History of the Indian Tribes of North America by Thomas L. McKenney, complete in three volumes, published in 1865.
Octavo, [three volumes], iv, -333pp; xvii, -290pp; iv, -392pp. Three-quarter brown morocco, marbled boards, decoratively stamped in blind on spines. Title in gilt on spines, raised bands. All edges gilt, solid text blocks. Complete with 120 hand-colored lithographed plates by J.T. Bowen, after Charles Bird King. All plates with tissue covers, the occasional light spotting, bright illustrations. All volumes rebacked with original spines laid down, new endpapers, professional reinforcement to hinges. This scarce printing followed the first octavo edition, published in 1848-1850.
Considered one of the most important collections of Native American imagery ever compiled, History of the Indian Tribes of North America was the life work of Colonel Thomas McKenney. This work was originally published in 20 folio parts between 1836 and 1844. The first octavo edition was published in 1848-1850. Several additional octavo editions were published into the 1870s, all of which are highly desirable today. In 1865, the year this three-volume set appeared, a fire at the Smithsonian destroyed most of the original portraits by Charles Bird King, thus making this work the only record of the likenesses of many of these Indian leaders.