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BLUE EAGLE, ACEE (1907-1959), Papers and artwork

Acee Blue Eagle was a Pawnee-Creek artist, teacher, and celebrity. Born Alex C. McIntosh near Anadarko, Oklahoma, Blue Eagle attended Indian schools at Anadarko, Nuyaka, and Euchee, Oklahoma, and the Haskell and Chilocco Indian schools. Advanced study came at Bacone Indian College and the University of Oklahoma. At the latter, he studied with Oscar B. Jacobson. Privately he studied with Winold Reiss.

A prolific painter who, for the sake of authenticity, carried out research in libraries and museums, Blue Eagle was an outstanding American Indian artist of the 1930s-1950s. His paintings hung in many exhibits, including the Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts, 1931-1933; International Art Exhibition of Sport Subjects at Los Angeles, 1932; Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, 1934; a one-man show at the Young Galleries in Chicago; National Exhibition of Art at the Rockefeller Center in New York, 1936; a one-man show at the Washington, D.C., Arts Club, 1936; Museum of Modern Art, 1941; Northwest Art Exhibition at Spokane, Washington, 1944; a one-man show at the Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1953; An Exposition of American Indian Painters in New York, 1955; and a one-man show at the Philbrook Art C enter in Tulsa, 1957. Between 1946-1965, over fifty galleries hung his paintings. Some pieces are among the permanent holdings of many institutions.

In 1934, Blue Eagle joined the Work Projects Administration (WPA) Public Works of Art Project, painting murals in public buildings. In 1935 at Oxford University, he participated in a program of the International Federation of Education and lectured on Indian art. A tour of Europe followed. He taught at Bacone Indian College in 1935-1938, the University of Kansas extension division in 1949, and Oklahoma State Technical College beginning in 1956. During World War II, he served in the United States Army Air Force; and, following the war, he spent a few years attempting to get into the movies. During 1946-1952, he was he married to a Balinese dancer, Devi Dja, and became involved in her career, an involvement briefly reflected his art. During the 1950s, he had a television show for children on a Tulsa-Muskogee station.

The papers relate to both Blue Eagle's personal and professional life. Also included are materials of Blue Eagle's friend Mae Abbott and a collection of art by other Indians. There are considerable items of popular culture featuring American Indians, including greeting cards, auto windshield stickers, and postcards. The photographs include portraits of American Indian artists and performers, Indian gatherings (pow wows, the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial, and the American Indian Exposition at Anadarko, Oklahoma), and many portraits of Blue Eagle.

Correspondents include Mae Abbott, Fred Beaver, Bettina Blair, Francis Blackbear Bosin, Walter S. Campbell, Edward E. Dale, Angie Debo, Devi Dja, Brummett Echo-hawk, Charles H. Fairbanks, Norman Feder, Dorothy Field, Thomas Gilcrease, Allan C. Houser, Oscar Howe, Oscar B. Jackson, Pedro de Lemos, Alice Marriott, Solomon McCombs, Joe Medicine Crow, Eva Mirabel, Al Momaday, Charles E. Pond, Edward B. Rowan, Glen E. Shears, Nan Sheets, Riley Sunrise, Te Ata, and Roland Whitehorse.

List of artists included in the collection

DATES: 1935-1959

QUANTITY: ca. 12.2 linear meters (ca. 40 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: (1) Correspondence, 1935-1975; (2) fan letters, 1954-1955; (3) Devi Dja's correspondence, 1942-1948; (4) Mae Abbott's correspondence, 1948-1958; (5) newspaper clippings, 1930s-1970s; (6) scrapbooks; (7) exhibit catalogs; (8) labels; (9) honors and acclaims; (10) American Indian miscellany; (11) miscellany; (12) Blue Eagle art (sketches, incomplete paintings; completed paintings); (13) paintings by other American Indians; (14) greeting cards by Blue Eagle; (15) printing blocks; (16) greeting cards by other American Indians; (17) commercial greeting cards with American Indian subjects; (18) postcards with American Indian subjects; (19) photographs of Blue Eagle; (20) photographs of other American Indian artists; (21) miscellaneous photographs

FINDING AID: Register; list of artwork


The collection includes prints and negatives. The negatives are by a teacher who worked among the Seminoles of Florida. Various aspects of Seminole life are shown.

