Archive for September, 2020

The Archives and Special Collections has added its collection of photographs published in 1882 by Bailey, Dix & Mead of Sitting Bull and his camp to the Digital Library of South Dakota (DLSD). The Bailey, Dix & Mead series is comprised of twenty-four views of Sitting Bull’s time as a prisoner of war at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory. (Of the twenty-four images in the series, the Archives and Special Collections holds fifteen.)

Bailey, Dix & Mead were the publishers of the series. The photographer? Was it W. R. Cross from Niobrara, Nebraska? Was it Stanley J. Morrow of Yankton? Although definitive formal documentation has not been found (Goodyear 32), many researchers have reached similar conclusions and believe that W. R. Cross was indeed the photographer.

Included in the Bailey, Dix & Mead series, is the familiar portrait of Sitting Bull:

A third portrait of Sitting Bull, which appears to be from the same time period and possibly the same photographer, can be found “published and photographed” as part of a series entitled: “Sitting Bull” and Camp, While held Prisoners of War at Fort Randall, D. T. by W. R. Cross. The image is number five in the series (shown here from the Everett D. Graff Collection of Western Americana, Newberry Library).

The topical photograph of this blog post (see first photograph above), Chilson Collection, Archives and Special Collections, has also been published in the DLSD and is an alternative pose that:

1 – appears on a W. R. Cross mount,

2 – is printed with the same text as found on the portrait of Sitting Bull in the Bailey, Dix & Mead series, and

3 – has a shadow of under-printing in the text which clearly reads “Niobrara, Nebraska,” the location of W. R. Cross’ studio at the time. The under-printing text also matches the Cross photograph in the “Sitting Bull” and Camp series.

The only other manifestation of this photograph that has been located thus far, appears in several places on a Stanley J. Morrow mount as a stereograph:

A rare Sitting Bull stereoview by S. J. Morrow

and as a single copy image in the Frank Bennett Fiske Collection, and also attributed to Morrow, at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. To make matters more complex, photographers of this time were known for copying other photographers’ works and placing them on their own mounts, sometimes “with” and sometimes “without” permission. Photographers would also sell and/or trade their negatives with one another. Tragically, both Cross’ and Morrow’s negatives were destroyed in fires, creating a significant barrier for analysis.

Does the Archives and Special Collections have the only version of this photograph on a Cross mount? Was this a test print or photographer’s proof? Are there other copies in libraries, archives, and private collections?

Does this add further evidence that Cross was the photographer for the images in the Bailey, Dix & Mead series, as well as this photograph? If so, how did Stanley J. Morrow come to reproduce it and sell it as his own?

And, why is this photograph of Sitting Bull so obscure and so hard to find?

— The Archives and Special Collections would like to thank Larry Ness, Bob Kolbe, and Frank Goodyear for generously sharing their time and expertise in the search for more information regarding this very special photograph.

Goodyear, F. (1996). The narratives of Sitting Bull’s surrender: Bailey, Dix & Mead’s photographic western. In S. E. Bird (Ed.). Dressing in feathers: The construction of the Indian in American Popular Culture (pp. 29-43). Boulder, Colo.: Westview. Main Collection / 3rd Floor E98. P99 D72 1998

Further reading:

Hurt, Wesley Robert, and William E. Lass. Frontier Photographer: Stanley J. Morrow’s Dakota Years. University of South Dakota Press, 1956. Main Collection / 3rd Floor TR140 .M6 H85

LaPointe, Ernie. Sitting Bull: His Life and Legacy. Gibbs Smith, 2009. McKusick Law Library, Native and Indigenous Peoples, Main Floor E99 D1 .S569 2009

Pope, Dennis C. Sitting Bull, Prisoner of War. South Dakota State Historical Society Press, 2010. Main Collection / 3rd Floor E99 .D1 S6129 2010


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The Archives and Special Collections has a 1970’s poster promoting the Library with the caption “Looking for a date? Visit the I. D. Weeks Library.” What do you think, can 1970s attitudes towards dating and women in universities be inferred from this poster? If so, are current attitudes the same or different?

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