An important advocate of Native American rights, Susette LaFlesche Tibbles was raised on the Omaha reservation in Nebraska. She worked as a teacher before becoming involved in a study of social conditions among the Plains tribes. She was accompanied in this work by Thomas Tibbles, a newspaper editor whom she married in 1887. Galvanized by the terrible conditions she observed, “Bright Eyes,” as she came to be known, served as an expert witness and worked as an interpreter in court cases that Native peoples brought against the federal government. She also received widespread fame as an orator, speaking out about the lack of rights afforded tribes.
Photographic Format\Cabinet card
Susette LaFlesche Tibbles: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist\Civil rights activist
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Thomas Henry Tibbles papers 1850-1956 (bulk 1875-1905)
Tibbles, Thomas Henry 1840-1928
La Flesche, Susette 1854-1903
Standing Bear Ponca chief
Crook, George 1829-1890
Bryan, William Jennings 1860-1925
Watson, Thomas E (Thomas Edward) 1856-1922
2 linear feet
41 photographic prints
Thomas Henry Tibbles was born May 22, 1840, near Athens, Ohio to parents William and Martha (nee Cooley) Tibbles. In 1856, at the age of 16, Tibbles fought with anti-slavery Free-Staters in the Bleeding Kansas conflicts under James Henry Lane. Lane's troops disbanded the same year and Tibbles went on to study at Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio from 1858-1861. During the Civil War Tibbles served as a scout and newspaper correspondent in Missouri and Kansas and continued newspaper work until 1871 when he became a circuit preacher. Between 1874 and 1879, Tibbles worked on the staffs of various newspapers in Omaha, Nebraska eventually reaching the post of assistant editor of "The Omaha Daily Herald." It was during his time at the Herald that Tibbles was instrumental in bringing the case of Standing Bear and the Ponca Indian people before the United States District Court at Fort Omaha. Standing Bear, along with thirty other Poncas, had returned to their home in Nebraska after being forcibly removed to Indian Territory 1878. They were being detained at the Omaha Reservation on an order from the Secretary of the Interior and Tibbles began to circulate the story of the plight of the Ponca to major newspapers gathering the support of the public. Eventually Tibbles had attorneys John L. Webster and A.J. Poppleton help Standing Bear petition the court with a writ of habeas corpus. On April 30, 1879 Judge Elmer Dundy declared that an Indian is a person within the law and that the Ponca were being held illegally, setting Standing Bear and the Ponca free. Following the trial, Tibbles continued to report on violations against Native American rights. Tibbles was a witness to the aftermath of the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1891, and reported this tragedy to the world. From 1893-1895, he worked as a newspaper correspondent in Washington D.C. On returning to Nebraska, Tibbles became editor-in-chief of "The Independent," a weekly Populist Party newspaper. He was the Populist Party nominee for Vice President of the United States in 1904. Though unsuccessful in this campaign Tibbles continued to write on Populist issues as well as editing "The Investigator" from 1905-1910 and returning to the "Omaha World Herald" from 1910 to his retirement.
Tibbles had two children with his first wife, Amelia Owen whom he married in 1861. Eda, born in 1868 in Kansas City, married Herbert Bates in 1894 and May, born in 1870 in Danville Iowa, married Allen Barris in 1891. Amelia died of peritonitis in 1879. On June 29, 1882, Tibbles married Susette "Bright Eyes" LaFlesche (Omaha), daughter of Joseph "Iron Eye" LaFlesche. Susette LaFlesche worked closely alongside Tibbles during the Standing Bear's trial in her role as chief interpreter. Together, LaFlesche, Tibbles and Standing Bear carried out a successful lecture tour in England and Scotland in 1886-1887 speaking on issues of Indian rights. LaFlesche became well known as an eloquent writer and orator. Following her death in 1903 she was eulagized in the US Senate and was later inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame. Tibbles remarried for a final time in 1907 to Ida Belle Riddle. She remained by Tibbles side until his own death in 1928.
During his career, Tibbles wrote three books which included "Ponca Chiefs" (1880), written under the pen name "Zylyff", "Hidden Power" (1881) and "The American Peasant" (1892). Tibbles had also composed his memoirs titled "Buckskin and Blanket Days" which were eventually published in 1957 through the efforts of his grandson Chester Barris.