DATES: 1950s-1960s

QUANTITY: ca. 5000 items


FINDING AID: Reference prints; catalog by Mr. Boehmer.

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 18


The prints are in portfolios. They are of Kalmuk, Hottentot, Somali, East Indians, North American, and South American (Surinam) Indian subjects.  See next entry for remarks on Bonaparte.

DATE: Probably 1880s-1890s

QUANTITY: ca. 300

ARRANGEMENT: Portfolios by tribe or geographic area


CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 80-52


Prince Roland Bonaparte was the grandson of Lucien, the second brother of Napoleon Bonaparte. Forbidden by law to follow the military career he wanted, the prince turned to geography and other sciences. In anthropology, he was trained by Paul Broca. His first practical work in the field was to measure and have photographed natives of Surinam at the 1883 Colonial Exposition in Amsterdam. In 1884, he traveled to Finland to study Lapps and, in 1887, to Mexico, Canada, and the United States to study Indians. At the Paris World's Fair of 1889, Kalmuks and Hottentots became his subjects. He also sponsored expeditions to Africa, Asia, and the New World.

A collector of scientific specimens on a grand scale, by 1906 Prince Roland had amassed among other materials a collection of over 7000 negatives of anthropological interest. Some of these had been printed and distributed in portfolios. Examples are the portfolio of this collection and those in photographic lot 80-52 (see entry above). They were originally presented to the Anthropological Society of Washington.

DATE: No date

QUANTITY: 19 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 78-26


Bower was a librarian of the State of Wyoming. The lot consists of old gelatin prints of historical photographs. The subjects are Apache, Arapaho, and Shoshoni. Almost all are portraits, but there are a few encampments and other scenes. Captions are lacking.

DATES: Probably late nineteenth, early twentieth centuries

QUANTITY: 69 prints



CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 83-7


Charles M. Bell was the youngest member of a family of photographers who operated a studio in Washington, D.C., from around 1860 to 1874. This first Bell studio--Bell and Brother--originally involved two sons of Francis Hamilton Bell, Nephi and Thomas; but in time the father and other sons--William Hamilton, Jackson Wood, and Charles Milton--came into the business. The combination of family members who operated the studio was not stable over long periods, however, because of other ventures and deaths.

In 1873, Charles M. Bell established his own studio on Pennsylvania Avenue, and it rapidly became a fashionable place. Shortly after it opened, Ferdinand V. Hayden became a patron, sending Indian visitors in Washington to the studio for portraits (see Bureau of American Ethnology Collection of Glass Negatives of Indians). Although some have attributed Bell's Indian photographs to Hayden's photographer, William Henry Jackson, clearly Bell came to do most of the Hayden Survey's studio photography of Indians in Washington and made prints for the survey. Jackson may have interviewed the Indians for data he incorporated into catalogs of the survey's collection. Jackson may also have helped pose Bell's Indian subjects on occasion. He was too busy with his own field photographs, preparing models and exhibits, and working on publications to engage in much original photography during the short winter seasons when he was in the capital.

Bell also photographed Indians for the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of American Ethnology. Sometimes, he seems to have also photographed Indians for his own use. Thus he sold negatives to the government but retained others. It is possible that this work with Indians subjects continued after Bell's death when his wife, Annie ran the studio. She did not sell her photographs to the government.

When the Bell studio finally closed in 1909, the photographer I.M. Boyce acquired its negative collection. Boyce attempted to sell the Indian negatives to the Bureau of American Ethnology. It was not until the 1950s, however, that the BAE finally bought the negatives from Boyce's son. The set of prints that make up this collection was prepared as working material for identifying the Boyce negatives. They allow easy retrieval of some Bell images.

