Thunderbird Park, Vancouver Island, 1958

Photo, snapshot with white border, June 1958, Vancouver Island, BC

Price:  $5.00       Size:  About 3 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/2″

Tourists in June 1958 posing at the foot of a totem pole (not sure if this particular one is still there) and in front of the Mungo Martin House which was built in 1953.

Mungo Martin. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mungo_Martin. (accessed March 14, 2020).

1950 Victoria 10th International Salon of Photography

Print of notice of photography show, October 1950.

Price:  $4.00            Size:  4 and 1/8 x 4 and 3/4″

A third in a short totem pole theme, an ad for the 10th International Salon of Photography that was probably one of many that were printed and handed out around town, at the event, or both. According to the article below, from The Victoria Daily Times, the show had both a color and black and white section. The color slide show included  “exhibits of photographers from many parts of the world”  featured 187 slides and was held in the Esquimalt Community Hall on Sturdee St., in Esquimalt Township, British Colombia.

And on the back of the ad there appears the following, a signature? which was darkened in Photoshop. Was it from anyone famous in the photography world? (Just kidding…..or maybe not.)

Source:  ” Color Photo Exhibit.”  The Victoria Daily Times. (Victoria, British Columbia) October 28, 1950. Saturday, p. 22. (Newspapers.com)

Afraid To Go Near It

Divided back, unused postcard. Artist:  William Standing. Publisher:  Dennis Delger. 1948. Western Stationery Co., Yachats, Oregon.

Price:  $7.00

“Me Too But I’m Afraid To Go Near It.”

A humorous card of a totem pole and two dogs….taken from the original etching by Indian artist, William Standing (1904 – 1951).

Source:  William Standing. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Standing (accessed March 1, 2020.).

Totems At Ketchikan Ball Park

Old photo, circa 1930s, white border.

Price:  $10.00

Yes, the focus is not great, we’ll agree with whoever it was that wrote the description on the back. There are a few commercial photos (a good thing, for sure!) that we found online, that are much better, and actually show the rest of the poles that were standing to our left as we gaze into the shot. But there’s always something about an image from someone’s personal camera, well for one thing, because they’re unique (excepting the person made duplicates, of course) and probably also because we get a sense of being with that one individual as they took the photo, so it seems more personal.

Screen shot below right, from a Google search shows one such commercial photo, for sale on eBay, as of our post going up today. The photographer’s surname was Schallerer.

But the curious thing (to anyone who may not know the history of the city) is that there was a baseball field at the park that was comprised of part of the beach, which was underwater when the tide was in. We’re not sure where the ball field was in relation to the totems, but apparently the tide flats were the best place (at the time) to host games, due to the topography of the area.

Below, a January 1932 clipping from a Bristol, Tennessee newspaper regarding the end of the tide-flats ball field. And we appreciate the unknown author’s turn of a phrase, conjuring images of ballplayers that had been……

Cavorting in water up to their knees

Sources:  Google.com screen shot result for search under “old photos by Schallerer of Ketchikan.” March 1, 2020.

“Alaska ‘Tide’ Ball Park to Wet No More Players.”  The Bristol Herald Courier. (Bristol, TN). January 2, 1932. Saturday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

Allen, June. “100 Years of Baseball in Ketchikan!” Stories in the News. April 26, 2003, Saturday 12:30 a.m. http://www.sitnews.net/JuneAllen/Baseball/042603_100_years.html. Accessed March 1, 2020.

http://www.sitnews.net/JuneAllen/Baseball/042603_100_years.html

Two Guns White Calf

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Copyright Hileman. Photographer:  Tomar Jacob Hileman. NOKO stamp box.

Price:  $10.00

John Two Guns White Calf (1872 – 1934) was the son of White Calf; the father is said to have been the last of the Pikuni (a.k.a. Piikáni, Peigan, Piegan) Blackfoot chiefs and, as such, was involved in the sale of Blackfeet land that would become part of Montana’s Glacier National Park. Son, John “Two Guns,” and some of the other members of the park area Blackfoot tribe, became known as “the Glacier Park Indians” through their work for the Great Northern Railway via its campaign to promote the park (thus promoting the railway and its related business properties.)  Through his travels and also his work as a greeter at the park, Two Guns White Calf became one of the most recognizable American Indians of his time; this was due in part to an advertising opportunity that had fallen into the lap of the railroad:  the noted similarity between Two Guns and the Indian on the Buffalo nickel. It’s a great story, but not one that is based in fact, and that’s part of the fascination in both past and present:  how the story came about and that the point of view is still propagating today.

