Catalog Archive
Auction 190, Lot 734

Schoolcraft's Native American Encyclopedia Containing 155 Plates

"[2 Volumes] Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States", Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe

Subject: History Books, Native Americans

Period: 1851-52 (published)


Color: Printed Color

10.5 x 13.3 inches
26.7 x 33.8 cm
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This unmatched pair represents the first two volumes in Schoolcraft's 6-volume work intended to be an encyclopedia on all aspects of Native Americans. Despite being poorly arranged, Sabin notes (quoting Thomas Field) that "the work contains a vast amount of really valuable material. It has indeed performed a very important service for Indian history, in collecting and preserving an immense amount of historic data." Volume 1 (568 pages) contains 76 plates and organized into the following parts: General History, The Mental Type of the Indian Race, Antiquities, Physical Geography, Intellectual Capacity and Character of the Indian Race, and Population and Statistics. Volume 2 (560 pages) contains 79 of 80 plates and is arranged as follows: General History, Manners and Customs, Antiquities, Physical Geography, Tribal Organizations, Intellectual Capacity and Character, Topical History, Physical Type of the American Indians, Language, Indian Art, Future Prospects, and Population and Statistics. A few of the plates that caught this cataloger's eye include: "A Medicine Man Curing a Patient"; "Itasca Lake (Source of the Mississippi River)"; "Iroquois Picture Writing"; and "Death Whoop" (which is also the illustration on the front covers). Illustrations drawn by Seth Eastman, U.S. Army. Published by Lippincott, Grambo & Company in Philadelphia. Hardbound in cloth with gilt decorations on the front covers and gilt titles on the spines. Volume 1 contains the bookplate of the Honorable James M. Wayne with inscription below "With the respects of S. Sea, Commissioner of Indian Affairs."

References: Howes #S-183; Sabin #77849.

Condition: B+

Plates and text are very good with some light toning mostly along the sheet edges and some minor foxing in the second volume. There is a former owner's bookplate on the front pastedown of the first volume. Covers have light shelf wear with bumped corners and the spines of both volumes are sunned. The spine backstrip of the second volume is partially detached.

Estimate: $1,800 - $2,200

Sold for: $1,300

Closed on 11/16/2022