The Photographers & Collector

Medicine Pipe Chief, La-hak'-tau-du-he-sha-a-du. Chief, Grand Pawnee Nation. Portrait by Julian Vannerson and Samuel A. Cohner, 1858. PM 2004.1.125.32
Pretty Rock, T-kan-was-te. Yankton Dakota. Portrait by A. Zeno Shindler, 1867. PM 2004.1.144.7
Group of Ponca chiefs. From left to right: Lone Chief (Ash-nom-e-kah-ga-he), Standing Buffalo (Ta-ton-ga), Iron Whip (Wi-ga-sa-pi), and Fast Walker (Was-eh-com-ma-ni). Portrait by A. Zeno Shindler, 1867. PM 2004.1.144.71

The albumen and salt prints in this exhibit were taken between 1857 and 1868. The 1857 and 1858 portraits were photographed by Samuel A. Cohner and Julian Vannerson of the James McClees Studio on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. In 1867, the studio and its collection of negatives were sold to Robert W. Addis, with A. Zeno Shindler serving as head photographer. Shindler continued the tradition of photographing visiting Indian delegates and selling the portraits to the general public as 6" x 8" prints. No information about the relationships between the Indian delegates and the photographers has been discovered.

Many of the portraits exhibited here are identified in Shindler's bound catalogue of 1869.  All prints exhibited here were donated to the Peabody Museum in 1904 by the estate of M.P. Kennard (1865-1937). The Smithsonian Institution holds the glass-plate negatives of the original portraits in its collections, and it was this same body of photographs that was the subject of the institution's first photographic exhibit in 1869.