Make your own free website on

George CatlinCatlin, George - Famous authority on the life and customs of the American Indian.  Catlin was the first great painter of the Indian, and he not only made the Red Man renowned on canvas but in literature as well.

Catlin was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1796, and was educated as a lawyer.  He practiced two years in Philadelphia, but preferring art he gave up practice and set up a portrait studio in New York.  Believing like many that the American Indian was disappearing, he decided to spend his life painting them and writing about them.

He lived among Indians, learning their languages, habits, customs, and making many notes and studies for paintings.  In 1841 he published the Manners, Customs, and Conditions of the North American Indians in  two volumes, illustrated with 300 engravings.  Three years later he brought out The North American Portfolio with 25 plates of Indian hunting scenes and amusements in the Rockies and on the Plains.

His great collection of paintings is now in the Catlin Gallery of the National Museum in Washington D. C.

Catlin first brought to attention the quarry in southwest Minnesota where the Indians obtained the red pipestone used in making their sacred calumets.  Indians believed this stone represented living flesh and blood.  It now bears the name catlinite in honor of Catlin.

Catlin died in Jersey City, New Jersey, December 22, 1872.

Related Information within this Site
[ Calumet ][ Mandan ]