The collection consists of plates from Portraits of Distinguished Indians from Several Tribes Who Visited Washington in 1837. Baltimore: Edward Weber &: Co., 1842. The complete work was issued in a large folio containing 5 lithographs depicting a total of 48 figures. The collection contains one complete set of all 5 plates (Plate V is in two parts) and duplicates of Plates I, III, and IV. The collection does not have the title page for the volume. The complete set of plates has been laminated.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
Ferdinand Pettrich grew up in the city of Dresden, Germany, and apprenticed to his father Franz Johann Pettrich, a court sculptor for the king of Saxony. When he was twenty-one, he traveled to Rome to study with the internationally known Danish sculptor and teacher Albert B. Thorvaldsen. In 1835, Pettrich traveled to America with his wife and settled in Washington, where he modeled portrait busts of political figures and visiting Native Americans. In 1842 he was stabbed in his Washington studio and to recuperate moved to Brazil's warmer climate. He became the court sculptor for Emperor Dom Pedro II and carved monumental statues of the monarch and his court officials before returning to Europe. Pettrich settled in Rome where, after he presented his sculptures of Native Americans to the Museum of St. John Lateran, the Vatican honored him with a life-term papal pension.
NAA MS 4886
Lithographs of American Indians
The National Anthropological Archives holds Lantern slides of Ferdinand Pettrich sculptures related to Native Americans (Photo Lot 20).
The Smithsonian American Art Museum holds sculptures by Pettrich.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Works of art
MS 4886 Plates from Portraits of Distinguished Indians from Several Tribes Who Visited Washington in 1837, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Hair is worn long. Sketch shows him in uniform, with silver band on arm. He wears the silver medal presented by the United States to chiefs. Inscribed twice in St Memin's handwriting "Payouska Chef des Grands Osages."
See New York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin, April 1928, "The St Memin Indian Portraits," by Luke Vincent Lockwood, Member American Antiquarian Society. (Figure 1).