McKenney and Hall Indian Tribes of North America

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Ne-Sou-A-Quoit, a Fox chief
Ne-Sou-A-Quoit, a Fox chief [plate facing page 155]

Text and 121 hand colored lithographs from: The 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. By Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall. Philadelphia, E. C. Biddle, 1836-1844.

The Libraries copy of 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 by Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall. Philadelphia [E. C. Biddle, 1836-1844] is held in the Special Collections Division and once belonged to Charles Dickens. It has his personal bookplate and a label that reads: "From the Library of Charles Dickens, Gadshill Place, June 1870". This copy was presented to the University of Washington Libraries in 1943 by Loyal A. Shoudy [1904] in memory of his friend and teacher Professor Edmund S. Meany.

The folio three volumes were produced using a then innovative structure-single sheets glued into a binding. Now a very common binding style with great advances in adhesives, this binding type, called a cautchouc binding, was cutting edge in its time. The adhesive made from a rubber solution dries out over time, looses its adhesive qualities and the individual pages pull out. This is happening to 19th Century books produced in this fashion all over the country. The Libraries recently decided that for preservation purposes to disbind these three volumes because as loose plates they can be better stored and more easily used for teaching and research. The original covers, still in excellent condition, are being retained and stored in appropriate containers.

In addition the Libraries has another nearly compete set of just the plates of volumes one and two from this important book. These came to the Libraries many years ago and their acquisition is surrounded in mystery. The plates clearly were actually cut from a bound volume rather than removed carefully from a deteriorating structure. The images you see here on the WEB from Volumes One and Two are taken from the trimmed down version because they were easier to scan. The copies of the plates are in most cases identical. The plates from Volume Three and all the text pages were scanned from the Dickens' copy.

About the Database

The information for the McKenney-Hall Indian Tribes of North America Collection was researched and prepared by the UW Libraries Special Collections Division staff in 2003. All of the lithographs and text from this three volume set were included in this database. The images were scanned from original text or lithographs in grayscale or color using a Microtek Scanmaker 9600L and saved in .jpg format. Some manipulation of the images was done to present the clearest possible digital image. The scanned images were then linked with descriptive data using the Contentdm software suite. The original work resides in the UW Libraries Special Collections Division.