|Title||Opothle Yoholo - A Creek Chief|
|Artist||McKenney, Thomas L.|
|Medium||hand colored lithograph on paper|
|Dimensions||H-15 W-10.5 inches|
|Provenance||C. Dexter Jordan|
|Credit line||Gift of C. Dexter Jordan|
Opothle Yoholo was a leader of the Upper Creeks, fighting removal from the last of his people's ancestral land in Alabama but siding with the United States in the Creek War of 1836.
From 1824 to 1830, Thomas McKenney served as US Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Washington, DC, and during his tenure developed a government collection of portraits of prominent Native Americans who visited the city as delegates of their tribes. McKenney commissioned a well-known Washington portraitist, Charles Bird King, to paint the leaders of about twenty Native American tribes.
This print was published in History of the Indian Tribes of North America. In 1835, Thomas McKenney began work on this publication, illustrated with hand-colored prints based upon the portraits originally painted by Charles Bird King and copied by Charles Inman, as well as portraits by other artists. Each portrait is accompanied with a biography of the subject written by McKenney. Cincinnati lawyer James Hall added a long essay on the history of Native Americans.
It took nine years and a huge financial commitment for the entire work to be printed. Volume I was completed in 1836, published by the firm of Edward C. Biddle. In 1842, Volume II and a reissue of Volume I were published by Frederick W. Greenough, the successor firm of Biddle. The firm of D. Rice and A. N. Clark printed the final volume in 1844, as well as new issues of the first two volumes. The books' large size and expense led Rice and Clark to reissue the works in a smaller octavo size. Volume I of the octavo edition was completed in 1848, followed by Volume II in 1849 and Volume III in 1850. A second octavo was printed in 1854, followed by the third in 1855 and the fourth in 1858. Printing would continue until 1870, although some later issues were shortened to contain as few as 50 of the original 120 plates.
Charles Bird King