PORTRAIT OF A BEAUTIFUL MOTHER AND DAUGHTER IN BEMIDJI, MINNESOTA (BY FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPHER ROLAND REED)

 

This vintage photograph features a smartly dressed pretty woman with her adorable young daughter. The little girl’s expression is absolutely priceless. The photograph was taken by the Reed studio in Bemidji, Minnesota. Bemidji is a Ojibwe (Chippewa) word that means “a lake with crossing waters”. The town was chartered and organized in 1896. The town has been called the “curling capital” of the United States. An inscription on the reverse of the photograph has the name “Mary Keining”. This is probably the name of the mother in this portrait. The photographer of this photograph was a well known American artist and photographer named Roland (Royal Jr.) W. Reed (1864-1934). He was part of an early 20th century group of photographers of Native Americans known as pictorialists. The pictorialist movement was influenced by the 19th century art movement of Impressionism. The pictorialists emphasized lighting and focus. They tried to recreate images as they may have been rather than as it was. A group of pictorialists took photographs of Native Americans and Native American life as it was before the damage wrought on the culture by reservations. Roland Reed was born in Wisconsin. He grew up with a strong caring interest in Native Americans and a desire for adventure. His first job when he left home was working in a Minnesota sawmill. In 1885 he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad and became familiar with the Plains Indians. He soon returned to Minnesota and used it as a home base for five years of exploration and adventure which included traveling to Tennessee, Arkansas, New Mexico, and finally Montana in 1890. He worked for the Great Northern Railway and utilized his artistic talent doing portrait sketches of Piegan and Blackfeet Indians as well doing landscape sketches and paintings. In 1893 he apprenticed with photographer Daniel Dutro in Havre, Montana. The pair eventually became partners in a studio and they also sold Native American photographs to the Great Northern Railway. For a short duration in 1897, Reed worked for the Associated Press in Alaska photographing the Klondike Gold Rush. He returned to Havre but in 1899 he opened a photo studio in Ortonville, Minnesota. He quickly developed a reputation for being an outstanding photographer of local landscapes and children. His business grew and he opened another studio in Bemidji. He frequently would leave his Bemidji studio to go photograph the Ojibwe Indians on nearby reservation. In 1907, he sold both of his studios and went to live near the Ojibwe Red Lake Reservation so he could focus on his work documenting Native Americans. He pursued this interest full time for two years. In 1909, Reed returned to Montana and opened a studio in Kalispell (the town near the western entrance of today’s Glacier National Park. He operated the studio there and also sold copies of his Native American photographs and Native American arts and crafts. While in Kalispell he spent six years on a major project of ph0tographing the Plains Indians, including the Blackfeet, Piegan, Boood, Flathead and Cheyenne. While in Montana he became part of the state’s community of artists. Included was western artist Charlie Russell. In 1913, Reed spent several months photographing the Navajo and Hopi in Arizona. That same year, Reed opened a branch of his photography studio in San Diego, California. After just a few years, he retired to Ortonville, Minnesota.  It didn’t take too long for wanderlust to set in. In 1916 he built a cabin near Cable, Wisconsin where he spent half his time between there and Ortonville. In 1920 he relocated to Denver, Colorado, where he opened a new studio and remained in business for seven years. In 1930 he retired again, this time to San Diego. During this time he worked on a book of his photographs titled “Reed’s Photographic Art Studies of the North American Indian”. While visiting Colorado Springs in 1934 he was killed in an accident. Reed’s work photographing Native Americans were funded by himself. He had little interest in having his photography utilized for advertising. He is known to have turned down an offer of fifteen thousand dollars for 200 negatives in order to ensure they would not be used commercially. In 1950, National Geographic Magazine licensed the rights to approximately forty of his photographs. A portrait of Roland Reed can be seen directly below.

