St. Paul: Great Northern Railway, 1935. 1st Edition. Large quarto, publisher's red cloth over red paper-covered boards decoratively lettered in blue and white, yellow endpapers, original dust jacket decoratively printed in red, blue and white.
Striking art deco-style monograph on the Blackfeet Indian tribes of Montana, published by the Great Northern Railway to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Glacier National Park, and illustrated with 49 vivid color portraits of tribe members by German illustrator Winold Reiss. "[W]ith a firm belief in the exhaustless bounty of their loved grass-lands these practical folks lived each day for itself." The Blackfeet Nation, or Siksikaitsitapi, originally spanned a region of the North American west from Saskatchewan to Yellowstone, but their numbers were greatly reduced in the 19th century by smallpox and the overhunting of buffalo and beaver by white traders and trappers; by the time the US government bought the lands that would eventually become Glacier National Park from the Blackfeet in the 1880s, the buffalo population on which the tribes largely subsisted had all but disappeared. The Great Northern Railway, which had been instrumental in transcontinental expansion, sought to promote the American West as an unspoiled mythic frontier, and commissioned Reiss, an ardent and accomplished recorder of Native American life and customs, to illustrate a series of calendars, portfolios and other publications. With text by Montana politician and ethnographer Linderman, biographical sketches of Linderman and Reiss by Grace Stone Coates and Helen Appleton Reid respectively, and an index of plates. Corners gently bumped; unclipped dust jacket with two small nicks to top edge of upper panel. An exceptional copy of a fragile book. Item #658