TIXIER, VICTOR. 1815-1885.
Voyage aux prairies Osages, Louisiane et Missouri, 1839-40. Clermont-Ferrand: Perol. Paris: Roret, 1844.
260, [2 glossary], [2 contents] pp. Half-title. 5 lithographed plates, 4 of which depict Osage and are printed in sepia. 8vo (227 x 138 mm). Original printed wrappers. Custom green quarter morocco clamshell box, spine gilt to style. Infrequent pale dampstain at gutter margin, some spotting to a few leaves, wrappers a bit soiled and slightly chipped (affecting presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed and signed by the author on the upper wrapper. Victor Tixier was a young medical student in Paris when he interrupted his studies for a sojourn on the prairies. "With two French companions and James De Berty Trudeau, grandson of Zenon Trudeau, lieutenant-governor of the Illinois country under the Spanish regime, Tixier traveled up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, up the Missouri River to Lexington, Missouri, and then overland to the Osage villages in southeastern Kansas. In June the visitors traveled to the western prairies with their Osage hosts for the annual summer buffalo hunt ... [Tixier] was a careful, articulate, and generally objective observer, interested in everything about his hosts and their way of life. His friendship with the well-connected Trudeau won him entry into the inner circles of the old French families of Louisiana and Missouri, as well as the leading families of the Osage. Although his visit was brief, he immersed himself in Osage life and produced a vividly detailed narrative of his experiences and observations among them. He described Osage villages, the dwellings and their occupants, Pierre Papin's trading post and the life of a post trader, as well as customs of Osage daily life such as foodways, rules of hospitality, dress, gender roles, amusements, and fishing and hunting methods. He discussed at some length Osage medical practices, political structure, religious rituals and beliefs, warfare with the Pawnee, the place of mixed-bloods within the tribe, and the organization and conduct of the summer buffalo hunt. As detailed and comprehensive as a trained ethnologist's report, Tixier's description of Osage life remains an invaluable portrait of the people at that moment in their history" (Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture). Tixier returned to France to complete his studies and become a physician, he inscribed this book for a fellow doctor (name illegible), with "affectueux hommages." Graff 4159; Howes T276; Monaghan 1406; Rader 3139; Streeter sale 1810; Wagner-Camp 114.
Acquisition: purchased from William Reese Company, 1999, $5,000.