Lois Sherr Dubin | Books & Publications

Books & Publications

Bead Museum visitors Valeri and Phil Fischman with Lois S. Dubin in front of the Bead Time Line, based on the The History of Beads. October 2009.

Click the image to see a larger view.

The following books were authored by Lois Sherr Dubin. For more information about her background, see the Career Narrative page.

The History of Beads

Praise for The History of Beads

“a feast for the eye” —The New York Times

“a landmark book”—Chicago Tribune

“exquisite and fascinating” —San Francisco Chronicle

About the book:

Since its publication in 1987, The History of Beads has become the world's definitive guide for bead lovers, collectors, and scholars. In the newest edition (2009), bead expert Lois Sherr Dubin updates all chapters with the latest archeological discoveries, opens a new chapter on contemporary adornment since the 1980s, with a focus on glass beads, and best of all, adds 200 beads to what is considered by many to be the piece de resistance: the eight-page gatefold timeline that guides readers through the remarkably rich history of the world's first form of adornment.

The latest revisions include the oldest bead ever discovered, dating to 108,000 B.C. and explain why beads worn on the human body were the original media communication system. Updates include the numerous maps scattered throughout, which have been modernized and are now in color; 72 formerly black-and-white images have been replaced with full color; and 125 new photographs were added to this edition. Beautifully packaged with a new cover, this revised and expanded edition is a must-have for devotees of the first edition and for the next generation of bead obsessives and aficionados.

The History of Beads: 30,000 B.C. to the Present

New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1987; concise edition, 1995

The History of Beads: 100,000 B.C. to the Present
New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2009
(updated and revised edition of the 1987 initial publication)

Foreign editions:
The History of Beads: 30,000 B.C. to the Present
London: Thames and Hudson, 1987

The World-Wide History of Beads
London: Thames and Hudson, 2015
(revised edition with new title)
Le Livre Des Perles: Parures, Bijoux Et Ornements Du Monde, Du Néolithique À Nos Jours
Paris: Éditions de La Martinière, 1987

La Historia delle Perline
Milano: Garzanti, 1988

Alle Perlen Diester Welt: Eine Kulturceschichte Des Perlenschmucks
Koln: Dumont, 1988

The 2009 version is currently being translated into Chinese.

More praise for The History of Beads

“amazing and elegant”—Washington Post
“comprehensive and visually stimulating... well-documented text... highly recommended” —Library Journal 

“may mark a pivotal point in the study and appreciation of beads… will remain an example for years to come” —Ornament Magazine 

“gorgeous to look at… an absorbing work of scholarship” —Newsweek 

“every aspect of The History of Beads is exceptional” —Jewelers Circular Keystone 

“perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the book is that it takes an ordinary object like a bead and shows It in all its many permutations” —Dallas Morning News

“this is history in the truest sense, with excellent commentary, analysis and informed discussion” —Worcester Telegram

“no matter how technical that information is, her desire to convey an understanding of people permeates her book” —The Christian Science Monitor

“until now there has been no comprehensive book on beads... Dubin has filled the need with  The History of Beads” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“A magnificent first in bead history... a monumental achievement, takings its place instantly as the definitive work on beads” —The Bead Society of Washington Newsletter, 1987

“Once in a generation, a book comes along that defines and captures the entire history of an art form. In 1987, that book was The History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin. Twenty-two years later, Dubin has repeated her triumph with the totally updated, expanded and more colorful 2009 edition of the book” —Lapidary Journal

A 20 minute segment of their Nightwatch show about beads. Recorded in 1991.

North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: Prehistory to the Present

Published by Harry N. Abrams. New York. 1999.

Praise for North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: Prehistory to the Present:

“there has not been such a broad and informative book before” —Library Journal

“magnificent… readably full of information… presenting often complex ideas with clarity, sensitivity” —The New Mexican

“beautifully written, generously illustrated and carefully researched… a monumental accomplishment and a vital resource” —American Craft

About the book:

This was the official book of Santa Fe Indian Market, 1999. The concise edition was the official book in 2003.