Below, an early news clippings found in the Inter-Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) November 1912:

 

A skillfully orchestrated hoax

Pull up numerous historical newspaper articles on Two Guns and you can find phrases like “image is on” and “posed for” in relation to the coin, and true, Two Guns’ profile is remarkably similar to the image on the nickel……but absolutely not when looking at the shape of the nose. Two Guns’ nose was quite distinctive. (I’ve borrowed this word from someone and don’t remember quite where.) It juts downward at the bump (not the technical term, I know), as you can see in the postcard, even though his image there is not in perfect profile. Comparing his profile with that of the nickel image should lead anyone new to the topic to immediate skepticism and to dig in to further research, if needed. But, how did the story get started in the first place? See an explanation by journalist and author Ray Djuff, in an article that appeared in Coins Magazine, February 27, 2013:  “The Big Nickel Lie; Two Guns’ Famed Mug Not Used,” and see the newspaper articles appearing further below, for a little additional background.

Production of the Buffalo nickel ran from 1913 – 1938.

Below, some images of Two Guns containing some better profile shots from a Google search:

A composite

The nickel’s sculptor, James Earle Fraser, also famous as the artist who sculpted “The End of the Trail,” clearly stated that the Indian on the nickel was not one man but a composite; naming Chief Iron Tail of the Ogalala Sioux and Chief Two Moons of the Northern Cheyenne, and a third and maybe fourth that he couldn’t remember. He also stated that Two Guns was not one of the models, nor had he ever met him, but it seems the statement about the unremembered other name or names is one reason the legend has lingered.

Below left, one of the quotes from Fraser, appearing December 1935 in Davenport, Iowa’s Quad-City Times. Below center and right, two excerpts from journalist Elmo Scott Watson, appearing in a March 1938 article in The Times-Independent (Moab, Utah). The clip on the right includes a quote from “…Hoke Smith Western development agent of the Great Northern Railroad…” (See the Ray Djuff link above on “Hoke” Smith).

Many roads to travel

The life of Two Guns would make for a great book (and one may already be in the works). In general, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to do justice to anyone really, in a (somewhat) short blog-type entry, but especially so in the case of Two Guns, because of his “association with” the Buffalo nickel, and because there is so much more to explore in context with the times:  to name just a few topics, the Great Northern Railway history, publicity and the American Indian, see for instance, Two Guns’ mention in authors LaPier and Beck’s City Indian:  Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893 – 1934, the history of the nickel itself, with the public reportedly clamoring to know the name of the Indian on the coin when it came out. (FYI, there was an original version of the coin, and then a “do-over” because portions of the design, specifically the “five cents,” was thought to be too indistinct; there’s the fact that not everyone loved the design of the buffalo, as some thought the animal had a forlorn, hang-dog kind of look, though if one took that view, it could be seen as historically fitting because of the buffalo’s slaughter in the wake of “progress;” and comically, in one newspaper journalist’s opinion, if you viewed the buffalo on an angle it looked like the face of a man.) Another aspect to explore in the life of Two Guns is his own stated belief that it was his visage on the coin. (He was not the only Indian claiming that it was their own likeness, of course, so there’s another major road, highway really, to explore.) But one wonders, not meaning to offend any of his descendants, if Two Guns really thought so, or if he might have privately viewed it as a “useful open-ended possibility” in any dealings he might have with the U.S. government in relation to the rights of the Blackfeet. That’s only my uneducated thought and one not necessarily adopted, and to be thorough, the history of the beliefs and ideology of the Blackfeet might also be explored. And because we’d like to know more about the man himself, to touch on the subject of family life, it was remarked in a newspaper article that he and his wife had a tender relationship when he cancelled an appearance at a New York reception to stay with her on a day that she didn’t feel well. By the way, a wonderful interview by Two Guns’ wife, who was described as “vivacious and loquacious,” can be read of her thoughts in 1913 on the modern women of New York. In answer to the reporter’s questions, she found New York women pretty, at the same time wondering at their restrictive clothing, fashion v. freedom and energy flow, noting how the “hobble skirt” that was currently in vogue, reminded her of how “when we want to keep our ponies from running off we hobble them,” and spoke in general, about the importance for women of having fresh air, un-restrictive clothing, work, and not necessarily marriage, but friendship.

