONE OF THE VERY FEW IMPORTANT INDIAN AUTOBIOGRAPHIES": IMPORTANT 1834 EDITION OF BLACK HAWK'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY, WITH ENGRAVED FRONTISPIECE PORTRAIT, RARE IN ORIGINAL BOARDS
(PATTERSON, J.B.) BLACK HAWK. Life of Ma-Ka-Tai-Me-She-Kia-Kiak or Black Hawk… With an Account of the Cause and General History of the Late War, His Surrender and Confinement at Jefferson Barracks, And Travels through the United States. Dictated by Himself. Boston: 1834. Small octavo (4-3/4 by 7-1/4), original blue and tan paper boards recased with early cloth spine preserved; pp. (ii) (1-5) 6 (7) 8 (9) 10-11 (12-13) 14-155. $1100.
1834 Boston edition of Black Hawk's autobiography, second overall, issued only a year after editor Patterson's Cincinnati edition, featuring Black Hawk's dramatic account of the Black Hawk War, with engraved frontispiece portrait of Black Hawk, very desirable in original boards.
"Black Hawk's narrative is one of the very few important American Indian autobiographies" (Graff 313). Following passage of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, "one of the most famous episodes of forced removal occurred in the summer of 1832. From April to September of that year, a band of Sauks and Mesquakies attempted to defend their lands east of the Mississippi from the growing population of American settlers in northeastern Illinois. A 65-year-old warrior named Black Hawk served as their leader and spokesman" (Bowes, Black Hawk, 18-19). This autobiography tells of his nation's struggle, the alliance with the British in the War of 1812, and the brutal Black Hawk War, "which ended in tragedy for the Indians and Black Hawk's flight and capture. He was incarcerated for a brief time in Fortress Monroe, Virginia, and then, in order to impress him with the numbers and power of the whites, he was brought to Iowa by way of the principal eastern cities and placed under the supervision of his old foe, Keokuk" (Lamar, 108). "Why did the Great Spirit ever send the whites to this island," he asks, "to drive us from our homes, and introduce among us poisonous liquors, disease and death?" (emphasis in original). Dictated by Black Hawk and edited by J.B. Patterson. While there is unsettled bibliographic consensus regarding the first edition; copies have been found with the 1833 imprint of "Cincinnati 1833." Sabin lists first the 1834 Boston with the publisher's imprint on the title page of Russell, Odiorne, & Metcalf; Howes lists first the 1833 Cincinnati edition; Graff cites the copyright page with: "Copyrighted by J.B. Patterson on November 13, 1833." This edition found without publisher's name on title page (this copy), and with it: no priority established. Sabin 5675. Lamar, 107. Howes P120. Graff 313. See Field 138. Early inscription.
Interior generally fresh with light scattered foxing, faint soiling to rear board, front board recovered in early paper to match rear board, spine cloth with expert restoration. An extremely good copy, desirable in original boards.