Medicine Painter: George Catlin on the Upper Missouri, 1832.  (Narrative: Page 1)

George Catlin was the first artist to document the Indian tribes of the Upper Missouri. His Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians is an important source of ethnographic information. This exhibit traces Catlin’s route on the Upper Missouri trip of 1832. It features a selection of images from a copy of Letters and Notes in the Archives & Rare Books Department. These images also appear in George Catlin: The Printed Works, the first publication of the University of Cincinnati Digital Press.

[Throughout this Exhibit, click on any thumbnail image to see a larger image.] Map of 1832 Upper Missouri Trip. ŠUCDP 1997. University of Cincinnati Libraries. Map of 1832 Upper Missouri Trip of George Catlin. From: Catlin. Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians. London: 1842. Archives & Rare Books Department, University Libraries, University of Cincinnati.
In 1832, Catlin traveled up the Missouri River from St. Louis to the mouth of the Yellowstone River, a distance of approximately 2,000 miles. He was a man with a mission. It was his intention to document a vanishing race. Steamboat and Public Landing. ŠUCDP 1998. University of Cincinnati Libraries. Steamboat & Public Landing. Bill of Lading, 1835. Archives & Rare Books Department, University Libraries, University of Cincinnati.

The steamboat Yellow Stone was built in Louisville, Kentucky, during the winter of 1830-1831 for the American Fur Company. It was the first vessel constructed with the shallow draft required for navigating the Missouri River. In 1831, on its maiden voyage, the Yellow Stone succeeded in reaching Fort Tecumseh (later Fort Pierre, and now the vicinity of Pierre, South Dakota) before being stopped by low water. In 1832, the Yellow Stone reached Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone River, demonstrating the ability of steamboats to navigate the Missouri and rapidly transport large quantities of trade goods up and furs down the river.
 
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