Prior to the development and widespread use of photography the only way to tell what someone looked like was through drawings, paintings, and sculptures. Our principal source for knowing what Indian leaders looked like in the early 19th century is Thomas Loraine McKenney and James Hall’s History of the Indian Tribes of North America with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs. This three volume work was illustrated with a 120 color pictures of the various Indian leaders of the time. Special Collections is fortunate to have several editions of this work and a number of the individual images.
For more information on this book and its authors, see Jamie Sue Linder’s “McKenney and Hall’s Passport to the Past of American Indians,” in the Library Development Review (1998-99, pages 10-15), available through Trace.
– William B. Eigelsbach, Research Specialist