Contents: Words and lists of days, months and years and other time divisions, approximately 100 pages. (includes Maya, Aztec, etc.) Color adjectives, 8 pages. Totemic clans of all tribes, 37 pages. Personal names (Chiefs, etc.), 25 pages. (Personal names of "Knisteneaux or Crees, Shawnee, Crow, Dakota, Arikaras, Cheyennes, Blackfeet, Piegan, Menomoni, Peoria, Otawa, Sauk").
Identified, unless otherwise designated, from photograph in U. S. Census, Report on Indians Taxed and Not Taxed, 1894, ff page 358, dated 1891. Identifications as follows: (left to right, seated): 1. Four Horns 2. Little Bear 3. Running Crane 4. Little Dog. Standing: 1. White Calf 2. George Steel, U.S. Indian Agent 3. Brocky (BAE 390) or Tail Feather Coming Over the Hill 4. Shorty White Grass (BAE 373-a) 5. Joseph Kipp, Mandan Trader.
Original Negative damaged.
Black and white gelatin glass negative
DC? -- Washington?
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Photo Lot 80, Charles Milton Bell photographs of Native Americans, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The Meyer collection consists primarily of lantern slide and glass plates negatives made by Meyer among the Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke) and Pikuni (Piegan) in Montana on the Crow and Blackfeet Reservations, perhaps in1902 and in 1904. The Apsáalooke and Pikuni lantern slides and negatives are mostly informal, outdoor portraits of men and women in traditional clothing, but they also depict camps and ceremonials and even buffalo herds. In addition, there are depictions of Ute, Niitsitapii (Blackfoot/Blackfeet), Nimi'ipuu (Nez Perce), Numakiki (Mandan), and Ojibwa individuals. He made the Numakiki photographs on the Fort Berthold Rerservation in North Dakota. The collection also contains landscape views made in Yosemite Valley, California, and British Columbia and cityscapes of Juneau, Alaska. Although Meyer likely photographed the vast majority of the items in the collection, it is unlikely that he created all of them. For example, there are many studio portraits that an amateur such as Meyer lacked the studio space, equipment, and experience to make. In addition, there is at least one glass plate negative of a Fred Miller Crow Reservation photograph and several that appear to be by Cree photographer Richard Throssel, who also made photographs on the Crow Reservation. The five prints (one of these--assigned a print number--is in fact a newspaper clipping announcing the death of Ka-Be-Na-Gway-Wence or Meet-Ka-Be-Nah-Gway) are certainly not by Meyer. Of interest here is a photograph depicting Goyathlay (Geronimo) in later life wearing traditional Chiricahua Apache clothing, including his headdress. Most of the negatives are on glass but some of them are film copies of the glass negatives and lantern slides.
Lantern slides: organized in envelopes; arranged by image number
Negatives: organized in envelopes; arranged by negative number
Relatively little is known about Fred R. Meyer (1874-1939), but from his photographic record it is clear that he was an amateur photographer who traveled extensively throughout the western United States, particularly in Montana and North Dakota possibly from 1890 to 1915. A handful of his Montana photographs were given to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center by Meyer's friend William P. Sargent. Meyer's notations on the versos of these prints are dated either 1902 or 1904. According to the Historical Center's records, Meyer was a surveyor but other sources indicate that he (also) worked as a butcher. It has also been suggested that he was associated in some way (perhaps as a clerk) with the Indian agencies that served the Apsáalooke, Pikuni, and Numakiki reservations. He apparently also photographed in Pine Ridge in 1907 and collected objects in Wyoming and Montana. On January 19, 1914, he gave a lantern slide lecture at the Rochester Historical Society entitled "Indian Life and Customs in the Great Northwest," and it appears that he was either originally from or eventually settled in Rochester. In addition, in 1913 he may have corresponded with Joseph Keppler. In the letter, he thanks Keppler for a book and a gun and states that he was pleased to give Keppler the medicine teeth, some of which he also planned to give to "Mr. Pepper" (George Pepper?).
Gift of Mrs. Fred R. (Hattie M.) Meyer.
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Copyright: National Museum of the American Indian
Crow Indians -- Montana -- Crow Indian Reservation -- Photographs Search this
Piegan Indians -- Montana -- Great Blackfeet Reservation -- Photographs Search this
Mandan Indians -- North Dakota -- Fort Berthold Indian Reservation -- Photographs Search this
Fred R. Meyer collection of lantern slides, negatives, and photographic prints, 1890-1915, National Museum of the American Indian Archives, Smithsonian Institution (negative, slide and catalog number).
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Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation Records, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Subject identified 5/66 by Nora Spanish and Mae Williamson, South Piegans of Browning, Montana and transmitted by Claude Schaeffer, Museum of the Plains Indian (cf. also negative 420-a). A Piegan Indian wearing a Dakota style dress. (J.C. Ewers, April 1966).
Negatives 4700 through 4712 were made by R.W. Reed on an excursion sponsored by the Great Northern Railroad for the purpose of making photographs to be used in their advertising. Thus, though much of the equipment and dress of the Indians is traditional these photographs do not accurately portray the Blackfoot life style. The setting of the trip, Glacier National Park was, no doubt, selected for its scenic attraction, but in reality the Blackfoot never camped or hunted in the mountains, and when traveling went through them as quickly as possible. For, according to their tradition the mountains were the homes of the spirits. Information from J.C. Ewers, 9/70 JCS.
Date not recorded; ca. 1905 in judgement of Indian informants on Blackfoot Reservation, Browning, Montana, 1966.
Identified by Mae Williamson, and others on the Blackfoot Reservation, Browning, Montana, as "Lazy Boy, South Piegan Indian and informant of John Ewers in the early 1940's. He carries a part of the regalia of the Dove Society. The date is estimated as around 1905." -- Letter of Claude Schaeffer, Museum of the Plains Indian, Browning, 6/10/66.
Print from which this negative was made was marked, "Lazy Bear Hunter, Blackfeet Chief, Oklahoma," evidently an error. Comment by J.C. Ewers, 6/7/61: The headdress is not tribally distinctive.* The belt and quiver look to me more like Assiniboine or Crow than Blackfoot. Nevertheless, this man might be a Blackfoot Indian, although I don't recognize the individual and the apparent name 'Lazy Bear Hunter.' It wasn't unusual at this period for a man to own and wear 'Indian costume' from several tribes including fine pieces given him by visitors from other tribes as well as ones made by his own."*Same headdress apparently being worn by two other individuals in Negatives 4701, 4702, apparently made at same place.--MCB, 1966.
Postcard of this seen by John O'Leary, 1963, marked, "Lazy Boy, Blackfoot from Glacier, Montana; copyright by Roland Reed."