Volume I of The North American Indian in origianl shipping case and paper jacket from 1907.
“I like a man who attempts the impossible.”
THE COLLECTION The Harriman Collection is beautiful, unique, and unprecedented. The core of the Collection is the finest, most important stand-alone set of Volumes from The North American Indian in existence. Also included is an extremely rare collection of ephemera, books, and original photographs relating to Harriman, Curtis, and to The North American Indian. The Collection embodies the essence of Curtis’ thirty-year career and no similar collection exists, nor could it be replicated. The material that complements the Volumes adds depth, richness, and context for the Volumes. For a discerning collector this represents an unparalleled and sophisticated opportunity. THE HARRIMAN VOLUMES The Harriman Set of Volumes is undoubtedly the most important Set of Volumes from The North American Indian that will ever be available for private ownership. It is stunning: the condition is near pristine, the provenance is extraordinary and it is printed on the rarest, most expensive etching stock that was available. Edward H. Harriman, Edward Curtis, J.P. Morgan, and President Theodore Roosevelt were the four key individuals in the realization of the historic North American Indian project. This is the only one of those Sets in private hands, and the only one that exists as a stand-alone set of Volumes. The text volumes are the distilled essence of Curtis’ entire career. They incorporate over 1,500 hand-printed illustrations, selected from over 40,000 negatives. Fully two-thirds of all the photographs in The North American Indian are in the Volumes. Unlike the portfolios, the Volumes also contain thousands of pages of
On Cover: Highlights of The Harriman Collection including Volumes 1–20 of The North American Indian.
unique and invaluable ethnographic information, as well as, extensive transcriptions of Native languages and sacred music. The Volumes contain many classic, and many “undiscovered” images. Additionally, there are several genres of images not found in the Portfolios (i.e. the Navaho Medicine Man series, hand-colored illustrations; maps, and drawings.) The Volumes are easily accessed and enjoyed; they are “user friendly” and offer a refined and sophisticated option to a twenty Volume, twenty Portfolio Set. This Set remains in extraordinary condition, has virtually no signs of handling and it remains in its original, unrestored state. For anyone with a connoisseur level interest in Curtis, ethnography, photography, the American Indian, or the American West, this is the ne plus ultra of fine books. EDWARD H. HARRIMAN AND FAMILY Edward Henry Harriman (1848-1909), visionary and greatest Railroad magnate of his era, rose from modest beginnings to become one of the five wealthiest individuals in the world. A grade school dropout, he enjoyed a meteoric rise on Wall Street before turning his energies to the railroads at age thirty-three. He was the embodiment of the American dream and he used his wealth wisely. In 1899 he organized and financed the most ambitious scientific expedition of the 19th century: The Harriman Alaskan Expedition. Curtis was selected as the official Expedition photographer. This was a critical step in Curtis’ career as he met and worked with many of the greatest scientific luminaries of his day, including George Bird Grinnell, and he produced over 5,000 individual negatives. His trip with Grinnell to Montana in 1900, to live with and photo-
The Harriman Set of Volumes from The North American Indian with custom slip cases.
“It’s such a big dream, I can’t see it all.”
graph the Blackfeet and Piegan, was the fundamental watershed experience of Curtis’ career and he began, in earnest, the project that consumed him for the next thirty years: The North American Indian. Thus, but for his inclusion in Harriman’s Alaska Expedition Curtis may never have created The North American Indian. After Harriman’s death, Mary W. Harriman, the sole heir to his fortune became a major philanthropist, instrumental in a wide variety of causes. Upon her death, the Harriman Set of Volumes passed to the Mary W. Harriman Foundation. Over the years the complimentary Portfolios were dispersed. Harriman’s son, Averell, became Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Britain, the Secretary of Commerce, and Governor of New York. The family has had a most dramatic and positive impact on the world, a legacy which continues today. TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION CURTIS, Edward S. (1868-1952), The North American Indian being a Series of Volumes Picturing and Describing the Indians of the United States and Alaska. Edited by Fredrick Webb Hodge. Foreword by Theodore Roosevelt. Field Research conducted under the patronage of J. Pierpont Morgan. [Cambridge, Mass.], 1907-1930. 20 VOLUMES: Text, Quarto (313 x 239 mm): In publisher’s original brown half morocco leather, gilt and buckrum, top edges gilt, others uncut, stamp-signed by H. Blackwell, master bookbinder. Each volume individually housed in a custom, hand-made slipcase. Each numbered 308 on verso of the half-title page.