The Thomas Henry Tibbles papers include documents that span Tibbles career as a journalist and lecturer on Indian rights from the 1870s until his death in 1928. Of particular note are the documents related to his work on the Standing Bear vs. George Crook Habeas Corpus trial. This includes articles, essays and talks written by Tibbles as well as copies of a lecture given by Susette LaFlesche Tibbles. Notable correspondents include; Robert Clarkson, Joseph Cook, General George Crook, Robert N. Price and William Jennings Bryan. Examples of materials related to the Ponca land case and Standing Bear trial include reports from the Ponca Relief commitee, a petition from the Ponca people, minutes from the Council Concerning Ponca Land Right and additional documents and writings sent out by Tibbles to gain support from both the church and politicians. Also included in these papers are several drafts of Buckskin and Blanket Days, Tibbles' autobiography that was written in 1905 and published in 1957. There is a significant amount of correspondence between Chester Barris, grandson to Tibbles, and publishing houses between 1939 and 1956 in the search for a willing publisher. There is also correspondence between Barris and his aunt Theadora "Dora" Cogswell who worked on editing the manuscript. Cogswell conducted a large amount of research on the historicity of the events described by Tibbles and her notes are included in the collection. The photographs in this collection include portraits of the Tibbles/LaFlesche family as well as portraits of freinds and aquaintances. These include photographs of Edward Everett Hale, General George Crook, Governor Benjamin Butler, Wendall Phillips, Thomas Watson, William Jennings Bryan and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Thomas Henry Tibbles papers (NMAI.AC.066), National Museum of the American Indian Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Ponca Indians--Legal status, laws, etc
Wounded Knee Massacre, S.D., 1890
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Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian Archives
Transatlantic slavery : against human dignity / edited by Anthony Tibbles
Merseyside Maritime Museum
168 p. : ill. (some col.), facsims. ; 29 cm
"This Catalog is to accompany the opening of the Transatlantic Slavery Gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool."
On t.p.: National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside.
Introduction / Anthony Tibbles -- The rise of the Atlantic empires / David Richardson -- Human cargoes : enslavement and the middle passage / Edward Reynolds -- 'Guineamen' : some technical aspects of slave ships / M.K. Stammers -- African resistance to enslavement / Stephan Small ad James Walvin -- Caribbean slave society / Alissandra Cummins -- Wome in slavery and the transatlantic slave trade / Jennifer Lyle Morgan -- Liverpool and the English slave trade / David Richardson -- Oil not slaves : Liverpool and West Africa after 1807 / Anthony Tibbles -- Black people in Britain / James Walvin -- Black abolitionism 1787-1838 / James Walvin -- The impact of the slave trade on the societies of West and Central Africa / Patrick Manning -- An African view of transatlantic slavery and the role of oral testimony in creating a new legacy / Mary E. Modupe Kolawole -- Racist ideologies / Stephen Small -- On the meaning and history of slavery / Preston King -- The general legacy of the Atlantic slave trade / Stephen Hall
Journalist Thomas Tibbles played a crucial part in bringing the case of Standing Bear and the Ponca people before the U.S. District Court in 1879. The museum's Archive Center is working to make Tibbles's papers more available to researchers.
Saba : under the hyena's foot / by Jane Kurtz ; illustration by Jean-Paul Tibbles
207 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 20 cm
After being kidnapped and brought to the emperor's palace in Gondar, Ethiopia, twelve-year-old Saba discovers that she and her brother are part of the emperor's desperate attempt to consolidate political power in the mid-1840's.
The silent stranger : a Kaya mystery / by Janet Shaw ; [illustrations by Jean-Paul Tibbles]
Shaw, Janet Beeler 1937-
132 p. : col. ill. ; 18 cm
"American girl mysteries."
A stranger with injured hands -- Many questions and a warning -- Runs in circles -- The tattered doll -- Danger for a dog -- Little questions and big questions -- Night of the spirit dances -- A visit from a wolf -- Hawk woman's story -- Gift from the stick people -- Hawk rising
In 1765, the arrival of an injured stranger from another tribe, traveling alone and apparently unable to speak, arouses suspicion in Kaya's Nez Percé village. Includes glossary and historical notes on the Nez Percé Indians.
Hidden power. A secret history of the Indian ring, its operations, intrigues, and machinations. Revealing the manner in which it controls three important departments of the United States government. A defense of the U.S. Army, and a solution of the Indian problem. By T.H. Tibbles