Modern joys and pitfalls

The succession over the years of the many newspaper articles alone on Two Guns White Calf and the nickel is thought-provoking, not only in transporting us back to the past, seeing the similarities in reporting today v. then, getting a feel for how a myth evolved, but also in highlighting (once again) the wonder and pitfalls of the fast-paced world we now live in:  Don’t happen to have a Buffalo nickel stashed away in a drawer? Online, and bingo, there it is, and you don’t even need a magnifying glass to get a good view. But the pitfall:  with such instant information at our fingertips via the internet, it’s only natural that we’ve come to expect quick answers. I totally get this. Research is painstaking. I have boxes of photos, postcards, etc. waiting to go up on this website. (Rubbing hands together in anticipation.) Beauties, each a doorway into another dimension, and that feeling that there is never enough time. So, especially in Two Guns’ case, if one were doing a quickie post but sincerely wanting to check some sources like old newspaper articles, one could be forgiven (always, who’s perfect?) in posting misinformation or at the very least putting up a more limited view of a multi-level topic. It’s a great example of how a quickie look at something can lead us down the primrose path resulting in unknowingly becoming both victim and propagator in the “wrong info begets wrong info” trap. Even with pretty extensive research, there are dangers; for example, any archivist or genealogist will tell you that all sources need to be explored (though we can’t always know what “all” is) as it’s sometimes that one census record that one didn’t bother to hunt down, or that one whatever, that turns out to be a game-changer, as in:  “Oh, a prior marriage….so such-and-such was not the maiden name,” or “OMG, this person was adopted.” But jumping down from this soapbox, my short-ish post on Two Guns is obviously not the biggest picture either, but rather just a part of a many-faceted likely as-yet-undiscovered whole.

In closing, we love the tongue-in-cheek expression, “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story” and variations thereof (He never lets the facts….) but in the case of John Two Guns White Calf, the truth makes a better story than the myth. We hope the book gets written.

Sources:  Piegan Blackfeet. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piegan_Blackfeet (accessed December 11, 2017).

John Two Guns White Calf. May 21, 2012. nativeheritageproject.com. (accessed November 25, 20017).

“Did the Indian, Two Gun White Calf, pose for the Indian head on the buffalo nickel?” Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa). December 10, 1935. Tuesday, p. 12. (Newspapers.com).

Buffalo nickel. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_nickel (accessed November 25, 2017).

“Images of Two Guns White Calf.” Google.com. Accessed December 14, 2017.

“Indian Guests in Hill Box Party.” The Inter-Ocean. (Chicago, Illinois). November 19, 1912. Tuesday, p. 12.

James Earle Fraser (sculptor). n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Earle_Fraser_(sculptor). (accessed December 12, 2017).

Djuff, Ray. “The Big Nickel Lie; Two Guns’ Famed Mug Not Used.” February 27, 2013. Coins Magazine. (accessed at NumisMaster.com. November 25, 2017).

LaPier, Rosalyn R.Beck, David R. M. City Indian:  Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893 – 1934. University of Nebraska Press. May 31, 2015.

“Buffalo Nickel Now Creating A Lot Of Trouble.” The Lima Daily News (Lima, Ohio). January 26, 1914. Monday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“The New Five-Cent Piece. Indian and Buffalo Design Defended by an Admirer.” The New York Times. March 5, 1913. Wednesday, p. 16. (Newspapers.com)

Marshall, Marguerite Mooers. ” ‘New York Women Heap Nice to Look At,’ Mrs. Two Guns White Calf Explains.” The Arkansas Gazette. (Little Rock, Arkansas). March 31, 1913. Monday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com)

Indian Post Souvenirs, Algonac, Michigan

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa late 1940s – early 1950s. EKC stamp box.

Price:  $25.00

What is revealed…

There’s a lot to take note of in this vintage RPPC of the Indian Post souvenir shop, Algonac, Michigan:  First and foremost, the two men posing for the photo, one in full headdress; then the address on the building of 717 – this may have been Michigan St. or St. Clair River Dr; the hand-painted artwork on wood of the Indian maiden (love it); the “Railway Express Agency – Packages Received Here” sign, the striped folding deck chairs on the lawn, and how about the very cool window silhouette of the guy on our right? Then there’s the small sign behind him that we can’t read – that looks like part of a wing there; the U.S. souvenir-type flag in the window, and little plastic “windmills” – maybe this was taken around Memorial Day or Fourth of July. And, we impart this fact to you, the readers – this postcard was made from a photo that had some folds in it. The card itself is in great condition, but note the three vertical creases at the top, in the image.

Probably in 2022…

If it’s of great import (for sure, why not?) the shop owner’s name will probably turn up on the 1950 Federal Census, but that won’t be out till April of 2022. City directories for the area were not found online; maybe they exist at a local library. But in moving over to search Newspapers.com we hit the jackpot with a full page spread on Algonac (Chris-Craft enthusiasts you already know the connection) in Port Huron’s, The Times-Herald, (the River Section) dated July 21, 1950, with the photo below.