Over 1,200 illustrations, approximately 820 in full color, offer a look at Southwestern turquoise jewelry, Plains beadwork, "carved" metal bracelets from the Northwest, quill and moosehair work from the Subarctic, and etched horn jewelry from California. 50 maps.

More praise for North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: Prehistory to the Present:

“beautifully written, generously illustrated and carefully researched… a monumental accomplishment and a vital resource” —American Craft

“Once in a while, a book comes along that defines the subject so well it becomes a classic in its field. This book has that scope and quality” —Cowboys and Indians

“Dubin presents Indian work not as an array of museum pieces but as a living body of work… Dubin’s endeavor enriches not only the American Indian, but all of us.” —The Bead Society of Greater Washington Newsletter

“knowledgeable and insightful, Dubin has authored the definitive work on a complex topic” —Men’s Journal

“This book is destined to become a classic” —The Independent, Gallup, NM

“the single most comprehensive, best-researched, most skillfully illustrated book on Native American jewelry… more than a visual treat. It is a work of careful research and respect for the Native Americans and their artwork.” —Austin American-Statesman

“showcasing the breathtaking craftsmanship and imagery of spiritually-charged objects of adornment, this book presents the impressive work of generations of Native Americans… [a] feat achieved through the excellence of the photography, the aesthetic integrity of the work, and Dubin’s ability to put that work in its spiritual, mythological and historical context.” —Beadwork

“a colorful heavyweight, packed with information and images of the precious treasure documented by author Lois Sherr Dubin.” —Sioux Falls Argus Leader

“a remarkable work… which accurately defines all kinds of adornment from jewelry and beadwork to ceremonial regalia, war bonnets, moccasins, necklaces…” —Birmingham Post, England

Don Imus’ Pick of the Week. —Barnes & Noble.com, July 12, 1999

Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry of the Northwest and Southwest

Kari Chalker, General Editor. Lois S. Dubin, Peter M. Whitely, Contributing Editors.

Published by Harry N. Abrams in Association with the American Museum of Natural History. New York, 2004.

About the book:

This is the companion book to the traveling exhibition of the same name. It explores the jewelry art of 39 regional Native American artists. With its lavish illustrations, it displays the ways in which visual adornment reflects cross-cultural traditions. Totems to Turquoise is a valuable resource that is complemented by anthropological and historical information.

Jesse Monongya: Opal Bears and Lapis Skies

Published by Hudson Hills Press. Manchester and New York, 2002

Praise for North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment: Prehistory to the Present:

“This informative, poetic book describes the artist’s efforts to integrate Inner and outer beauty, bringing together his life and art.” —The Open Range

About the book:

This book served as a companion book of an exhibition with the same name, curated by Diana Pardue at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, 2010-2011.

A stunning exploration of the world-renowned master of painterly inlay, who combines his Native American culture with cutting-edge materials and techniques.

Arctic Transformations: The Jewelry of Denise & Samuel Wallace

Published by Easton Studio Press. New York, 2005.

Praise for Arctic Transformations: The Jewelry of Denise & Samuel Wallace

“the kind of book that pulls you into its photos and story until you are immersed in the world the Wallaces have created—a world that is difficult to leave when the last page is turned” —Art Jewelry Review

“a handsomely photographed and impeccably researched book” —American Indian

About the book:

The book generated a museum exhibition of the same name (curated by Roslyn Tunis) and served as the exhibition catalogue that originated at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, 2005 and traveled to four additional venues: the Mingei International Museum, San Diego; Heard Museum, Phoenix; National Museum of the American Indian, New York; Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe.

Arctic Transformations: The Jewelry of Denise and Samuel Wallace features the intricate sculptural jewelry created by Denise Wallace, a Chugach Aleut, and her husband and partner, Samuel Wallace. The Wallace’s innovative jewelry explores a contemporary style that is rooted in the traditions of Denise’s Chugach culture. It’s designs are inspired by the people, animals and the natural environment of Alaska. The Wallaces are storytellers who use fossil ivory, silver, and richly colored stones as their medium rather than words. “My grandmother used to tell me stories when I was young, and I incorporate some of them into my work.” Denise explains, “My main goal is, through my work, to express Alaska Native culture.”

