THE AMERICAN INDIANS, THEIR HISTORY, CONDITION AND PROSPECTS FROM ORIGINAL NOTES AND MANUSCRIPTS.
Buffalo: George H. Derby & Co. 1851. 495pp. Lithographic plates of King Hendrick and Pocahontas. Illustrations. Full leather with spine labels for the title and author. Revised edition. Externally, the binding shows wear especially along the perimeter and to corners. There are splits (repaired) along spine and to the spine itself. Internally, the front hinge is cracked but holding and there is some scattered foxing. Overall, a good, serviceable copy. Schoolcraft, a geographer, geologist, and ethnologist, is best known for his studies of the Native American and his culture. In addition, he discovered, in 1822, the source of the Mississippi River. Schoolcraft began his research of the native tribes in 1822 upon his appointment as Indian Agent at Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It was while he was assigned there that he meet his first wife, Jane Johnston, whose mother was the daughter of a leading Ojibwe (Chippewa) chief. It was Jane who taught Schoolcraft the Ojibwe language and their culture. Doubtless, this intensified his interest in American Indians and their way of life. Until 1841 he was involved in Indian affairs in one capacity or another. It was these personal experiences that formed much of the basis for his writings. This work was originally titled, Oneota, or Characteristic of the Red Race…., and underwent five title changes after its initial printing in 1844. Wright Howes would describe this as “an unparalleled Protean feat--- even for Schoolcraft.” An encyclopedic work, Schoolcraft has performed an invaluable service in preserving an immense amount of information. There is material on the vocabularies of a number of Indian languages, legends of the various tribes, biographies of important chiefs and warriors, histories of the Indian wars, emigrations and even theories of origin. The appendix contains accounts of six Indian captivities.