Proprietor in “chief”

The Times-Herald photo showing the Post’s owner with two potential buyers, and displaying some of the baskets the store was known for. Our shop owner then, is the man on our left in the postcard image, up top. We also now know that the Indian Post was situated between two buildings. The Railway Express sign is still up, visible just next to the 5-story birdhouse…..and as for that particular item for sale, who bought it, is it still happily in use, and if so where?…Picturing the now grown-up kid contacting us with a great story to tell….the day he met the “chief” and his parents bought the bird condo. Stranger things have happened!

Two clippings from the article

Algonac, Michigan on the Saint Clair River

Sources:   “Color A-Plenty Awaits Visitors In Lovely Algonac.”  The Times-Herald (Port Huron, MI) Wednesday, July 21, 1950. p. 90. (Newspapers.com)

Algonac, MI 48001. Google.com map. (accessed May 25, 2017).

Further reading:  Walpole Island First Nation. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpole_Island_First_Nation (accessed May 25, 2017).

Bkejwanong. Walpole Island. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~ksands/Warpole.html. (accessed May 28, 2017).

Picking Flower, Near Mississippi Headwaters, Minnesota

Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1950s.

Price:  $15.00

This Real Photo Postcard is one of (at least) four that we see that had been taken, circa 1950s, of an Indian woman named Picking Flower. The other three vintage cards are currently on ebay:  One shows a very similar view to the photo taken for this card, and the other two show Picking Flower standing at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, Minnesota, with captions. My guess is that she’s Chippewa, a.k.a. Ojibwe or Ojibwa, and it’s possible she might have been a member of the Mississippi River Band Chippewas, but of course, that is mere speculation. The artwork of flowers and leaves that she’s working on (or more likely it was some finished work that was used for the photo shoot) and that which adorns her dress, is very distinctive to Chippewa beadwork design (not to mention stunningly beautiful). Here’s a quick screen shot of a Google search for examples (note the similarity in the top right design to that in the postcard.)

And, if you enlarge the postcard image, you’ll notice the little pair of moccasins that’s attached to the dress (on her left) and the shells interspersed in the shoulder areas. Always the case, we get to wondering about the circumstances surrounding a photo session, about the person themselves, how they felt at the time, what the rest of their life was like. I think Picking Flower is maybe in her 50s, from the graying hair we note, and she looks like she was squinting a little from the sun, when the photo was taken.

Sources:  Mississippi River Band of Chippewa Indians. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mississippi_River_Band_of_Chippewa_Indians (accessed May 21, 2017).

“Images of Chippewa beadwork”  Google.com search. (accessed May 21, 2017).

Norge, Lappekone (Med Barn)

Divided back, unused postcard. Date unknown. Publisher:  Mittet & Co., A/S, Oslo, Norway. All rights reserved. Number or series:  3000/54.

Price:  $15.00

Norway, Lapp Wife With Child

The translation for the publisher’s description is just “Norway. Lapp wife” so we added med barn (with child) to the title to be correct for the view. And this is the perfect postcard for being (1.) the third in a short Norwegian theme (see prior two posts) and (2.) the first for Mother’s Day, this year.

A little about the publisher

Mittet & Co., A/S was started in 1899 by Ingebrigt Mittet (1875 – 1950) and carried on and expanded by his sons Knut and Søren Mittet. It was a major Norwegian publishing firm and produced thousands of postcards as well as books and art literature. It appears to have been sold in 1987, but in the 1950s about 15,000 to 20,000 negatives and some albums were sent to the Riksantikvaren (Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage) some of which then went to the Norwegian Folk Museum and Norwegian Technical Museum. The National Library took over the Mittet archived material in 2007. A/S is the abbreviation for Aksjeselskap, the Norwegian term for a stock-based company.

Northern lights

The indigenous Lapp people, Laplanders and People of the Reindeer, as the terms Westerners have traditionally known them by, are today referred to as the Sami, also spelled Saami or Sámi. They live in the region called Sápmi:  northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. And, we’ll not try to summarize further but instead share this Google search result (a picture says a thousand words, as maybe a jump start to further reading, or visiting in person?) for images of Sami people…the colors (!) the patterns, the beautiful faces, the reindeer….beauty in the northern light.

Life is in the details….