FOUR VICTORIOUS YOUNG MEN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY 1900 (VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPH)

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This vintage photograph captures four young men posing in their dress-up clothing and patriotic straw hats. An inscription on the reverse of the image states that the men were photographed on July fourth, 1900. The men are wearing prize ribbons on their lapels. They apparently won a contest of some sort. Its interesting to note that the two men in the front row are balancing luggage bags on their knees. The bags almost look like doctor bags. This photograph was taken by J. L. Blessing of Salamanca, New York. Blessing was no amateur as is apparent in his  1908 photograph of a Native American woman seen below. She is from the Seneca tribe and her name is Ah-Weh-Eyu (translation: Pretty Flower). Her English name was Goldie Jamison Conklin and she was from the Allegany Reservation in Western New York. She was born in Salamanca in 1892 and died in 1974. She was quite beautiful and worked as a model for the Cattarugus Cutlery Company of Little Valley, New York. She helped advertise the company’s line of “Indian Brand” knives. She was often photographed by Jesse Lynn Blessing who operated the Blessing Studio in Salamanca. His father was J. H. Blessing (1851-1920) who started the studio. According to an entry on geneology.com by J. L. Blessing’s grandaughter, Mr Blessing “was asked to work with Disney Studios by Walt Disney but decided to take over his father’s studio instead”.

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COWBOY WEARING CHAPS AND HOLDING A PISTOL IN PORTLAND, OREGON (REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a cowboy wearing frilly chaps, a holster, a bandana  and a cowboy hat. In one hand he is holding a pistol and in the other he has a pair of gloves decorated with a five point star. The cowpoke in this studio image appears ready to head out on the next cattle drive. The cowboy in this photograph has an ethnic appearance. Perhaps he was Hispanic or Native American. This photograph was taken at the Mazeograph Studio in Portland, Oregon. Charles E. (Cal) Calvert operated his studio between 1906 and 1930. As the advertisement on the reverse of the postcard attests, Calvert’s specialty was creating fast postcards. Studio backdrops and set-ups awaited customers, so they simply had to place themselves in the scene. This arrangement coupled with quick development techniques, allowed subjects to be able to procure a postcard image of themselves in less than ten minutes. The postcard itself was made by Cyko and the stamp box indicates that it was produced between 1904 and the 1920’s.

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Published in: on August 11, 2015 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FEMALE NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENT AT THE CARLISLE INDIAN SCHOOL IN CARLISLE, PENNSYLVANIA

native amer woman_0008The reverse of this photograph has an inscription and is signed by the subject. The young woman in this image is Amy Dalphus and the inscription states “to sister “Phillips” from sister “Beaver” Remember the day this was taken”. Miss Dalphus is well dressed and attractive in her coat, hat, and leather gloves. The photographer of this image was Hertsler whose studio was located in Carlisle. Research reveals that Amy E. Dalphus was from the Sioux tribe in South Dakota. She graduated from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1903. She is cited in the book “A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924: A Supplement”by Littlefield and Parins (1985). Next to her name is the following: “Red Man and Helper, February 20-27, 1903”. Perhaps she wrote an article for this magazine or maybe her graduation is listed in the magazine’s pages. Research found little information about Miss Dalphus. Her name was listed on a number of annual “Indian Census” reports from the turn of the century. The “Indian Census” of 1896 reported her to be living in South Dakota with her step mother (Mrs. Moore)  and three brothers and a sister. She lived under the auspices of the “Cheyenne River Agency”. The 1900 US census found her living in Carlisle as a student.The story of the Carlisle Indian school is an example of well meaning people committing terrible deeds in an effort to help others. It is important to realize that not everyone involved in this school, and others like it, were actually well intentioned. The Carlisle school operated from 1879 through 1918 as a boarding school founded by Captain Richard Henry Pratt. The school was part of the effort of the US government to assimilate children from 39 tribes into the majority culture. This was an effort to “civilize the Indian”. Pratt saw his task as similar to his experience with the “domestication of wild turkeys”. He believed his mission was the “annihilation of the Indian and his salvation as an American Citizen”. Pratt’s goal was to “kill the Indian in him, and save the man”. Many children were subject to this assimilation project. During some years, the school had as many as a thousand students a year. In addition, there were other schools engaged in the same endeavor. The students were forced to take English names to replace their given tribal names. This was very difficult for the students to accept because their tribal names had personal meanings that reflected their experiences or relationships. In the inscription on the reverse of this photograph, Amy Dalphus refers to herself as “Beaver” alongside her English name. Perhaps this is an effort by her to not surrender her tribal name. The Carlisle school became well known for its athletic programs. Coach Pop Warner and the talented athlete, Jim Thorpe, received national attention. More people are aware of Carlisle’s sports prowess than the actual abuse and racism that permeated the concept and operation of the school.

