Both authors ... saw their book as a way of preserving an accurate visual record of a rapidly disappearing culture. The text, which was written by Hall based on information supplied by McKenney, takes the form of a series of biographies of leading figures amongst the Indian nations, followed by a general history of the North American Indians. The work is now famous for its color plate portraits of the chiefs, warriors and squaws of the various tribes, faithful copies of original oils by Charles Bird King painted from life in his studio in Washington (McKenney commissioned him to record the visiting Indian delegates) or worked up by King from the watercolors of the young frontier artist, James Otto Lewis. All but four of the original paintings were destroyed in the disastrous Smithsonian fire of 1865, so their appearance in this work preserves what is probably the best likeness of many of the most prominent Indian leaders of the early 19th century. -- Reese.
The publications of the Hakluyt Society (founded in 1846) made available edited (and sometimes translated) early accounts of exploration. The first series, which ran from 1847 to 1899, consists of 100 books containing published or previously unpublished works by authors from Christopher Columbus to Sir Francis Drake, and covering voyages to the New World, to China and Japan, to Russia and to Africa and India. This 1897 volume contains the first English translation of Jens Munk's Navigatio Septentrionalis, his account of the Danish expedition of 1619-1620 in search of a North-West Passage to Asia. They reached Hudson's Bay and explored it, producing the first map to show the whole area. However, they were poorly prepared for the conditions there, and almost all the crew died from cold, hunger or disease. They returned to Denmark the following year, and although another expedition was planned, it did not take place.
Atlas includes: Map of a reconnoissaince(sic) between Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri River, and the Great Salt Lake on the territory of Utah, made in 1849 and 1850 under orders of Col. J.J. Abert, Chief of the Topographical Bureau, by Capt. Howard Stansbury ... aided by Lieut. J.W. Gunnison ... and Albert Carrington ; Drawn by Lieut. Gunnison and Charles Preuss. 173 cm x 76 cm. Museum measurements: 68 x 30 inches