McKenney Hall North American Indian Prints 1865

While our images are electronically watermarked, the antique prints themselves are not.

Kee-Shes-Wa, Fox MH115 $165
Each print measures approximately 7 inches wide by 10 3/4 inches long

We are honored to present prints from this very famous work "The History of the Indian Tribes of North America with biographical Sketches and anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs" by Thomas McKenney & James Hall, 1865 Rice Rutter & Co. edition.

Thomas McKenney was appointed first Superintendent of Indian Trade in 1816 by President James Madison. During this time he commissioned the artist Charles Bird King to paint original portraits of the Indian chiefs as they came to Washington DC to negotiate peace treaties. Many gifts were offered to the visiting chiefs, among them highly prized medals, which some of the chiefs, including the Seneca chief, Red Jacket, wore while posing for their portraits. The originals portraits hung in the Smithsonian until all but 5 were destroyed by fire in 1865. Fortunately, they were not lost to posterity as Mckenney had been secretly smuggling each portrait from the Smithsonian to be copied by Henry Inman, and then returned.

During his tenure as Superintendent of Indian affairs, Thomas Mckenney became increasingly interested in the history & cultures of the Indian tribes. Early on, he was concerned with creating a historical record of these rapidly disappearing nations. In 1839, when he was dismissed from the government, he pursued this goal, joined by James Hall, a lawyer who had written extensively about the west. They tried without success to enlist the participation of Caitlin in the project.

The result was the superb "History of the Indian Tribes of North America", first published in folio size in 1837-1844, with 120 portraits after the originals by Charles Bird King. McKenney provided the biographies accompanying each portrait, many based on personal interviews, and Hall wrote the general history of the North American Indian. It was to be a one of the most important ethnographic works ever produced. Unfortunately, it was also one of the most costly & the widespread acclaim it received did not generate financial success for its authors. The octavo version was produced in several issues to be both more affordable & profitable, but was not of great assistance & McKenney died without the knowledge that his work would come to be considered one of the most important and enduring American works of all time.

The prints in this collection come from the final editions, produced by Rice Rutter & Co. Rice had taken over the project in the 1840s and made significant improvements to the 1865 edition.

Each print is on strong, slightly creamy paper with vivid hand coloring. There is no text offset or foxing & each print measures approximately 7 inches wide by 10 3/4 inches long. The original text & a copy of the title page accompanies each print whenever available. To look on these superb portraits, with the brilliant depictions of these magnificent chiefs is a powerful bridge to this bygone era and a poignant reminder of all that has been sacrificed.

We accept credit cards & PayPal. Florida state residents pay Florida state sales tax. Shipping for this item is $12.95. Items can be combined to save on postage. International shipping starts at $40, but may be more depending on the size of the prints and the country. Buyers are responsible for all customs duties. Our environment is smoke free. We pack professionally using only new materials. All items are beautifully wrapped and suitable for sending directly as gifts. You may return any item within 14 days if not satisfied. To order, you may call us at 1-888-PANTEEK, or send email to

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