As per usual, you can click on all of Laurel Cottage’s images to enlarge them, but we added the two crops below, as they seemed to warrant scrutiny:  Look under the white printing and you’ll see the very faint original wording. You can see the rectangular outlines of the newer info, as if it was taped on. So, it says “Norge Lappekone” in the top image, that’s pretty easy to read, but for the “Mittet” one we’re not so sure. Maybe it says the same publisher, or maybe not, or maybe it holds the photographer’s name. See what you think….Oh (well, duh!) after further searching, it’s likely that the first word there is “Enerett” which in English is “all rights reserved.” It says the same on the reverse of the postcard. (Enerett:  Mittet & Co., A/S, Oslo.) So, darn, no great mystery solved, or anything exciting but it does hint at the card maybe being a more modern production of the same image. (Indeed, there’s another one out there that must of been the earlier version.) And, you can see that someone had x’d over the “Co.” and scribbled after it, probably to make the original wording less noticeable when they were adding the new.

Sources:  “Fotoarkivet etter postkortforlaget Mittet & Co.” Preus Museum. (www.preusmuseum.no) Accessed May 14, 2017.

Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_Directorate_for_Cultural_Heritage (accessed May 14, 2017).

Aksjeselskap. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aksjeselskap (accessed May 14, 2017).

Sami history. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sami_history (accessed May 14, 2017).

“images of Sami people” Google search. (accessed May 14, 2017).

Le Grand Chef Deskaheh

Le Grand Chef Deskaheh pc1Le Grand Chef Deskaheh pc2

Divided back, unused. French postcard. Circa 1917 – 1925.

Price:  $15.00

This one definitely ties in to the previous post:  An old French postcard in black and white, of a painting by N. George of Chief Deskaheh, the president of the Iroquois Council of Six Nations from 1917 – 1925:

“Le grand Chef Deskaheh. Délégué et président du Conseil des Six Nations Iroquoises.”

See the Wiki entry on Deskaheh or Levi General (1873 – 1925) which includes the photo below taken 1922. The painting shown on our postcard greatly resembles the photo  (courtesy Wikipedia, originally from the British newspaper The Graphic) so may have been created around the same time.

Deskaheh photo

See The Last Speech of Deskaheh for more.

But since we like to solve mysteries here, who was the artist (peintre or painter) N. George?  Hmmm, for now, this question remains a mystery. Below, an article from the Pittsburg Daily Post dated December 17, 1922.

Deskaheh article1Deskaheh article2

Sources:  Deskaheh. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deskaheh (accessed June 4, 2016).

The Last Speech of Deskaheh. Two Row Times. (accessed June 4, 2016).

“Protests Raid of Old Domain.” Pittsburg Daily Post. Sunday, December 17, 1922. p. 1 (newspapers.com)

Oneidas And Onondagas Parade Float

Oneidas Onondagas p1

Old photo, circa 1908 – 1912.

Price:  $15.00       Size:  About 4 and 1/8 x 3 and 1/8″

The occasion for this parade is unknown, possibly the 4th of July, or Memorial Day. The location is also unknown, though the most likely guess for a state would be New York , but we can date this old photo by the number of stars on the two U. S. flags that are draped, along with the bunting, from the building in the background. The flags show 46 stars:  Oklahoma was the 46th state and admitted to the Union on November 16, 1907 and New Mexico was the 47th, admitted on January 6, 1912. Officially, the United States did not adopt a new flag until the following 4th of July, however, flags were sometimes fashioned and flown or displayed ahead of the official date.

The central subject of the photo is a float by or to honor the Oneida and Onondaga Indians, members of the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations (Originally the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca with the Tuscarora having joined in the year 1722.) That appears to be a painting on canvas, perhaps of land or rocks, at the center of the circle of some of the clan figures:  the deer, wolf, bear, beaver, and is that a turtle in the front about to slip into the “water?” Members of the Oneida and Onondaga stand in traditional dress under the horseshoe shape banner, with the sun’s rays? shooting from the top and sides. Behind are a tepee, a figure of an Indian and a portion of a tree. It looks like a team of donkeys pull the float.

Other details:  Notice how almost everyone in the well-turned out crowd is wearing a hat (just true to the era.) Other things to pick out are the electric lights strung on both sides of the street, at least six old street lamps, and that many in the crowd are holding a piece of paper, maybe that’s an advertisement or handout for who was who in the parade.

Sources:  The 46 Star Flag. usflag.org. (accessed June 2, 2016).

47 Star Flag – unofficial – (U.S.) FOTW Flags of the World. (accessed June 2, 2016).

Iroquois Confederacy. October 19, 2015 (last updated). Encyclopaedia Britannica. (accessed June 2, 2016).

Additional reading:

Haudenosaunee Confederacy