Erdoes, Richard 1912–
Erdoes, Richard 1912–
PERSONAL: Born July 7, 1912, in Vienna, Austria; son of Richard (an opera singer) and Maria Erdoes; married Elsie Schulhof (an artist), 1940 (deceased); married Jean Sternbergh (an artist), June 24, 1951 (died July 27, 1995); children: (second marriage) David Richard, Eric Peter, Jacqueline. Education: Attended Berlin Academy of Art; Academy for Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria; and Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. Politics: "Non-phony liberal." Religion: "Father Jewish, mother Roman Catholic, one aunt Mohammedan; take part in Indian ceremonies." Hobbies and other interests: Skiing, climbing, wandering on Indian reservations
CAREER: Illustrator, muralist, photographer, and writer. Owner of Studio 46 (graphic arts studio). Lecturer at Yale University, Long Island University, Princeton University, Dartmouth Collage, City College of the City University of New York, Pratt Institute, and New School for Social Research. Has had one-man and group shows of his work. Active in American Indian civil rights movements.
MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Society of Illustrators, Artists Equity.
AWARDS, HONORS: Awards from American Institute of Graphic Arts, Viennese Museum of Applied Arts, Art Directors Club of New York, and Society of Illustrators; American Book Award, Before Columbus Foundation, 1991, for Lakota Woman.
AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR
A Picture History of Ancient Rome, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1962.
The Green Tree House, Dodd (New York, NY), 1965.
The Pueblo Indians, Funk & Wagnell (New York, NY), 1967.
Policemen around the World, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1967.
Peddlers and Vendors around the World, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1967.
Ireland: Bewitching Wonderland, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1968.
Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (biography), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1971.
Musicians around the World, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1971.
The Sun Dance People: The Plains Indians, Their Past and Present, Random House (New York, NY), 1972.
Yuwipi (novel), Avon (New York, NY), 1977.
The Native Americans: Navajos, edited by Marvin L. Reiter, Sterling (New York, NY), 1978.
1,000 Remarkable Facts about Booze, Rutledge (New York, NY), 1981.
Native Americans: The Sioux, edited by Marvin L. Reiter, Sterling (New York, NY), 1982.
Native Americans: The Pueblos, edited by Reiter, Sterling (New York, NY), 1983.
James Joyce, The Cat and the Devil, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1964.
Theodore Le Sieg (Ted Geisel), Come Over to My House, Random House Beginner Books (New York, NY), 1966.
Alexander King, Memoirs of a Certain Mouse, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1966.
Barbara Shook Hazen, What's Inside?, Lion Press (New York, NY), 1968.
Helen Hoke, The Big Book of Jokes, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1971.
Silvio A. Bedini, The Spotted Stones, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1978.
(And editor) Tales from the American Frontier, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1991, reprinted as Legends and Tales of the American West, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Nancy Wood, Thunderwoman: A Mythic Novel of the Pueblos, Dutton Books (New York, NY), 1999.
(Photographer) Robert Burnette, The Tortured Americans, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1971.
The Rain Dance People: The Pueblo Indians, Their Past and Present, Knopf (New York, NY), 1976.
(Transcriber and editor) Lame Deer, Jenny Leading Cloud, Leonard Crow Dog, and others, The Sound of Flutes and Other Legends, illustrated by Paul Goble, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1976.
Saloons of the Old West, Knopf (New York, NY), 1979, reprinted, Gramercy Books (New York, NY), 1996.
(Selector and editor, with Alfonso Ortiz) American Indian Myths and Legends, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1984.
The Richard Erdoes Illustrated Treasury of Classic Unlaundered Limericks, introduction by Isaac Asimov, Balsam Press (New York, NY), 1984.
A.D. 1000: Living on the Brink of Apocalypse, Harper & Row (San Francisco, CA), 1988.
Crying for a Dream: The World through Native-American Eyes, Bear & Co. (Sante Fe, NM), 1990.
(With Mary Brave Bird) Lakota Woman (autobiography), Grove Weidenfeld (New York, NY), 1990.
(With Archie Fire Lame Deer) The Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man, Bear & Co. (Sante Fe, NM), 1992.
(With Mary Brave Bird) Ohitika Woman (autobiography; sequel to Lakota Woman), Grove Press (New York, NY), 1993.
(With Leonard Crow Dog) Crow Dog: Four Generations of Sioux Medicine Men, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.
(Selector and editor, with Alfonso Ortiz) American Indian Trickster Tales, Viking (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Dennis Banks) Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement, University of Oklahoma Press (Norman, OK), 2004.
Also author of scripts for educational filmstrips on Native American life. Contributor of stories, articles, illustrations, and photographs to major national magazines, first in Austria, then in the United States, including Smithsonian, Signature, Life, Saturday Evening Post, and Camera 35.
SIDELIGHTS: Though born in Europe, Richard Erdoes now lives in the United States, where he has become fascinated by Native American culture and the plight of native tribes at the hand of white settlers. This has led him to write, illustrate, and collaborate on a number of books on these subjects. For example, he served as selector and editor with Alfonso Ortiz for American Indian Myths and Legends, which includes 166 traditional Native American narratives. Some of the narratives have been published for the first time in these pages, including one heard by Erdoes at an intertribal meeting. "The collection does favor the Southwest and the Midwest, especially the Sioux there; each of those regions contributes about a quarter of the stories," noted Dell Hymes in a Nation review. "But all regions and kinds of story are represented." The collaborators also produced a sequel titled American Indian Trickster Tales. Library Journal contributor John Burch called this collection "an extremely useful compilation."
