Dick Johnson submitted these notes on the Edward Warren Sawyer medals of American Indians. Thanks!
Kudos to the American Numismatic Society for placing the images of the Sawyer Indian galvano medals in their collection on the internet, as mentioned in last week's E-Sylum.
However there is a lot more to the story not mentioned by ANS in their press release. .
Edward Warren Sawyer (1876-1932) traveled to the American West on at least three occasions. He lived with 13 native Indian tribes to gain their confidence to prepare bas-relief clay images of Indian Chiefs, later lesser tribal members.
By 1907 he exhibited five of these portraits at New York's National Academy of Design and exhibited nine at the 1910 International Exhibition of Contemporary Medals at ANS. These galvano casts were made by Henri Weil at a very young Medallic Art Company.
In 1912 Sawyer deposited 31 models with Henri Weil before he left for Paris. I assume the instruction was to make the galvano casts and ship these to the Smithsonian Institution. These were published in the Catalogue of the ...Numismatic Collection of the Mint of the United States by Thomas Comparette. In 1913 the photographs of these 31 galvano medals was deposited for copyright at the Library of Congress.
The collection at the ANS was acquired in 1940. I have published records of 38 different portraits, 28 at both ANS and Smithsonian. ANS has five that the Smithsonian doesn't have; the Smithsonian has four that the ANS doesn't have. There is an early 1904 portrait that neither has.
It is unknown how many are in private collections. Thus this is a series that no one -- public or private -- has them all. I did not catalog the galvanos when I cataloged the medals at Medallic Art. I do remember, however, seeing one Sawyer portrait plaster in oversize (about 14-inch). Perhaps all Sawyer's original models were this size. If so, Henri Weil would have had to make a wax intermediate reduction
For more information you are invited to search on the internet for MEDALBLOG SAWYER'S INDIANS. I wrote this article in 2012 for the new management of Medallic Art Co.
To read the Dick's MedalBlog article, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ANS PUBLISHES EDWARD SAWYER’S NATIVE AMERICANS MEDALS ONLINE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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