Washington D.C. Government Printing Office, 1897. Fifteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1893-94, John Wesley Powell, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1897, 11.5 x 8.5 inches, 366 pp.
Dark olive green boards with gilt stamped illustration of an Indigenous person in a feathered headdress to front, gilt stamped lettering to spine, and blind stamped border to front and back boards. Newspaper clipping from an 1898 paper named “The Sun” laid in to first free endpapers; the clipping is of an article titled “Gala Day at Columbia”, and recounts the 144th commencement ceremonies. A paragraph about cash prizes awarded for best books published in archaeology, ethnology, and philology is framed and underlined in black ink. Spine and all corners bumped and rubbed; moderate scuffing to front and light scuffing to back board; front and top edge of text block and endpapers foxed. Good condition.
The United States Congress established the Bureau of Ethnology in 1879. Directed by surveyor, geologist, and U.S. Army Major John Wesley Powell, the Bureau collected European-American knowledge about Indigenous nations, motivated by the false “vanishing race” theory that Indigenous cultures and ways of life were naturally fading out of existence – though in reality they were being displaced by the westward expansion of the United States government and European-American settlers. The Bureau of Ethnology gathered thousands of photographs, illustrations, and other documentation of Indigenous cultures until it merged with other divisions of the Smithsonian Institute in the 1960s.
John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) was an American geologist, U.S. Army soldier, surveyor and explorer. He is most famous for his 1869 geographic expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers, which resulted in thorough cartographic and scientific documentation of the rivers and surrounding canyon country, including the Grand Canyon. Good. Item #888