Erdoes teamed with Mary Brave Bird to write Bird's autobiography, Lakota Woman. The book follows Bird's life from her traumatic days at a Catholic boarding school, where she was beaten, to her life as an Indian activist, which led her to participate in the occupation of Wounded Knee. The book also reveals Brave Bird's intimate knowledge of Indian traditions. Phoebe-Lou Adams, writing in the Atlantic, felt the authors' descriptions "of Indian rites are invariably interesting." Publishers Weekly contributor Genevieve Stuttaford called the book "courageous, impassioned, poetic and inspirational." The sequel to Lakota Woman, Ohitika Woman, recounts Brave Bird's life after 1977, following the dissolution of her marriage and subsequent alcoholism before she remarried and returned to the Indian reservation. Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer described the book as a "candid memoir by a forceful feminist."
In his Tales from the American Frontier the author recounts numerous Old West legends and tales, many of which contain such legendary Western figures as Billy the Kid, Judge Roy Bean, and Jim Bowie. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author "successfully evokes an era." The author also teamed with Archie Fire Lame Deer to write The Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man, which recounts Lame Deer's life from being an alcoholic Hollywood stunt man to a Holy Man within his tribe. Another Publishers Weekly contributor characterized the book as "instructive reading."
Crow Dog: Four Generations of Sioux Medicine Men, which Erdoes wrote with Leonard Crow Dog, follows Crow Dog's family beginnings with Jerome Crow Dog, his great-great grandfather, who is considered the last of the ghost dancers. The book also delves into Jerome Crow Dog's Indian activism, which included taking part in the modern siege at Wounded Knee. Writing in Publishers Weekly, a reviewer commented that the book "offers an illuminating introduction to Sioux culture." Booklist contributor Melanie Duncan observed: "Primarily, Erdoes has written Leonard's words as they were spoken … but the simple words are compelling."
Erdoes collaborated with well-known Indian activist Russell Banks to write Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement. Banks was one of the founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The book largely recounts the movement's founding in 1968, its role in the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, and the contributions of various AIM members, including its religious leaders. Deborah Donovan, writing in Booklist, called the book an "honest and moving autobiography." Kliatt contributor Edna Boardman added: "This book is both a history of AIM and the story of Banks's personal quest." Boardman continued: "This is an absorbing, well-written book, a useful Indian perspective on the life-changing events of the 20th century."
Erdoes has also continued his work as an illustrator, serving in this role for Nancy Wood's Thunderwoman: A Mythic Novel of the Pueblos. Sally Estes, writing in Booklist, called the novel "heartfelt" and noted the "haunting pictographlike illustrations." In Crying for a Dream: The World through Native American Eyes Erdoes presents seventy full-color photographs focusing on Native Americans in the 1960s and 1970s, accompanied by a narrative concerning the author's growing interest and friendship with these people over the years. Gwen Gregory, writing in the Library Journal, considered the book "visually appealing."
Erdoes once told CA: "I am an old artist, but a writer. For thirty years I lived in New York making my living as magazine illustrator and photographer. I got into serious writing accidentally in 1970. My early outlook and first writings were influenced by a cosmopolitan European upbringing in a family of actors and opera singers. Later, I was strongly influenced by a short and modest spell in the European Underground resisting the Nazis. In this country, after twelve happy years in a profitable ivory tower. I was struck by the shock and outrage of first-hand experience of conditions on American Indian reservations.
"I was doing a painting photography portfolio for Life [magazine] on a Sioux Indian reservation when I was befriended by an old and almost totally illiterate Sioux medicine man, Lame Deer, who unfortunately died recently. He picked me to write his life story [which has been published in French, Dutch, Norwegian, and German].
"I found writing so rewarding that ninety per cent of my time is now devoted to it. I do artwork and photography now only on prestige projects which tickle my fancy. Travel is one of my hobbies, and I have been lucky to have made this into a paid hobby. I have had assignments as an artist and photographer to go exploring in three continents."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic, May, 1990, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of Lakota Woman, p. 133.
Booklist, April 15, 1995, Melanie Duncan, review of Crow Dog: Four Generations of Sioux Medicine Men, p. 1476; March 1, 1998, Donna Seaman, review of American Indian Trickster Tales, p. 1072; February 15, 1999, Sally Estes, review of Thunderwoman: A Mythic Novel of the Pueblos, p. 1064; May 15, 2004, Deborah Donovan, review of Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement, p. 1592.
Kliatt, January, 2006, Edna Boardman, review of Ojibwa Warrior, p. 33.
Library Journal, March 1, 1998, John Burch, review of American Indian Trickster Tales, p. 98; May 15, 2002, Gwen Gregory, review of Crying for a Dream: The World through Native American Eyes, p. 104; May 15, 2004, John Burch, review of Ojibwa Warrior, p. 98.
Nation, January 26, 1985, Dell Hymes, review of American Indian Myths and Legends, p. 85.
Publishers Weekly, February 2, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Lakota Woman, p. 71; July 19, 1991, review of Tales from the American Frontier, p. 47; October 26, 1992, review of The Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man, p. 50; July 19, 1993, review of Ohitika Woman, p. 243; March 13, 1995, review of Crow Dog, p. 56; March 16, 1998, review of American Indian Trickster Tales, p. 55.
USA Today, September, 2004, Gerald F. Kreyche, review of Ojibwa Warrior, p. 80.
Whole Earth Review, fall, 1995, Yolanda Montijo, review of Lakota Woman, p. 60.