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THE ILLUSTRATING TRAVELER

George Catlin painting a Chief

Encountering Native Americans
Part III of III



Henry Youle Hind. Explorations in the Interior of the Labrador Peninsula the Country of the Montagnais and Nasquapee Indians. London, 1863.

Otelne in his lodge

William Hind, "A Visit to Otelne in his Lodge." (Chromolithograph)

Hind's Red River report, which proceeded this volume, was illustrated with lithographs prepared from photographs. In this volume he commissioned the illustrations from his brother William, who took many more artistic liberties than the earlier report had allowed. The 1861 expedition was spent mainly among the Montagnai Indians of the Labrador Coast, and William here shows his brother lounging in an Indian lodge.



George Catlin. Illustrations of the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians: in a Series of Letters and Notes.... London, 1866.

George Catlin painting a Chief

"The Author painting a Chief, at the base of the Rocky Mountains." (Colored engraving)

Plate 19: A Blackfoot "Medicine Man"

A Blackfoot "Medicine Man" (Colored engraving)

George Catlin's Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs and Condition of the North American Indians is probably the most widely read and reprinted American travel book of the 19th century, going through many editions in the author's lifetime. Catlin arranged for its initial publication in 1841 and for the first four editions, but at the end of 1844 he seems to have sold the copyright to Henry Bohn, one of the largest book dealers and publishers in London. Bohn changed the title slightly and issued six more editions between 1845 and 1866; during the same period he also controlled distribution of the North American Indian Portfolio. Beginning with the seventh edition in 1848, Bohn would have a copy of the Illustrations hand colored; this is one such copy from the 10th edition of 1866. The cost was the same as that of the colored Portfolio mounted on card, its deluxe format, ten guineas. Printed color first appeared in the Illustrations in 1876 from Chatto & Windus, who took over the copyright from Bohn.


Paul Kane. Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America from Canada to Vancouver's Island and Oregon through the Hudson's Bay Company's Territory and Back Again. London, 1859.

Mixed-blood Cree girl

"Portrait of a half-breed Cree Girl." (Chromolithograph)

Kane traveled to the Oregon Country and western Canada in 1846-48, inspired by a Catlinesque desire to record Native American culture before it was obliterated by civilization. His sense of the inevitable destruction of their way of life is perhaps echoed by his choice of a half white, half Indian woman for his frontispiece. The chromolithographs in this book, while successful as portraits, fail to give a full idea of Kane's ability; he is now recognized as one of the most important artists who recorded American Indian life.


James W. Abert. Message from the President...Communicating a Report of an Expedition Led by Lieutenant Abert, on the Upper Arkansas and through the Country of the Camanche Indians, in the Fall of the Year 1845. Washington, 1846.

Shon-Ka-Mah-To, A Sioux Indian

"Shon-Ka-Mah-To, (The Dog Bear) A Sioux Indian" (Watercolor)

Twenty-four years old and three years out of West Point, James W. Abert was assigned to John C. Frémont's third expedition in May, 1845. By September, Frémont had gained sufficient confidence in the young lieutenant to place him in charge of a difficult reconnaissance through potentially hostile Indian country. Abert's official report exudes the youthful enthusiasm he brought to the task. It was illustrated with lithographs based on sketches he made in the field, but Abert enhanced his personal copy, shown here, with finished watercolors of many of the Native Americans he encountered. Among the earliest images of Southern Plains Indians known to exist, the watercolors heighten the drama of Abert's foray into uncharted country.

Additional Abert watercolors


Heinrich Balduin Mollhausen. Tagebuch einer Reise vom Mississippi nach den Kusten der Sudsee. Leipzig, 1858.

Otto warriors

"Wa-Ki-Ta-Mo-Ne und sein Jagdtrupp. Ottoe Krieger." (Chromolithograph)

Mollhausen was one of the principal artists connected with the Pacific Railroad Surveys, and most of his published work appears there. However, he also wrote a number of books about his experiences in the West, of which this is the most important and most extensively illustrated. The frontispiece shows a group of Oto warriors, one of the various tribes the artist encountered during his 1851 travels across the Great Plains with Prince Paul of Wurttemberg.


Walter McClintock. The Old North Trail or Life, Legends and Religion of the Blackfeet Indians. London, 1910.

The Sentinel

"The Sentinel" (colored offset photograph)

In 1896, five years after he graduated from Yale, Walter McClintock traveled west as a photographer with Gifford Pinchot's to investigate the national forests. McClintock became friends with William Jackson, a mixed-blood Blackfoot Indian who guided the expedition through Montana. For the better part of the next two decades, McClintock immersed himself in studying and recording the daily life and religious ceremonies of the Blackfoot. By 1910 he had taken some 2000 photographs which he used to illustrate copiously his account of the Blackfoot and his life among them. Employing relatively inexpensive photomechanical reproductions, McClintock included 200 photos in his 532 page narrative. Although his original photographs were black and white, McClintock went to the expense of having eight of them hand colored for use in his book.



Customs of the Country
Valor and Endurance
An Analytic Eye
The Sublime and the Picturesque
The Spirit of Place

Return to Encountering Native Americans, Part I

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