Indigenous Portraits Unbound

Reflections on iconic images of resilience.

Take a closer look at one of the most imposing, influential, and expensive books published in the United States before the Civil War, Thomas McKenney and James Hall's History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Published between 1837 and 1844, the book features 120 portraits of Indigenous people, mostly tribal leaders visiting Washington, DC, as part of official delegations to the federal government. In this exhibition, you can view the work as it is rarely seen, in its original form of publication: in twenty fascicles, large pamphlets intended to be dismantled and reassembled into more permanent bindings by their purchasers. While the fascicles were produced and distributed in a time of great upheaval, dispossession, and conflict for Indigenous peoples in the United States, many of the images they contain have remained a source of intertribal solidarity and pride.


  • Will Hansen, Roger and Julie Baskes Vice President for Collections and Library Services, and Curator of Americana


Tuesday – Thursday
10am – 7pm

Friday and Saturday
10am – 5pm

Admission for Newberry exhibitions is free. No advance registration required.

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