McKenney And Hall

McKenney & Hall History of the Indian Tribes of North America 

Thomas McKenney & James Hall’s impressive portfolio of Indian portraits documents an important part of American History, the great leaders of the Indian nations which have disappeared since the mid-nineteenth century. Thomas McKenney, head of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs for many years, was a champion of the Indian and fought throughout his tenure to preserve something of their culture, so integral a part of the history of the United States. His legacy was a gallery or portraits of the great chiefs by artists such as James Otto Lewis, Charles Bird King, and George Cooke.

McKenney took office in 1816 and shortly thereafter began to plan an archive which would house Indian memorabilia. In the winter of 1821-22 a large delegation of Indians comprising Pawnee, Sauk, Fox, Menominee, Miami, Sioux, and Chippewa came to Washington to see President Monroe. McKenney took advantage of this opportune time to record their likenesses by commissioning Lewis and King. More paintings were added to these over the years resulting in an impressive gallery of Indian portraiture. In 1830, McKenney was dismissed by President Jackson and at this time began to plan for the publication of a portfolio of prints of these portraits.

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