A Son of the Forest. The Experience of William Apes, a Native of the Forest.

New York: Published by the author. G.F. Bruce Printer, 1831.

Price: $1,750.00


About the item

Second Edition, Revised and Corrected. Frontispiece portrait. 214 [final page misnumbered 114] pp. 1 vols. 12mo. Contemp half red morocco, small loss to spine. Sabin 1733; Field 43; Americana Imprints 5791.

Item #329783

Second and best edition, after the first of 1829, of this rare autobiography by a Pequot Indian, and the first such work truly written by an American Indian. Other Indian autobiographies appeared before this one, but they were all actually written by a ghost writer. Some of these earlier autobiographies were even written in quasi-Indian dialects, meant to imitate how the subject was thought to speak. Apes, an educated Christian preacher of the Pequot tribe, was born in Colereign, Massachusetts in 1798 and was descended from King Philip of the Pequot tribe. His frank account of his childhood in Massachusetts and Connecticut and later experiences as a missionary among the Indians of Maine and Rhode Island provide an excellent view of northeastern Indian life of the period. The appendix (pp.115-214) is comprised of a general account of the origins and character of the Indians of North America.

"A Son of the Forest deserves attention as one of the earliest - if not THE earliest - autobiographies written and published by a Native American. This means not only that Apes had few, if any, models for his endeavor but also that one may well see in his book the articulation of issues of identity and the formulation of models of representation characteristic of later Native American autobiographies" - Barry O'Connell, editor, On Our Ground: The Complete Writings of William Apes, A Pequot.