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Western History Association awards 2005 Joan Paterson Kerr book award to Karl Bodmer's North American Prints

Posted: October 10, 2005

Karl Bodmer's North American Prints Offsite Link (University of Nebraska Press, 2005) will receive the 2005 Joan Paterson Kerr Book Award from the Western History Association (WHA). The award will be presented at the WHA's annual conference next week, October 13-16, 2005 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The book was edited by Brandon K. Ruud, with annotations by Marsha V. Gallagher and essays by Ron Tyler and Brandon K. Ruud.

Dr. Tyler, is a History Professor at UT Austin and the former Director of the Texas State Historical Association. Offsite Link Tyler contributed the introductory essay for the book. The award is presented every two years for the best illustrated book on the history of the American West. The editor of the book, Ruud, will receive $500. The Western History Association was founded in 1961 to promote the study of the North American West.

Karl Bodmer was a 22-year-old artist from Switzerland (1809-93) who accompanied the German scientist Prince Maximilian in 1832-34 on a trip into the interior regions of North America. Bodmer kept journals, drawings and watercolors of his experiences which were later translated into engravings to go with the text.

Some reviews of the book: "Bodmer . . . wandered with the prince for 13 months up the Missouri River, and the drawings and watercolors he made of what he saw . . . are the visual equivalent of Lewis and Clark's journals. As Ron Tyler points out in his introductory essay to the meticulously illustrated Karl Bodmer's North American Prints, edited by Brandon K. Ruud, Bodmer arrived at a time when Europeans, besotted with fantasies of James Fenimore Cooper, had no idea what Indians really looked like. This volume documents in rich detail the popular diffusion-by engravings and lithographs-of Bodmer's original designs."
New York Times Book Review, Holiday Gift Books List.

"These prints . . . are unmatched in their meticulous and sympathetic rendering of a magnificent yet altered culture."
Bookforum.

Related links:
Tyler is also featured in an article by Bryan Woolley in the Dallas Morning News Offsite Link from Oct. 4, 2005 about his latest project on bird's eye views of Texas towns.

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