Cover for Coward: Indians Illustrated: The Image of Native Americans in the Pictorial Press. Click for larger image
Ebook Information

Indians Illustrated

The Image of Native Americans in the Pictorial Press

Sketching the form and figure of how whites came to see and understand Native Americans

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Americans swarmed to take in a raft of new illustrated journals and papers. Engravings and drawings of "buckskinned braves" and "Indian princesses" proved an immensely popular attraction for consumers of publications like Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's Weekly.

In Indians Illustrated, John M. Coward charts a social and cultural history of Native American illustrations--romantic, violent, racist, peaceful, and otherwise--in the heyday of the American pictorial press. These woodblock engravings and ink drawings placed Native Americans into categories that drew from venerable "good" Indian and "bad" Indian stereotypes already threaded through the culture. Coward's examples show how the genre cemented white ideas about how Indians should look and behave--ideas that diminished Native Americans' cultural values and political influence. His powerful analysis of themes and visual tropes unlocks the racial codes and visual cues that whites used to represent--and marginalize--native cultures already engaged in a twilight struggle against inexorable westward expansion. Fascinating and provocative, Indians Illustrated reopens an overlooked chapter in media and cultural history.

"Coward provides a fascinating look at how powerful the visual image can be on the development of cultural attitudes."--Jhistory

"Rich in context and beautifully written. Other scholars have considered the stereotyping of Native Americans, but this book links the phenomenon to journalism/media history and explores the cultural significance of these widely circulated images."--Janice Hume, author of Popular Media and the American Revolution: Shaping Collective Memory

"John Coward provides a comprehensive, well-documented overview of the development of the visual clues that support Manifest Destiny and racial stereotypes of American Indians. No one has provided more insight or made such a detailed study of Native American images in the press. This is a one-of-a-kind book."--William E. Huntzicker, author of The Popular Press, 18331865

"If there is any story in the narrative of American history that exemplifies our reliance on stereotypes, it must be pictorial representations of Native Americans in the late 19th century press. In Indians Illustrated, John Coward explores this story with thoroughness, insight, and grace. By also including a wealth of well-chosen images, he helps explain not only the details of cultural production but a larger rendering of 'otherness' in America."--David Abrahamson, Northwestern University

John M. Coward is an associate professor of communication at the University of Tulsa. He is the author of The Newspaper Indian: Native American Identity in the Press, 182090.

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