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James M. Stanley was born in Canandaigua, New York, January 17, 1814; died April 10, 1872. He moved to Michigan in 1835 and became a portrait painter in Detroit; two years later removed to Chicago.
About this time he visited the “Indian Country” in the vicinity of Fort Snelling, and there made many sketches. Returned to the eastern cities, where he spent several years, but in 1842 again went west and began his wanderings over the prairies far beyond the Mississippi, reaching Texas and New Mexico. His Buffalo Hunt on the Southwestern Prairies was made in 1845. From 1851 to 1863 Stanley lived in Washington, D. C., during which time he endeavored to have the Government purchase the many paintings which he had made of Indians and of scenes in the Indian country, but unfortunately he was not successful.
His pictures were hanging in the Smithsonian Building, and on January 24, 1865, when a large part of the building was ruined by fire, only five of his pictures escaped destruction, they being in a different part of the structure. The five are now in the National Museum, including the large canvas shown in plate 2.