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McKenney, Thomas Loraine (1785-1859)

Accounts for Indian Trade. Autograph letter, signed

      Georgetown [DC], Office of Indian Trade: 30 September, 1819. 195 X 243 mm. Addressed to R. Smith, cashier in the Department of Indian Trade. Very good but for small chip on the lower right corner, affecting a part of the signature. Old mounting ghosts on verso. From the Dictionary of American Biography: James Madison appointed McKenney superintendent of Indian trade in 1816. As superintendent, he coordinated a network of government-owned trading houses known as the factory system. Established by Congress in 1795, the factory system, which was designated for Indians, was intended to furnish them with quality goods in a fair exchange for their furs. McKenney came to view the factories as ... a means to introduce the tribes along the American frontier to the benefits of civilized life. He had little opportunity to implement fully this vision, however, as American interest in the fur trade following the War of 1812 led to a public clamor against government involvement in private enterprise. Congress responded by abolishing the factory system in May 1822. ... McKenney is credited with helping secure passage of two major pieces of legislation, the Indian Civilization Act of 1819, which provided the first federal funding in support of Indian education, and the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which was designed to relocate all eastern Indian tribes to new homes west of the Mississippi River. A direct result of the Indian Removal Act was the tragic "Trail of Tears" involving the forced transfer of the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminoles from the southeastern United States to Indian Territory (Okla.) in the 1830s. ... A pioneer in the study of North American ethnology, McKenney used federal funds to assemble in his war department office a virtual "archives of the American Indian," a large collection of books, manuscripts, artifacts, and paintings that constituted the first museum in Washington, D.C. The core of the collection was a gallery of some 150 portraits of prominent Indian men and women, most of them painted by Washington artist Charles Bird King during official visits to Washington. The portraits were later published as part of a mammoth lithography project that McKenney conceived of and launched, with the aid of writer James Hall, after his dismissal from the Office of Indian Affairs. Known as the History of the Indian Tribes of North America, the publication features the portraits and biographies of 120 Indian men and women from McKenney's collection. The entire archive eventually ended up at the Smithsonian Institution, where the portraits were destroyed by fire in 1865. & &

      [Bookseller: Rodger Friedman Rare Book Studio]
Last Found On: 2012-02-01          Check current availability from:     Biblio


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