The collection consists of a Chinese banknote, joss paper money and clothing, a calendar, and a print, all dating from the late nineteenth century.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
NAA MS 7414
USNM Accession 89606
Objects from the Thayer collection are held in the Department of Anthropology object collections, and by the Department of Vertebrate Zoology and the National Museum of American History.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Works of art
MS 7414 Alice Tracy Thayer collection of Chinese banknotes, joss paper, and prints, 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.