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. Volumes 1-20. Together, 20 volumes on Japan vellum. Edited by Frederick Webb Hodge. Foreword by Theodore Roosevelt. Field Research conducted under the patronage of J. Pierpont Morgan. Large 4tos, 3/4 gilt-lettered leather; with the original interleaving tissue, bookplates from the original subscriber on front pastedowns; with 2 embossed library blind stamps, one on the title page of each volume, and a numeric hand stamp on that page verso; top edge gilt; original ribbon markers. Volume I with an additional photogravure portrait of Curtis on Japan tissue measuring 7 1/4x4 3/4 inches (18.4x12.1 cm.), with Curtis' bold signature and date 1909, in ink. Roth 36; Parr/Badger I 73; Hasselblad 48; Auer 94. set number 63 of 500 intended copies, of which approximatley 275 were bound; volume one signed by edward s. curtis and theodore roosevelt. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1907-1930
Estimate $250,000 - 350,000
With the bookplates of Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Woods Bliss, the original subscribers; to the Public Library, Charleston, West Virginia, with its blind stamp; to The Halsted Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan; to a Private Midwest Collector, in the early 1980s.
Robert Woods Bliss was a diplomat, art collector, philanthropist, and, with his wife Mildred, the founder of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington D.C. Bliss had a long and distinguished career in the Foreign Service, serving in Puerto Rico, St. Petersburg, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Paris, Sweden, Argentina and later in Washington D.C.
Mildred Bliss, well-traveled and interested in art, cultivated cultural and social circles wherever the Blisses were living. Their mutual passion for collecting, especially Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, led the Blisses to the transformation of Dumbarton Oaks from residence to museum, library, and research collection. Both of the Blisses served as avid cultural patrons throughout their lives--Robert as a trustee to numerous institutions and Mildred as a board member of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The property, and a large portion of the Blisses collection, was eventually donated to Harvard.