Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio. London: C. & J. Adlard for George Catlin, Egyptian Hall, 1844.
First edition. A key work of Western Americana, Catlin’s Portfolio contains the results of his years of painting, living with, and traveling among the Great Plains Indians. Catlin summarized the Native American as “an honest, hospitable, faithful, brave, warlike, cruel, revengeful, relentless, — yet honourable, contemplative and religious being.” The record represented by this volume is absolutely unique, both in its breadth and also in the sympathetic understanding that his images constantly demonstrate.
This volume complements many of the works donated by Dr. Kelsey to the Cushing Library, many of which are on display in this exhibit.
Purchased in honor of the 95th birthday of Dr. Mavis P. Kelsey, ‘32.
Lewis, James Otto.
The Aboriginal Portfolio.
Philadelphia, George Lehman and Peter S. Duval, 1835-36.
First edition. In 1825, painter and engraver James Otto Lewis began accompanying Michigan’s governor, Lewis Cass, on treaty expeditions to tribes in the Great Lakes region. On each voyage, he painted notable figures and cultural moments. The Portfolio, printed in ten parts of eight plates each, collects images from these voyages. The volume represents the first attempt at a collection of portraits of North American Indians, preceding the works of Catlin and of McKenney and Hall. It is one of the earliest large projects in American color printing, and one of the first large visual works to deal with subjects beyond the east coast of the United States. It is also one of the rarest American nineteenth-century color plate books.
The aquisition of this volume was supported by the Hamill Foundation.