(VOYAGES--WEST) MCKENNEY, THOMAS LORAINE and JAMES HALL History of the Indian tribes of North America, with biographical sketches and anecdotes of the principal chiefs. Embellished with one hundred and twenty portraits from the Indian gallery in the Department of War, at Washington. Philadelphia: Edward C. Biddle, 1836 (volume I) / Daniel Rice and James G. Clark, 1842 (volume II, second issue) and 1844 (volume III).
Three volume set, green morocco over period green moire cloth-covered boards (52 cm. tall). Spine with raised bands in seven compartments, lettered in the second and fourth; the others with a repeat decoration in gilt. Illustrated with 120 hand-colored lithographic plates after Karl Bodmer, Charles Bird King, James Otto Lewis, P. Rhindesbacher, and R. M. Sully, drawn on stone by A. Newsam, A. Hoffy, Ralph Trembley, Henry Dacre and others, and printed and colored by J. T. Bowen and others. Volume III features two lithographic maps and one table printed on the recto of one leaf; with 17 pages of lithographic facsimile signtuares of the original subscribers.
When President Jackson dismissed him from his position as Superintendent of Indian Trade, Thomas McKenney was able to turn his attention towards the documentation of a rapidly disappearing culture, soon joined by the Illinois journalist-lawyer-banker James Hall. Their text, including both individual biographies and a general history of the indigenous peoples of North America, has become famed for its colored portraits, which included faithful copies of original oils by Charles Bird King; all but four of which were destroyed in the Smithsonian fire of 1865.