Museum Minute: A Unique Copy Of George Catlin's Books Of Paintings
Artist George Catlin made a number of trips to the West in the 1830s. He spent a lot of time with the upper Missouri tribes, which he painted, as well as took notes of their cultures.
Mary Robinson, the director of the McCracken Research Library, said Catlin tried to interest the public in the Native Americans through his paintings while traveling. He even traveled to Europe where he toured around with a gallery of paintings. Around the middle of the century, he published two books that were in two volumes, "The Manners, Customs and Conditions of the North American Indians."
"In the McCracken Library, we have examples of several of these editions: beautiful covers, and in some cases, color illustrations reproducing in lithographs of Catlin's paintings," said Robinson.
The library has an unusual volume, which is a Swedish translation of Catlin's "Manners." Robinson said there are only 12 known copies.
"It's rather nondescript on our shelves. But it contains these gorgeous chromolithographs color illustrations of his work. Even 173 years later, the illustrations are still just stunning," said Robinson. "We have this unusual example, besides the American the English translations of Catlin, we have these really beautiful color illustrations in a Swedish edition."