The E-Sylum:  Volume 4, Number 9, February 25, 2001, Article 7


   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 
         Don G."] 

   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 
   Hall images: 

   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 
    & Hall." 

   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 
   to Washington." 

   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 
   his accomplishments." 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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