Cover image for The aboriginal port-folio, or, A collection of portraits of the most celebrated chiefs of the North American Indians
The aboriginal port-folio, or, A collection of portraits of the most celebrated chiefs of the North American Indians
Lewis, James Otto, 1799-1858.
Publication Information:
Philadelphia : J.O. Lewis, 1836.
Physical Description:
72 unnumbered leaves of color plates : illustrations, portraits ; 48 cm
General Note:
Lithographed by Lehman & Duval; No. 7 Bank Alley, Philadelphia.

Plates represent early work of pioneers in American lithography. Color washed in by hand.

This publication composed of 1st 9 pts. Originally announced there would be 10 pts. (80 plates) to be issued monthly. Later an 11th pt. planned (an historical and biographical description of the Indians). The 10th pt., long thought not to exist, was published but contains pictures by other artists. The 11th part is not known to have ever been published.--Cf. J.F. McDermott, Magazine antiques, v. 51 (May 1947), p. 322 and Minnesota History, v.33 (Spring 1952), p. 20-21.

Some portraits with signature: J. Barincou.

Tribes represented are: Sioux (Dakota), Menominee, Potawatomi, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Winnebago, Fox, Sauk (Sac), Shawnee, Miami, Iowa, and Ottawa.

Per descriptions on each plate, majority of drawings done at following treaties: Prairie du Chien, 1825 [Treaty with the Sioux, etc., 1825]; Fond du Lac, 1826 and 1827 [Treaty with the Chippewa, 1826]; Massinnewa (Mississinewa), Indiana, 1827 [Treaty with the Potawatomi, Oct. 16 1826]; Fort Wayne, 1827 [Treary with the Miami, Oct. 23, 1826]; Green Bay, 1827 and Butte des Morts, 1827 [Treaty with the Chippewa, etc., 1827]. Names in brackets are those used in: Indian affairs; laws and treaties : Washington, Government Printing Office, 1904. Green Bay was an earlier stop before Butte des Morts.

Inaccuracies occur in descriptions accompanying portraits.

Earliest painting dated 1823, latest 1833, and 3 without dates, but majority of paintings sketched in the field (1825-1827) and finished in Detroit, 1827-1833. Printing on some plates state that painting was done on location. Other artists preceded Lewis in the painting of Native Americans (Chester Harding and Charles Bird King), but J.O. Lewis was the first to paint/draw them in their natural environment. None of the original paintings exist.--Cf. J.F. McDermott, Magazine antiques, v. 51 (May 1947), p. 320-321 and J.D. Horan : McKenney-Hall portrait gallery of American Indians (1972).
Local Note:
First edition: 48 x 30 cm. The printer's imprint is absent; the painter's imprint, "J. O. Lewis," and the lithographers' imprint are at the bottom of each portrait. The volume is half-bound in dark brown morocco and marbled brown paper over boards; both covers are blank, and the spine is missing. Also missing are the title page and eight leaves of colored plates; some remaining leaves are protected by vellum sheets, but most are somewhat mutilated, and the damage in some extends to the illustrations themselves. Inserted inside the front cover is an advertisement to "The first number of the Aboriginal Port-Folio," published by J. O. Lewis in Philadelphia, May 1835 (45 x 27 cm.)
Format :


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E89 .L488 1836 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Rare Books-Appointment Needed

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