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Abstract

The United States Indian School at Carlisle, Pa., was founded by Gen. Richard Henry Pratt in 1879, and served as a model for government boarding schools for Indians until its closure in 1918. Over 10,000 students enrolled at the Carlisle Training School during its 39 years, where, separated from their native cultures, the students were prepared for work in industrial and manual labor and socialized into "civilized" life. Given new white names to replace their Indian ones, the students were prohibited from speaking their native languages, were instructed in Christianity, and were fed, clothed, and housed under strict military discipline.

The 27 photographs in the Speck-Choate Photograph Collection were taken by J. N. Choate, a local commercial photographer in Carlisle, Pa., and collected by the anthropologist Frank G. Speck. Choate advertised "Photographs of all the Indian Chiefs that have visited the Indian Training School at Carlisle Barracks, also of children in native and school costumes" and were intended to document the benefits of civilization that the school brought to Indians. Typical images include "before and after" shots of students in native dress and school uniforms, the school band, and shots of the students at work in the saddle shop and making shoes. Choate also took a number of images of visiting chiefs in traditional dress, including the Lakota chief Spotted Tail, and the Cheyennes Man on Cloud and Mad Wolf. One photograph depicts Richard Henry Pratt seated with Quaker supporters. Among the tribes represented are the Lakota, Laguna, Cheyenne, Creek, Lipan, and Pueblo.

Background note

The United States Indian School at Carlisle, Pa., was founded in 1879 by Gen. Richard Henry Pratt, a Civil War veteran and former commander of the Buffalo soldiers of the 10th Cavalry. Through his experiences in the far west, Pratt developed a loathing for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which he regarded as hopelessly inefficient and corrupt, and he was led to develop his own solutions to the "Indian problem." After being appointed commander at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Fla., guarding over Kiowa, Cheyenne, and Arapaho hostages who refused to live on reservations, he had his first opportunity to act on his theories, which were intended as an alternative to extermination for both pacifying Indians and alleviating their social conditions.

Pratt's thoughts on Indian education drew upon disparate sources. Influenced by Quaker educators, who had eighty years of experience in attempting to instill white values in Indians, Pratt latched onto the idea of using boarding schools as a means of separating Indians from their native cultures and socializing them into "civilized" life, while preparing them for work in industrial and manual labor. Given new white names to replace their Indian ones, the students were prohibited from speaking their native languages, were instructed in Christianity, and were fed, clothed, and housed under strict military discipline.

For his first foray into Indian education, Pratt arranged for 17 Kiowa and Cheyenne prisoners at Fort Marion to enroll at the newly founded Hampton Institute, a school dedicated to providing a vocational, industrial education for freed slaves and Indians. At the same time, he lobbied the government to allow him to establish his own vocational school, receiving permission from the Department of the Interior during the summer of 1879 to use the abandoned barracks at Carlisle, Pa., for that purpose. That September, he recruited 82 Lakota students from the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Agencies, including five of Spotted Tail's sons, a daughter, and a granddaughter. Two of his Hampton students recruited other students among the Kiowa and Cheyenne, and on October 6, 1879, the first students of the Carlisle Training School took residence.

Over the course of its 39 years, over 10,000 students were enrolled at the Carlisle School drawn from tribes all across the continent. Until it closed in 1918, Carlisle served as a model for dozens of other boarding schools who adopted the concept of "civilizing the Indian" by stripping away Indian identity.

Scope and content

The 27 photographs in the Speck-Choate Photograph Collection were taken by J. N. Choate, a local commercial photographer in Carlisle, Pa., and collected by the anthropologist Frank G. Speck. Choate advertised "Photographs of all the Indian Chiefs that have visited the Indian Training School at Carlisle Barracks, also of children in native and school costumes" and were intended to document the benefits of civilization that the school brought to Indians. Typical images include "before and after" shots of students in native dress and school uniforms, the school band, and shots of the students at work in the saddle shop and making shoes. Choate also took a number of images of visiting chiefs in traditional dress, including the Lakota chief Spotted Tail, and the Cheyennes Man on Cloud and Mad Wolf. One photograph depicts Richard Henry Pratt seated with Quaker supporters. Among the tribes represented are the Lakota, Laguna, Cheyenne, Creek, Lipan Apache, and San Felipe Pueblo.

Choate's photographs are mounted on standard stock, include 19 cabinet cards and 8 boudoir cards. Although some of the photographs are titled by hand and signed by Choate, most have printed backmarks with a few including lists of other available images and advertising pitches.

Collection information

Provenance

Bequest of William Francis Gray Swann, 1962.

Preferred citation

Cite as: Speck-Choate Photograph Collection, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Recatalogued by rsc, 2004.

