Black Bear portrait   Save
Black Bear portrait
Description: Portrait photograph of Black Bear, a chief of the Lakota people, seen posing with a pipe and wearing a feather in his scalplock. His hair is braided in strips of cloth whose ends are draped over his right forearm. He wears a scarf or neckerchief tied at the front and held by a shell-like clasp. According to an article in "Nebraska History," the magazine of the Nebraska Historical Society, the photographer who took this image likely was Daniel S. Mitchell. He left his studio and family in Boston and departed for the Black Hills area around 1874. He had a photography studio in Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory, from 1876 to 1877. He formed a partnership with another photographer, Joseph H. McGowan, 1877, that was supported by Gatchel & Hyatt, a firm in St. Louis, Missouri. (Gatchel & Hyatt also had branches in Louisville and in Cincinnati.) The two men worked as traveling photographers who set up a tent studio in towns along the Union Pacific Railroad route. In early fall 1877 Mitchell is believed to have traveled to the Red Cloud Agency in northwestern Nebraska and photographed portraits of Dakota and Arapahoe Indian chiefs. This portrait of Black Bear is included in that group. Mitchell, McGowan, & Co. settled in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1878, but the partnership dissolved in the fall of that year. The back of this card reads: "Mitchell & McGowan, Traveling Photographers. Headquarters, Gatchell & Hyatt, No. 11 South Fifth Street. St. Louis, Mo." A line written in pencil reads: " J. F. Bush 1882." The name "Black Bear" also is penciled on the the back. The Smithsonian Institution's National Anthropological Archives has a undated stereoscopic photograph titled "Twenty-four Portraits of Chiefs, Most in Partial Native Dress with Pipes." The photographic, which resembles a small portrait gallery, includes an image of Black Bear in a slightly different pose. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: AL03833
Subjects: American Indians--Portraits; American Indian history and society; Clothing and dress; Oglala Indians; United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Red Cloud Agency
Places: St. Louis (Missouri)