To convey the concept of movement and transformation that is central to the Wallace’s work, the book includes eight gatefolds of their major storytelling belts, all seen at nearly actual size. The other eight belts are displayed on double page spreads. Each belt is illustrated with its historic and contemporary influences as well as being grouped with the pieces that originally came from or were influenced by it. The belts, which are seen together here for the first time, are artistic and technical masterpieces.

Grand Procession: Contemporary Artistic Visions of American Indians. The Diker Collection at the Denver Art Museum

Published by The Denver Art Museum, Denver, in association with University of Oklahoma Press. 2010.

About the book:

Grand Procession celebrates a remarkable new tradition-based, contemporary American Indian art form. From a heritage rooted in dolls and ledger-book drawings, a fresh and exciting sculptural art featuring human and animal figures has evolved since the mid-1980s. Typically around two feet tall and meticulously clothed in elaborate beaded and quilled ceremonial dress, the figures carefully emulate Plains and Plateau traditions of the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.

The premier collection of these figures, created by five award-winning Native American women artists—Rhonda Holy Bear (Lakota), Jamie Okuma (Luiseno), and the Growing Thunder family (Assiniboine-Sioux): Joyce Growing Thunder, her daughter Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty, and granddaughter, Jessica Growing Thunder—has been brilliantly assembled by Charles and Valerie Diker. While each figure is a strong work of art, the assemblage of figures is particularly powerful.

Beautifully illustrated, this volume will appeal to all those interested in American Indian art and crafts, contemporary and historic Indian lifeways, sculpture, and dolls. Grand Procession crosses many boundaries.

The book served as the catalog of the exhibition of the same name.

Adornment: The Art of Barbara Natoli Witt

Published by Hudson Hills Press, Manchester and New York. 2011.

About the book:

Using a combination of tapestry, and lace-making techniques—Barbara Natoli Witt's necklaces are stunning intricate webs of ancient beads, colored threads, artifacts and gem stones from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. Natoli Witt was a pioneer in the wearable art movement that began in San Francisco, and has been creating her necklaces for over 40 years.

Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork

Published by The Autry National Center of the American West, Los Angeles in association with the University of Washington Press, Seattle and London. 2014.

Praise for Floral Journey:

"Floral Journey honors the remarkable depth and enduring vitality of Native North Americans’ beadwork artistic traditions, fostering for all readers a deeper appreciation and accessible understanding of Native aesthetics through beaded adornments." ―Martine J. Reid, Bill Reid Foundation

About the book:

Companion book to the exhibition of the same name.

Floral Journey celebrates the beauty and power of Native North American flower art. It conveys the story of why beaded, quilled and embroidered floral imagery became both an important art form and a means of economic and cultural survival within Native America. It is also an important example of how two differing cultures—indigenous North American and Euro-American—established a common ground of economic and creative exchange.

Glittering World: Navajo Jewelry of the Yazzie Family

Published by National Museum of the American Indian in association with Smithsonian Books, Washington D.C. and New York, NY.

Praise for Praise for Glittering World: Navajo Jewelry of the Yazzie Family

“there has not been such a broad and informative book before” —Library Journal

“magnificent… readably full of information… presenting often complex ideas with clarity, sensitivity” —The New Mexican

“beautifully written, generously illustrated and carefully researched… a monumental accomplishment and a vital resource” —American Craft

About the book:

This book served as the catalogue for an exhibition of the same name.

Glittering World tells the remarkable story of Navajo jewelry--from its ancient origins to the present--through the work of the gifted Yazzie family of New Mexico. Jewelry has long been an important form of artistic expression for Native peoples in the Southwest; its diversity of design reflects a long history of migrations, trade, and cultural exchange. Exceptional jewelry makers who have been active for nearly eight decades, the Yazzies are strongly rooted in and inspired by these traditions and values. Their works emphasize reciprocity, harmony, balance, and respect for family.

As the companion volume to the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in New York exhibit of the same name, this book is richly illustrated with images of these beautifully crafted treasures, bringing to light some of the finest indigenous art being created in the world today. Its informative and lively narrative complements these stunning images to illuminate the fascinating story of continuity, change, and survival embodied by Navajo jewelry.