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Portrait Gallery of Native Americans

The Philadelphia Print Shop
J.O. Lewis imageMcKenney and Hall image
Gallery of American Indians


The Philadelphia Print Shop has one of the most extensive selections on antique prints of Native Americans available anywhere. From life-portraits of individual chiefs, warriors and women to first-hand depictions of typical events in the lives of the American Indians, these rare images are both dramatically decorative and historically fascinating.

Go Selection of prints
of Native Americans
Go Theodor De Bry
(16th Century)
Go J. O. Lewis
Aboriginal Portfolio
Go Edward S. Curtis photographs
Go George Catlin Go Karl Bodmer
Go Rudolf Cronau
(portraits & western views)
Go Portraits of natives of
of other parts of the world
Go Reference books


Selection of Native American images

Harris: California Natives
"The Inhabitants of California in their respective Dresses." From John Harris' A Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels . . ." London: publisher unknown, ca. 1750. 12 x 7 1/2 (image). Engraving. Very good condition. $175

This publication was first issued in 1705 and later revised for the 1744-48 edition, and again in 1764. This important collection includes the voyages of Magellan, Drake and other explorers and contained numerous maps and prints of natives, animals, plants, views, and portraits. $175

A series of early Native American images. From Jules Dufay's L'Amérique. Paris, 1826. 3 7/8 x 2 3/4. Engravings. Original hand color. Very good condition, except as noted.

A rare series of lovely and fascinating images of American Indians from a French history of the world by Jules Dufay. This plate came from the American volume of Dufay's Historie des Voyages, which was an account of the 'wars, social mores, products and history of different parts of the world. Each image is based to some extent on reality, but with some interesting aspects clearly not accurate. These are an early European attempt to better understand Native Americans.

Drake: Neamathla
"Nea Mathla. Seminole War Chief." From Biography and History of the Indians of North America by Samuel G. Drake. Boston: O.L. Perkins, 1834. 5 3/4 x 4 (image). Engraving. Some smudging in bottom margins. Else, very good condition.

Samuel Gardner Drake was born in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, the son of farmers. In 1805, his father sold his farm and opened a store in Northwood, New Hampshire. In 1818 he became a school teacher. In 1828 he moved to Boston to open the first antiquarian bookstore in the United States. He also studied and wrote about early United States history. In 1847, Drake was one of the founders of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and for many years he was the editor of its quarterly Register. He lived in London for two years late in his life. He died of pneumonia in Boston. $225

West: North American
After Benjamin West. "Nordamerikaner." From H.R. Schinz's Naturgeschichte und Abbildungen des Menschen. Zurich: Honeggerschen Lithographischen Anstalt, 1835. 8 x 9 (image). Lithograph by J. Honegger. Light scattered spotting left and right of image, Else, fine condition. Very good condition.

From 1824 until 1845, Swiss doctor and natural historian Heinrich Rudolf Schinz published various editions of his "Natural History. Schinz's work included illustrations of the different races and he took his images for Native Americans upon the work of various naturalists, such as John Webber (from Cook's expedition) and Karl Bodmer (from his travels with Prince Maximilian). For the northeastern woodland Indians, Schinz copied the figure that appears in the foreground of Benjamin West's "The Death of General Wolfe." This figure had become the archetypical image of the Native American in the early 19th century. $325

Webber: Hawaiian
After John Webber. "Bewohner der Sandwichinseln in Königlicher Prachtkleidung." From H.R. Schinz's Naturgeschichte und Abbildungen des Menschen. Zurich: Honeggerschen Lithographischen Anstalt, 1836-45. Ca. 11 x 8. Lithograph by J. Honegger. Very good condition.

From 1824 until 1845, Swiss doctor and natural historian Heinrich Rudolf Schinz published various editions of his "Natural History." Included in this work was a consideration of the human species, which Schinz grouped into five "tribes" or races. Schinz's work included illustrations of the different races and he took his images for Native Americans upon the work of various naturalists. This print is after one of John Webber's (1751-1793) drawings who was the official artist on Cook's third voyage of discovery. This print depicts a King of the Hawaiian Islands. $175

From James Wimer's Events in Indian History. Lancaster or Philadelphia, 1841-1843. 9 x 11 1/2. Lithographs by Thomas Sinclair. Folding book illustration. Clean but with irregular dimensions and old folds. Sabin, 23214; Howes, W-548.

A series depicting events in America, mostly within the United States in the early years. $125 each

Bodmer: Dog Dance
After Karl Bodmer. "Mœnnitarre Warrior in the Costume of the Dog Dance." From Graham's Magazine. Philadelphia, 1845. Steel engravings by Rawdon, Wright & Hatch. Very good condition, except as noted.

Shortly after the atlas volume of Bodmer aquatints was issued, a series of reduced prints based on his images was published in the Philadelphia publication Graham's Magazine. These are finely copied steel engraving, making them contemporary and affordable examples of Bodmer's classic western images. QW OUT ON APPROVAL
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The Boy
"Ah-quee-we-zaints. The Boy." From James C. Prichard's The Natural History of Man. London: Hippolyte Balliere, [1844]. Octavo (9 1/2" x 5 1/2" full sheet). Etching. Original hand color. Very good condition.

