"I took particular pleasure from your note
in the last E-Sylum on the above subject because of long
personal association with original lithographs, large and small
sized, from the McKenney and Hall portfolios and other
My parents began collecting these so-called "Indian prints" in
the 1930s and managed to assemble about sixty of them by
the 1970s when they divided and gifted them to me and my
three siblings. We each inherited about fifteen, supplemented
by a few which we purchased ourselves along the way. Most
of these have now been handed down to the third generation.
I have kept my favorite trio which happen to be among the
most popular of the entire portfolio: Red Jacket,
"MA-KA-TAI-ME-SHE-KIA-KIAH" or Black Hawk a
Saukie Brave", and Keokuk "Chief of the Sacs and Foxes"
depicted with his young son (the only father-son combo in the
series). All, including Keokuk's son, are shown wearing
presidential peace medals.
Red Jacket's medal is identified in your note as one of President
Washington dated 1792. Black Hawk's appears to be of
President Andy Jackson who brought him to Washington as a
sort of paroled prisoner where his portrait in a red feather
headdress was painted by Charles Bird King in 1837. (There
is a later portrait of a more mature Chief Black Hawk wearing
a blue coat, not in the McKenney-Hall portfolio but sometimes
available in original lithograph.) The presidential portrait on the
peace medals worn by Keokuk and his son does not look like
Jackson's, as on Black Hawk's medal, though their likenesses
were painted by King in Washington the same year, 1837.
This was Jackson's last year in office and Martin Van Buren's
first, so perhaps their medals were awarded by the latter.
The details of these medals are quite unclear on the original
lithographs and even more so on the mediocre reproductions
in Horan's 1972 reprint. Only historical research into the actual
presenter and date of presentation of the medals can resolve
such questions. Hopefully someone will undertake this
identification for ALL the peace medals in this important series
of portraits -- of which I counted fifty-three, rather than forty-nine,
if you count the three medals ostentatiously sported by
Naw-Kaw and the three by the "Winnebago Orator".
I might point out that while these lithographs are attributed to
Thomas L. McKenney, Superintendent of Indian Affairs under
four presidents up to and including Jackson, and his historian
colleague James Hall, they only reproduced prints of paintings
most of which had been made by King and his pupil George
Cooke in Washington in the 1830s; or copied by King from
original paintings done earlier by James O. Lewis at the sites
of treaty councils with exotic French placenames such as Butte
des Morts ("Hill of the Dead"), Fond du Lac ("Bottom of the
Lake", i.e. the southern end of Lake Winnebago) and Portage,
all in eastern or southern Wisconsin. I was born and raised
between the first two named places, longer ago than I would
care to admit, and grew up in awe of the memory of many of
More later when I find the time to comment further, as Red
Jacket, Black Hawk and Keokuk & Son beam down on me."
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