QUESTIONS ON HORAN'S REPRINT OF MCKENNEY-HALL
George Fuld wrote in with a few questions on the Horan book:
1. "I have checked the Horan edition of 120 plates, and only
27 of the 120 contain Indian Peace Medals. Is there this
much difference between the original 150 plates and the
Horan edition? [Editor's note: Fuld later wrote: "I must
apologize--upon further checking of the 128 Horan plates,
actually 41 show Peace Medals!! Sorry for misinforming
2. Incidentally, I can't find Horan's reference to McKenney
collecting Peace medals -- only a long reference to the
John Q. Adams issue. Did I miss something?
3. Are the original 150 plate set available on the internet???"
Your Editor investigated the internet question, and found hundreds
of references to McKenney-Hall, but these lead mostly to dealers
peddling copies of the prints. For those on a tight budget, you can
buy a pack of 52 playing cards featuring the prints. One of the
few noncommercial web sites featuring the prints is the
Smithsonian Museum of American Art, which has six McKinney
George's first two questions are addressed in the following
note from Jan Monroe:
"I am not an expert on the original McKenney-Hall plates.
However, I have looked at a set of books produced in the
1930's as I recall that showed about the same percentage of
medals (i.e.about the 27 mentioned.) The Horan book does
show many prints of indians wearing peace medals.
The Asylum article on the McKenney prints and books
published years ago should provide more information for
George Fuld as it was a great piece of research.
[Editor's note: Jan is referring to an article by Don Groves
in the Autumn 1995 issue of The Asylum (Vol XIII, No. 4,
pp19-21, titled "North American Indians - McKenney
On Page 86-87 of Horan is the section on the ordering of the
peace medals from the US Mint by McKenney for the Indians.
On page 66 the book states that "McKenney toured the
countryside on horseback, collecting curiosities from an Indian
Mound for his archives and interviewing survivors of the Indian
and Revolutionary wars and the war of 1812." .... Before the
expedition was finished bales and boxes of Indian costumes,
bones, jewelry, beadwork, pipes, medals...had been sent back
It is not really clear if "his archives" is McKenneys personal
collection or if it was for the Federal Government. On page 62
the book states that "The archives and Indian Portrait gallery
were now part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs..."
The general tone of the book is that McKenney was very
interested in the Peace Medals and was actually the individual
that convinced the War department to issue Indian Peace medals.
The War department thought they were too expensive.
McKenney reviewed the models prepared by Furst of
Presidents Madison, Monroe, and Adams.
McKenney was in a position to purchase copies of medals if he
wished and his employees distributed the medals to the Indians.
McKenney wrote to the Secretary of War in 1825 outlining the
history of the Indian Peace Medals.
Given this history and his interest I believe that it is quite
likely that he did have at least a few Indian Peace Medals
although the book does not mention a personal collection.
It is unclear from the Red Jacket discussion as to whether
he intended to purchase the Red Jacket medal for himself or
the war department. After rereading the text I may have
assumed too much.
At the time of his death McKenney was impoverished and if
he had a collection of medals it would have been sold to help
pay for the publishing of his book or his living expenses.
McKenney was a great man and a true public servant who
accomplished great things but died with little recognition for
Wayne Homren, Editor
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