About the same time that Catlin was having his portfolio produced, James Prichard borrowed a number of the images of Catlin's paintings for his scientific publication, the Natural History of Man. Prichard began the research for his study in 1813, intending to establish that the human race originally was all dark-skinned. He modified this view over the years, but still concluded that the human race was all one species, one family. Eventually Prichard gathered all available research about various races of humankind and his work became an important foundation for modern ethnological science. Included in Prichard's History were fine portraits of different human races taken from original drawings of various artists, most notably these by George Catlin. Based on first hand studies made in the field by Catlin, these prints provide us with some of the most authentic images of Plains Indians from the mid-nineteenth century. $350
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WEnona's Leap
Seth Eastman. "Wenona's Leap. Lake Pepin, Miss. River." From Ornaments of Memory--Beauties of History, Romance and Poetry. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1854. Engraving by Charles Burt. 6 1/8 x 4 7/8. Very good condition.

Seth Eastman was a soldier who spent many years in the American west, particularly working as an artist to document Native Americas for the U.S. government and for private purposes. His drawings provide some of the best first hand images of Indians in the west before the Civil War. $175
GoGo to page with more prints by Seth Eastman

Prints by Arthur Schott. From William Emory's Report of the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey. Washington:GPO, 1857; Cornelius Wendell, Printer. Ca. 8 x 5 1/2. Color lithographs. Very good condition, except as noted.

The border with Mexico first established at the end of the Mexican-American War ran along the Gila River and unfortunately the only feasible southern route for a railroad ran through Mexico. This prompted renewed negotiations, resulting in the Gadsden Purchase, acquiring for the United States enough land to run the railroad line. William H. Emory, a topographical engineer who had previously done surveying in the southwest was appointed to survey the new border. This is the report that resulted from his survey, and it includes not only the geographic information and maps required, but much other information on the natural history and physical character of these newly acquired lands. The views were drawn by Arthur Schott, a German-born scientist, artist and musician who was appointed as a "special scientific collector," to gather botanical, geological, and zoological specimens, as well as making notes and drawings of the land and its flora and fauna. One of the most important results were his first-hand images of the Indian tribes, including Seminole, Lipan Apache, Yumas, and Kiowa.

Mid-nineteenth century Indian portraits. From various publications. Ca. 1850-60. Wood engravings. Original hand color. Good condition, though some with stains.

In the mid-nineteenth century, a number of histories of the United States were issued containing wood-engraved illustrations of American views, portraits and scenes from our past. Some of these were potraits of famous Native Americans, who were beginning to be looked at as historic figures of note and interest.

Harper's Weekly was a weekly newspaper filled with woodblock illustrations by many of the leading American artists of the last half of the nineteenth century. It, and other illustrated newspapers of the day, provide one of the only sources for contemporary images of the American West during the nineteenth century. Drawn by a number of expert artists, including Frederic Remington, Charles Graham, R.F. Zogbaum and Thomas Moran, these images are just now beginning to be appreciated not only as decorative and affordable, but as having their own historic value for the collector.

From Photographs by Ranger & Austin. "The Onondaga Indians." Harper's Weekly, New York, February 17, 1872. Full page with text and five images: "The Methodist Church," "Epiphany Chapel," "Offering The Sacrifice," "Captain George," and "The Christian Family." Wood engravings. Very good condition.

A page from this famous illustrated newspaper about the the Onondaga Indians who lived south of Syracuse, New York. Interesting text and images based on photographs. $50

Curtis' Indian Photographs

Curtis: Lone Chief - OtoSpacerCurtis: Modern Cupeno House

Prints by Edward S. Curtis. New York, 1907-30. Photogravures in sepia. Excellent condition.

Classic photographic prints from Curtis' The North American Indian . . . edited by Frederick Webb Hodge with a foreword by Theodore Roosevelt. From 1898 to 1900 Curtis had been using photography to record American Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Encouraged by Harriman, Muir and Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan financed an expanded project that resulted in the production of 40,000 photographs. A complete set of the portfolio eventually had 2,234 photogravures; however, only 272 of the proposed 500 sets were issued. Most sets were issued on the Holland paper, but a small number were printed on vellum. Using masterful photography, Curtis was able to record that last truly itinerant tribes of Indians in North America.

Folio prints. Ca. 14 x 17 1/4 (platemarks) plus full margins.

Joseph K. Dixon. From The Vanishing Race: The last Great Council. New York: Doubleday, Page & Co. 1913. Photogravures printed in sepia. Octavo. All images approximately 4 x 6. Fine condition.

(Lewis) Rodman Wanamaker (1863 - 1928) was a son of Philadelphia department store founder John Wanamaker. In 1886 Rodman joined the family business and worked in Europe until 1896 when he was brought to New York. When John Wanamaker died in 1922 Rodman assumed control of the firm. Besides his association with the Wanamaker stores, Rodman is credited with financing the development of the first seaplane and the Professional Golfers Association.

Between 1908 and 1913, Wanamaker sponsored three expeditions to the American Indians intended to document Indian life and culture through photography, moving film, and sound recordings. Rodman supported the idea to give Native American Indians the right to citizenship. He hired Joseph K. Dixon, who worked in the education department at Wanamaker's, to photograph the Indians. Dixon took over eight thousand photographs. Most of these images were staged and appear overly sentimental, but they reflect Rodman's sympathy with the Indians. These photographs, like those of William Curtis which were published a few years earlier, are an interesting visual record of American Indians at the time.

Each print $150


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©The Philadelphia Print Shop Last updated July 14, 2021