THREE NATIVE AMERICAN SIBLINGS IN EL RENO, OKLAHOMA TERRITORY (PHOTOGRAPHED BY STOTZ)

This cabinet card is chock full of history. The photograph features three young Native Americans posing for their portrait at the studio of Christopher Charles Stotz (1851-1932), in El Reno, Oklahoma Territory. The subjects of this image are likely siblings. The young women are wearing identical dresses and are adorned with rings and beautiful earrings. The specific Indian tribe that these three young people represent, is unknown. Oklahoma was the home of many Indian Tribes including Pawnee, Creek, Apache, Arapaho, Choctaw, and others. Many tribes were relocated there from other states. As mentioned earlier, the photographer of this cabinet card is C. C. Stotz and his studio was located in El Reno, Oklahoma Territory. Oklahoma became a state in 1907 which means that this photograph was taken before that year. El Reno is located in central Oklahoma, about 25 miles from Oklahoma City. Fort Reno was built in 1874 and it’s first commander was Civil War hero, General Philip Sheridan. Sheridan named the fort after his friend, General Jesse L. Reno, who was killed in the Civil War. The fort was near the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation. One of the fort’s missions was to “protect” the “Five Civilized Tribes”. This group was comprised of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes. Employing the term “civilized tribe” was evidence of the special prejudice held against the tribes not among the designated five civilized tribes. Tribes described as civilized were tribes that had adopted many of the customs and values that were held by  European-Americans at the time.  Who was C. C. Stotz?  Stotz was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania.  He  established a studio in El Reno in 1889; the same year El Reno was founded. Therefore, this photograph was taken between 1889  (El Reno founded) and 1907 (Oklahoma statehood). During the 1880’s and 1890’s, he made field and studio photographs of Southern Plains Indians. Stotz is an acclaimed early photographer  of Native American’s and Native American life.

OUTSTANDING PHOTOGRAPH OF A NATIVE AMERICAN MAN WITH A TURKEY VULTURE PERCHED ON HIS HEAD… (IS THIS IMAGE COUNTERFEIT OR GENUINE?)

This cabinet card is a terrific image of a Native American dressed in his tribal clothing. He has a bird on his head that looks as weathered as he does. The bird may be a turkey vulture. Hopefully,  a visitor to this site with some ornithology knowledge, can better identify or confirm the bird’s species. What an amazing photograph? However, is it a counterfeit cabinet card? I located the cabinet card in an antique store and purchased it with a great deal of reluctance. Native American cabinet cards have a history of being a popular type of cabinet card to counterfeit, due to their potential high value and strong demand. There are a number of methods to make fake images. This photograph does not seem to be a product of a high tech copy machine. However, the image could be a Native American postcard pasted over an “ordinary” cabinet card image. This cabinet card, if not the image, is from the studio of  C. S. Roshon of Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The photograph was produced in 1892. Perhaps a traveling western show was in the area of Lebanon; or perhaps Roshon purchased this image to sell at his galleries. The Roshon Galleries were located at 142 North 8th Street, and 22 South 9th street, in Lebanon. Roshon also had a studio somewhere in New Jersey. Any comments from Cabinet Card Gallery visitors, regarding the authenticity of this cabinet card, would be greatly appreciated. To view other photographs from Roshon’s studio, click on the category “Photographer: Roshon”.

ATTRACTIVE ETHNIC WOMAN POSES IN FRONT OF THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE

This cabinet card features an attractive young woman posing for her photograph in an unknown studio and in front of an unknown photographer. The house is not “The Little House on the Prairie” but the studio backdrop and props compose a terrific replica of a country cottage. Note the faux grass. The woman is wearing a chain necklace. Her skin, eyes and hair are dark. She has an ethnic appearance; possibly Black, Hispanic or Native American. The identity of this pretty young woman is unknown.

Published in: on September 1, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments (5)  
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TWO NATIVE AMERICAN OR POSSIBLY AFRICAN AMERICAN COWBOYS

black-cowboysThis Cabinet card pictures, what appears to be, two Native American or possibly African American cowboys wearing their cow punching clothing. The cowboy on the left is wearing a western hat, a neckerchief, and  wooly chaps. I do not know what he wearing over his lower arms and wrists. The cowboy on the right has his western hat, neckerchief, and is wearing spurs on his boots. The photographer is Elliott of Marion, Iowa. Marion was established in 1839 and named after popular figure General Marion. The courthouse in Marion was the location of the recruitment of nine full companies which fought for the Union in the Civil War. The area was known as the most patriotic part of Iowa.