CATLIN, George

CATLIN, George. Illustrations of the Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North American Indians with letters and notes written during eight years of travel and adventure among the wildest and most remarkable tribes now existing.

London, Henry G. Bohn, 1857




£ 1,500


8vo. 2 vols. 1st: (viii), 264 pp.; 2nd: (viii), 265 pp. The two volumes include 360 engravings taken from the author’s painting of the Natives, their habitats and artefacts; the first volume contains a folded map of the U.S. in 1857, with the recent acquisition of California in evidence. Bound in original red cloth, gilt to spine. Cover and spines ornated with gilt reproduction of two of the lithographs. Tears at pp. 5 and 105 of volume 2. Inner joint cracked, showing some netting. Overall, a clean copy with only minor foxing and thumb marks here and there, and in good conditions.


George Catlin (1796 – 1872) was an American painter and ethnologist, who spent eight years travelling as a diplomat across the territories of the West recording the life and uses of the Natives. He had been fascinated by the native tribes of the West since from his youth and decided to collect as much information as possible regarding their habits before they failed into oblivion. Catlin was very aware of the systematic repression of Natives by the Government and sadly records the ‘extinction’ of the tribe of the Mandans in an appendix to this ninth edition. During his travels in the Territories, Catlin painted over 300 portraits of chiefs, settlements and artefacts. He further collected and recorded legends and rituals, which he describes in great details in his letters. The result of this astonishing amount of documents regarding the life of the Natives was summed up in the present publication. Catlin toured the U.S. and Europe with his collection of paintings and artefacts, holding conferences and raising awareness of the disappearance of Native culture.