Photographs by John N. Choate mostly documenting the United States Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The images include portraits of students, parents, staff and other visitors, as well as interior and exterior images of the school, buildings, and classrooms. Choate also had a thriving commercial practice outside of the Indian School, producing studio portraiture as well many photographs of buildings, farms and industry in and around the town of Carlisle, as well as images of Dickinson College. Some of the photographs in the collection were made by other photographers and perhaps collected by Choate. A few copper plates prepared for publications are also included in the collection.
John N. Choate (1848-1902) was a commercial photographer in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The United States opened its first non-reservation government-supported school there in 1879 under the supervision of Lt. Richard Henry Pratt. Choate photographed almost every student upon arrival and during their school career, as well as school activities, staff, and visiting chiefs and families. Choate remained the primary photographer for the Carlisle Indian School until his death in 1902.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 81-12
Contact prints made by Smithsonian Institution, 1981.
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Additional Choate photographs held in National Anthropological Archives MS 4241, MS 4537, MS 4544, MS 4574, MS 4988, Photo Lot 73-8, and Photo Lot 90-1.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Photo lot 81-12, John N. Choate photographs of Carlisle Indian School, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The bulk of the collection consists of portraits of identified Native Americans and some government officials and interpreters. It includes cabinet cards, other mounted prints, newspaper articles, illustrations, and a photographic postcard. Depicted individuals include American Horse, Oglala; Black Hawk, Sauk; Bob Tail, Cheyenne; Crowfoot, Hunkpapa; Gaul, Hunkpapa; Geronimo, Chiricahua; John Grass, Teton; Chief Joseph, Nez Perce; Little Wound, Oglala; Medicine Bull, Hunkpapa; Osceola, Seminole; Ouray, Ute; Litte Raven, Arapaho; Plenty Coups, Crow; Pocahontas, Powhatan; Rain in the Face, Hunkpapa; Red Cloud, Oglala; Red Iron, Dakota; Short Man, Piegan; Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa; Standing On Prairie, Siouan; Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant), Mohawk; Two Guns White Calf, Piegan; Two Moon, Cheyenne; and Washakie, Shoshoni.
29 drawings and 34 pages of typed explanatory text, formerly bound together, now disbound, plus an identifying title page handwritten by Albert Gatschet and one drawing on ruled paper. The explanatory text was transcribed from Gatschet's notebook, No. 2016-b, with corrections by Gatschet. T.p. inscribed: "Crayon Pictures of Cheyenne Ceremonial Customs and Implements. Drawn by Wuxpais or Daniel Littlechief, son of the present headchief of the Cheyenne Indians of South Dakota, at the Pine Ridge Agency. Explained by notes obtained from the same Indian by Albert S. Gatschet." The last drawing in the volume is signed "T.D. Little Chief," but cannot be identified as a drawing by Daniel Little Chief. Subjects include ceremonial items, name glyphs, painted tipis, and illustrations of Cheyenne customs. A nearly identical set of drawings by Daniel Little Chief is located at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Information provided by Candace Greene.
Biographical / Historical:
Daniel Little Chief, a.k.a. Wuxpais (?-1906), was a Northern Cheyenne warrior whose band of Cheyenne were sent south to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation in Indian Territory after their surrender, traveling there between 1878-1879. In 1881 this band moved north to the Pine Ridge Agency in South Dakota. In 1891 Daniel Littlechief inherited the role of head chief from his father and remained in South Dakota until his death in 1906. For more information see "American Indian Painters: A Biographical Dictionary" by Jeanne Snodgrass 1968, New York: Museum of the American Indian.
Albert S. Gatschet (1832-1907) was educated in his native Switzerland and in Germany (University of Bern [Ph.D., 1892]); University of Berlin. Early in his career, he pursued antiquarian research in European museums and wrote scientific articles. Among his interests was the etymology of Swiss place names. After coming to the United States in 1869, he worked on the American Indian vocabularies collected by Oscar Loew, of the United States Geological Survey West of the 100th Meridian (Wheeler Survey). Eventually John Wesley Powell employed him as an ethnologist with the United States Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Regions. When it was founded in 1879, he joined the staff of the Bureau of American Ethnology and continued there until he retired in 1905. For the Powell Survey, Gatschet researched the ethnography of the Klamath in Oregon and the Modoc in Oklahoma. He also collected Native American material objects and investigated special problems for Powell's classification of the American Indian languages north of Mexico, working on languages of the Southeast, including groups forcibly settled in the southern Plains. He not only visited well known tribes but also searched out small groups, including the Biloxi and Tunica. He also worked with the Natchez, Tonkawa, Chitimacha, and Atakapa in the United States and Comecrudo and several other small groups in northern Mexico. Through library research, he studied the Timucua, Karankara, and the Beothuk. During the later part of his career, Gatschet was assigned comparative work on all the Algonquian languages. Although the project was never completed, he collected much about many of the languages, especially Peoria, Miami, and Shawnee. In addition, he worked with members of diverse tribes of the eastern United States. For more information, see NAA finding aid located at http://www.nmnh.si.edu/naa/guide/_g1.htm#jrg575
NAA MS 2016-a
Varying Form of Title:
Crayon pictures of Cheyenne ceremonial customs and implements / drawn by Wuxpais or Daniel Littlechief ... ; explained by notes from the same Indian by Albert S. Gatschet
United States South Dakota Pine Ridge Agency.
United States South Dakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.