Related material

The Charles James Rhoads Papers (Mss.B.R34) contain a number of letters to and from Richard H. Pratt, founder of the Carlisle School.

Bibliography

Adams, David Wallace, Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928 (Lawrence: Univ. of Kansas Press, 1995).

Indexing Terms

Corporate Name(s)

  • United States Indian School (Carlisle, Pa.)--Photographs

Genre(s)

  • Albumen prints
  • Boudoir card photographs
  • Cabinet card photographs
  • Ethnographic photography

Personal Name(s)

  • Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902
  • Mad Wolf, Cheyenne Chief
  • Man on Cloud, Cheyenne Chief
  • Pratt, Richard Henry, 1840-1924
  • Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950
  • Spotted Tail, Brule Sioux Chief, 1823-1881
  • White Buffalo, Cheyenne Chief

Subject(s)

  • Cheyenne Indians--Photographs
  • Creek Indians--Photographs
  • Dakota Indians--Photographs
  • Indians of North America--Photographs
  • Laguna Indians--Photographs
  • Lipan Indians--Photographs
  • Pueblo Indians--Photographs


Detailed Inventory
Speck-Choate Photograph Collection
1879-1881 0.25 linear feet Box 1
1a. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
The first Indian boy who applied to Capt. Pratt -- Ft. Berthold, D. T., Sept. 19, 1878 -- for education at Hampton, Va., was called out of the medicine lodge painted and decorated as seen in the picture
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2644

1b. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Cheyenne, Walter Matches
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2645

1c. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Ki ot se (Mary Perry), Wat ye eh (Benj. Thomas) Koush te ah (John Menaul). No. 2 Laguna Pueblos
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2658

1d. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Justine La Framboise, Nancy Renville, Cheyenne Lucy, Anne Louisa
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2638

1e. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Spotted Tail, Sioux Chief
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2655

1f. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Miss Hyde and class
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2647

1g. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Ouray and wife Chipeta. Utes
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2649

1h. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Mary Ely, Jennie Hammaker, Taylor Ely, Frank Cushing, Zuni
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2639

1i. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Mattie Reid, Anna Menaul, John Menaul, Mary Perry, Benny Thomas, Lena Carr, Clara Guernsey, Julia Dorris, Harry Marmon, Jose Paisano, Lieut. Gov. of Laguna
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2661

2a. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Cheyennes. Man on Cloud, Mad Wolf
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2652

2b. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Capt. Pratt and Spotted Tail with [Quaker] Ladies from Philada.
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2643

2c. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Our boys and girls at the Indian Training School, Carlisle, Pa.
1881 Cabinet card Box 1

Title printed on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2657

2d. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
William Peary, Peoria
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2662

2e. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Indian boys at work in saddler shop at Indian Training School
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title printed on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2654

2f. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Indian boys at work in shoe-makers shop at Carlisle Barracks
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2666

2g. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Sheldon Jackson, John Shields, Harvey Townsend, Pueblos from San Felipe, NM
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2659

2h. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Jack and Kesseta. Lipans
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2660

2i. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Watti (Sheldon Jackson), Keise-te-wa (John Shields), He-re-te (Harvey Townsend), Not San Felippe Pueblos
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2663

2j. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Frank Cushing, Taylor Ealy, Mary Ealy, Jennie Hammaker, Pueblos
ca.1880 Cabinet card Box 1

Title printed on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2646

3a. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Indian students' brass band, Indian Training School
ca.1880 Boudoir card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2651

3b. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Sioux boys as they arrived at the Indian Training School, Carlisle Barracks, Oct. 5th, 1879
1879 Boudoir card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2642

3c. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
White Buffalo (Indian youth 18 years old with naturally gray hair). With Indian costume
ca.1880 Boudoir card Box 1

Title printed on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2650

3d. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Girls' quarters at the Indian Training School
ca.1880 Boudoir card Box 1

Title printed on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2656

3e. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Sioux boys as they arrived at the Indian Training School, Carlisle Barracks, Oct. 5, '79
1879 Boudoir card Box 1

Title written on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2653

3f. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Indian boys (from 16 different tribes) at the Indian Training School, April 20th 1880. (The ranks on the ground and lower porch show the same Sioux boys who appear in number 1).
1880 Boudoir card Box 1

Title printed on verso. Title refers to image number 3b.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2665

3g. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Group of 10 Creek boys in school uniform
ca.1880 Boudoir card Box 1

Title printed on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2664

3h. Choate, J. N. (John N.), 1848-1902 .
Group of 15 Creek girls in school uniform
ca.1880 Boudoir card Box 1

Title printed on verso.

This item has been digitized:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/graphics:2641