Thursday, February 18, 2010

Indian Child Life - Edwin and Therese Deming (1899)

A quick detour today. I talked about scanning children's material last time, so I thought I'd put up a favorite old scan as an example of what I'm talking about.


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Indian Child Life (1899.Therese & Edwin Deming).cbr
Get the scan here.

This is an absolutely beautiful children's book written by Therese Deming and illustrated by her husband Edwin from 1899. Edwin was a contemporary and friend of Frederic Remington, and Edwin and Therese dedicated themselves to the study and celebration of Native American cultures. The stories are geared toward and often about children, and the art is done in a pastoral, colorful, and distinctly American style. This couple did a number of books in their careers, but I believe this is a fairly early example. Here's a link to post on the Demings by an excellent blogger that writes on a wide variety of interesting and important subjects.

http://prairiemary.blogspot.com/2005/08/eight-bears-and-blackft.html

There's also some mention of the artist to be found here:

http://www.askart.com/askart/artist.aspx?artist=7521

Since scanning this book, I stumbled across a very nice article on Edwin Deming by his wife on pages 23-28 in The Mentor (one of my favorite vintage mags, I'll post on it soon!) from April 1926 which you can get here.

My kids came home from their school Thanksgiving parties with feather headbands made from construction paper and Chief and Princess necklaces. Let's not let these baubles be the only way our kids think of Indian life and cultures. Artists like the Demings and Edward Curtis recognized the value in "capturing" the lifestyle of the tribes at the turn of the century as their traditional way of life was waning. Indian myths and folktales have many valuable qualities concerning our relationship to each our families, our community, and our place in the natural world- I know I appreciate very much that my mother used to read them to me, so I am making an effort to read them to my own children.

Samples! Back to the periodicals next time, but perhaps this post might some of you out there to ponder what special children's book you might have on your shelf you might have to share for posterity.



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P.S. I couldn't bring myself to cut this beautiful and beautifully crafted book, so excuse a little spine shadow and the close crop! They don't make 'em like they used to, this is one of the sturdiest and most beautiful books I've ever had the pleasure to own, and I plan on giving to one of my kids when they have their own some day. I still have the raw scans and might return to them for a different presentation sometime, but in the meantime, it looks a-ok as is.

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