The Florence Pulford collection includes both audio recordings and photographs that were made during the twenty years Pulford worked among Native American quilt makers in the 1970's and 1980's from Montana and the Dakotas. Quilt makers featured in this collection include; Ella First Kill Brown, Frances Weasel Woman Fox, Artie Crazy Bull, Almira Buffalo Bone Jackson and Regina Brave Bull.
Scope and Contents:
The Florence Pulford collection includes both audio recordings and photographs that were made during the twenty years Pulford worked among Native American quilt makers from Montana and the Dakotas. The bulk of the audio recordings, comprising of 65 audiocassettes, are interviews Pulford conducted with Native quilt makers on the Fort Peck and Fort Belknap reservations. Many of the interviews are with quiltmaker Almira Buffalo Bone Jackson and artisan Juanita Tucker. Topics range from the craft of quilt making to life and politics on the reservation. The photographs, which include negatives, slides and prints, contain images of quilts and quilt makers from the Fort Belknap, Fort Berthold, Fort Peck, Rocky Boys and Standing Rock reservations. Quilt makers include; Ella First Kill Brown, Frances Weasel Woman Fox, Artie Crazy Bull, Almira Buffalo Bone Jackson and Regina Brave Bull. Although the majority of the photographs depict quilts or quilt making, there are images of various landscapes and events Pulford visited as well as photographs of Pulford herself.
This collection has been arranged into two series, Series 1:Audiocassettes, 1978-1985, and Series 2:Photographs, 1968-1989. Series 2 is then divided into six subseries; Subseries 2a: Fort Belknap Reservation, Subseries 2b: Fort Berthold Reservation, Subseries 2c: Fort Peck Reservation, Subseries 2d: Rocky Boys Reservation, Subseries 2e: Standing Rock (Fort Yates) Reservation, Subseries 2f: Unidentified and Other.
Biographical / Historical:
Florence Pulford, nee Atwood, was born in Idaho in 1923. Pulford eventually settled in California with her husband and daughters and frequented Bar 717, a camp and working ranch, located in the Trinity Mountains of Northern California. It was while working as the director of the arts and crafts program at the Bar 717 camp when she first became acquainted with Frank Ereaux (Gros Ventre) and his family in 1968. Ereaux who had been working with horses on the ranch, invited Pulford to visit his family on the Fort Belknap reservation in Montana. During this visit Pulford received a quilt as a gift which launched a life-long interest in the quilts of the Plains tribes. Pulford began buying fabric and materials in California to send back to Native artisans in Fort Belknap, Fort Peck and other Montana reservations. Eventually Pulford built relationships with quilters that spanned into North and South Dakota reservations including Fort Berthold and Standing Rock (Fort Yates). In addition to purchasing quilts, Pulford would often snap pictures and record audio interviews about life on the reservation. Pulford would also sell quilts, using the proceeds to buy more fabrics and sending the remaining profits to the quilters. Pulford became very friendly with several quilters but developed a particularly close relationship with Almira Buffalo Bone Jackson, a member of the Red Bottom band of the Fort Peck Assiniboine, and prolific quilter. Almira and Florence kept up a strong correspondence up until Florence's death in 1989 and the age of 65.
In addition to visiting and working with Native quilters, Pulford gave lectures and put together exhibitions on Native American quilt work in Montana and the Dakotas at major museums and universities. Pulford's book, Morning Star Quilts, was published in 1989 by Leone Publishing with assistance from Diana Leone. The book illustrates the work of individual quilt makers as well as highlights the cultural and ceremonial significance of quilts among the Plains peoples. Following Pulford's death, daughters Ann Wilson and Sarah Zweng offered their mothers quilt collection, as well as supporting photographs and audio recordings, to the National Museum of the American Indian. The collection was acquired by NMAI in 2007.
Florence Pulford's quilt collection is now a part of NMAI's Modern and Contemporary Arts collection with catalog numbers 26/6034-26/6391. For access and information about these quilts please contact NMAICollections@si.edu.
This collection was donated by Ann Pulford Wilson and Sarah Pulford Zweng, daughters to Florence Pulford, in 2007.
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Due to their fragile nature, the audio cassettes in this collection are closed to researchers until they have been digitized.
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to email@example.com.