—Edward S. Curtis
COMPLETE: Text volumes: 1,511 hand-gravure printed illustrations, comprising 1,505 photogravures, 4 maps and 2 diagrams. Over three thousand pages of text and transcriptions of language and music. Hand letterpress printed on hand-made paper. Hand-bound. LIMITED EDITION, number 308 of 500 proposed Sets (of which only 214 were originally subscribed to, and only 272 sets ultimately produced), this copy on India Proof Paper (“tissue”) tipped-in and Dutch Van Gelder. Volume I, signed by Edward S. Curtis and dated 1907. The exact number of original subscriber Sets printed on tissue is not known but it is estimated to be fewer than 15. Edward Curtis, J.P. Morgan, E.H. Harriman and the King of England were among the few who received this premium version. Probably the finest and most important complete set of Volumes of Curtis’s monumental work, The North American Indian, ever to be available. PROVENANCE: Edward H. Harriman Family Mary W. Harriman Foundation To the current owner in 1999. CONDITION: This Set is in extraordinary condition. The bindings are remarkably fresh and bright. The gilt letter and details remain warm and lustrous. Custom, hand-made slipcases are in near pristine condition. THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN PROJECT This complete original subscriber’s set of volumes of Curtis’ monumental work, The North American Indian, perhaps the most expensive undertaking in the history of fine book making and one of the most com-
Volumes 1â€“20 of The North American Indian
prehensive ethnographic records of the Native tribes of North America, or of any tribal people. According to noted author and critic A.D. Coleman, it is “an absolutely unmatched masterpiece of visual anthropology, and one of the most thorough, extensive and profound photographic works of all time.” The North American Indian took nearly three decades to complete, and exceeded its budget by many times over. It is estimated that the entire project cost over $30,000,000 in today’s dollars (and $200,000,000 relative to GDP) and involved over one hundred people employed or engaged by Curtis and an estimated 10,000 Native People. Produced in lavish style under the patronage of J. Pierpont Morgan, and containing text, imagery, and extensive anthropological information that are found nowhere else. PRINT, BOOK, AND EPHEMERA COLLECTION This collection comprises thirty-three historic objects, many of which are rare or unique. The Collection includes a very rare full-sheet Curtis self-portrait, platinum photograph of Harriman by Curtis, the threevolume Harriman Alaska Expedition Set, numerous vintage photographs from the Harriman Alaska Expedition and The North American Indian, and several other rare and important pieces of Curtis ephemera. This collection was created during forty years of active collecting of Curtis material.
SUMMARY The Harriman Collection is rare, unique, pedigreed, intelligently curated, and beautiful. It is in superb condition and printed on the rare and highly sought-after India Proof Paper (“tissue”). Only J.P. Morgan, Edward Harriman, the King of England and a handful of others paid the substantial premium necessary to get the tissue edition of The North American Indian. Originally subscribed to by Harriman and/or his wife, the Set went from the Harriman family by bequest, to Mrs. Harriman’s Foundation (the Mary W. Harriman Foundation). In 1999, through private sale, the set went to the current owner, Christopher Cardozo. At that time a complete set of handmade, custom slipcases were created to house the Volumes. Since 1999, the Collection has remained essentially untouched. The accompanying collection of vintage photography and ephemera is unique and adds a significant and important educational, contextual, and aesthetic component to the over-all collection. The sets of Volumes (with Portfolios) originally owned by Curtis, Morgan, and Roosevelt are in public institutions. Only the Harriman Set remains in private hands. It is the only one that exists as a stand-alone Set of Volumes and undoubtedly the only one that will ever be available for private ownership.
“...I regard the work you have done as one of the most valuable works which any American can now do. Your photographs stand by themselves, both in their wonderful artistic merit and in their value as historical documents. You are now making a record of the lives of the Indians of our country which it would be the greatest misfortune, from the standpoint alike of the ethnologist and the historian, to leave unmade...” —President Theodore Roosevelt
The Harriman Collection Highlights With vintage portraits of Edward Curtis and Edward Harriman.
Details from the Harriman Set of The North American Indian
Selected Vintage Curtis Ephemera
Volumes 1 - 3 of the Harriman Alaska Expedition By Edward H. Harriman
Serpentine Glacier, Harriman Fiord (Harriman Expedition) Edward Curtis Vintage Photogravure
Bergs Stranded At Low Tide, Near Muir Lake Vintage Photogravure
Resurrected Forest Near Muir Glacier Edward Curtis Vintage Photogravure
Edward Curtis, 1899 Vintage Gelatin Silver
â€œTaken as a whole, the work of Edward Curtis is a singular achievement. Never before have we seen the Indians of North America so close to the origins of their humanity, their sense of themselves in the world, their innate dignity and self-possession.â€? â€”N. Scott Momaday
Pulitzer Prize Winning Native American Author
Selected Harriman Reference Ephemera
“Curtis’ portraits are, quite simply, superb. Compositionally, they have a classic purity, simplicty, and strength which seems timeless.” —A.D. Coleman
Photography Critic, formerly of the New York Times
On Back Cover: Volumes 1–20 of The North American Indian with vintage self-portrait of Edward S. Curtis
Volumes 1â€“20 of The North American Indian With vintage portrait of Edward Harriman and The Harriman Expedition.