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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe, 1793-1864



  • Existence: 1793 - 1864


Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (March 28, 1793--December 10, 1864); born in 1793 in Guilderland, Albany County, New York; American geographer, geologist, and ethnologist, noted for his early studies of Native American cultures, as well as for his 1832 expedition to the source of the Mississippi River. He is also noted for his major six-volume study of American Indians in the 1850s; he served as a United States Indian agent for a period beginning in 1822 in Michigan, where he married Jane Johnston, mixed-race daughter of a prominent Scotch-Irish fur trader and Ojibwa mother, who was daughter of a war chief. She taught him the Ojibwe language and much about her maternal culture. They had several children, two of whom survived past childhood. She is now recognized as the first Native American literary writer in the United States. In 1846 the widower Schoolcraft was commissioned by Congress for a major study, known as Indian Tribes of the United States, which was published in six volumes from 1851-1857. He married again in 1847, to Mary Howard, from a slaveholding family in South Carolina. In 1860 she published an "anti-Tom novel," in response to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, and it was a bestseller. assigned in 1822 to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, as its first US Indian agent; elected to the legislature of the Michigan Territory, where he served from 1828 to 1832; After his territory for Indian Affairs was greatly increased in 1833, Schoolcraft and his wife Jane moved to Mackinac Island; When the Whig Party came to power in 1841, Schoolcraft lost his political position as Indian agent. He and Jane moved to New York.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft letter

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197230309640]
Identifier: MSS SC 1154
Scope and Contents

Handwritten letter to James A. Pearce, chairman of the U.S. Senate library, concerning publication and distribution of Schoolcraft's work "Indian Tribes."

Dates: 1850