Thomas McKenney's Indian Tribes to reach $180,000 at Leslie Hindman?

A rare copy of Thomas L McKenney and James Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America is among the top lots in Leslie Hindman's auction of Fine Books and Manuscripts on August 6.  

The lot carries an estimate of $140,000-180,000.

McKenney Hindman auction
The three volume work contains hundreds of lithographs of Native Americans

McKenney (1785-1859) was for a time America's superintendent of Indian affairs and was responsible for forcibly assimilating Native Americans into white culture - a role he took on with gusto.

At the same time, he was eager to preserve "in the archives of the Government whatever of the aboriginal man can be rescued from the destruction which awaits his race."

He commissioned painter Charles Bird King to produce a series depicting the envoys of the various tribes of the United States that came to the capital to negotiate treaties.

The project began as a subscription, but at $120 (around $2,500 today), it proved prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of people.

It ran for eight years between 1836 and 1844, resulting in three volumes filled with colour lithographs depicting Native American dress, customs and way of life.

The sale features a wealth of rare material - including the first degree ever awarded to an African-American by Harvard University, which is valued at $10,000-15,000.

Click here to check out our fascinating range of books and manuscripts.

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