Peace & Friendship
Indian Peace Medals
Museum catalog of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition of the Schermer Collection of Indian Peace Medals held January 26 to June 3, 2001. Presents historical background on the general use of peace medals in US-Indian relations. Peace medals were a primary means of recognizing Indian men of importance from about 1795 to 1850. After the Civil War, the use of medals changed and their importance greatly diminished. Medals documented include George Washington 1793, Thomas Jefferson 1801, James Madison 1809, James Monroe 1817, and many more. Images of the front and back of each medal is illustrated along with history such as material, number made, etc. A very nice reference on a topic that is not widely documented.
An 1831 quote from William Clark of the Lewis & Clark expedition illustrates the important role these medals served:
"I must beg leave to observe, that all western Tribes of Indians consider MEDALS of the bust of the President, one of the greatest marks of distinction which they can receive from the government and which is worn suspended from their neck as authority in important council with the white people, their negotiations with other tribes, in making themselves known to Strangers."
40 pp ~ illustrated — ©2001