The Bell negatives of Indians, those originally acquired by the government and the Boyce collection, are among the collection of glass negatives of Indian subjects. Prints by Bell--some his own photographs and some photographs of others--are widely distributed throughout the collections. In addition, the archives holds a few negatives of Indian subjects made by the Bell and Brother studio.

Alexander Graham Bell acquired the other negatives by Bell (there are a few of Indians left in that group) because he believed they were a valuable source of Washington history. Eventually, the collection was deposited in the Library of Congress.

See appendix G, manuscript 4661 (p. 222) for other prints of the Bell-Boyce collection.

DATES: ca. 1870s-1890s

QUANTITY: 76 oversized prints and glass negatives

ARRANGEMENT: Numerical (numbers assigned by the archives)

FINDING AID: List prepared by comparing the images with images already in the archives.

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 80


Ed Brady collects photographs and postcards of Indians and other western subjects. Included are portraits of Black Eagle (Nez Perce), Susie Kop-lops (Umatilla), Charlie Van Pelt (Wishram), Hoosis-mox-mox (Paloos); Deer Tail (Dakota), and W.A. Russell (physician on the Crow Reservation). There are also copy prints of the Fort Peck Reservation School, ca. 1880; Poplar Indian Boarding School, 1887; Indian dancers; a 1909 reenactment of the Battle of the Little Big Horn; sweat lodge; and tipi interior. The collection also includes photographs by Ed Brady of the Chief Joseph Battlefield monument. Some photographs are by Lee Moorhouse; others are by G.F. Williams. Several photographers and subjects are unidentified.

The postcards show Southwestern subjects, including pottery.

DATES: ca. 1880s-1980s

QUANTITY: 26 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 90-8


Adolphe Braun was a pioneer photographer with studios in Paris and Dornach in Alsace. He was well known for images of celebrated pieces of art in European museums.

The collection consists of large prints of sculpture in the British Museum. The lot appears to have been in the United States National Museum Division of Old World Archeology. Also included is a portfolio of photographs, not identified as by Braun, showing British Museum antiquities from Egypt, Assyria, Greece, and Rome (S.F. Baird bequest--accession 57,117, catalog 284,371).

DATE: No date

QUANTITY: ca. 100 prints


FINDING AID: Computer-produced list indexed

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 79-34


The material consists of copy prints of selected images included in Photo Lot 80-41. There are many tribes, and many photographers are represented.

DATES: ca. 1850s-1870s

QUANTITY: 159 prints

ARRANGEMENT: Numerical (album and item number)


CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 80-54


The copies were received as working material during a project undertaken by the National Anthropological Archives and Museum of Man in London to exchange images and data about early American Indian photographs. The material includes images from the William Blackmore collection (see Bureau of American Ethnology Collection of Glass Negatives of Indians). Photographic images were received from the British Museum as a result of this project (see entry above).

DATE: Originals, 1850s-1870s (copies made in 1970s)

QUANTITY: ca. 800 leaves

ARRANGEMENT: Numerical (album, item numbers)


CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 80-41


The snapshots include Indians, an encampment, and views of a rodeo. Some photographs were taken during the Elbowoods fair.

DATE: 1931-1932

QUANTITY: 9 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 91-4


The photographs are a copy print and copy negative of Yuchi chiefs.

DATES: 1860s, 1950s

QUANTITY: 2 items

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 82-42


No information about Brownrigg has been found. His collection includes a diverse miscellany of slides, mostly hand colored. Included are photographs of paintings, views of everyday life, scenic views, markets, street scenes, architecture, wildlife hunting, and cowboys.

There are a very few photographs relating to American Indians. These include a Crow burial, an unidentified Pueblo ceremony, and mounted Indians at Eagle Butte on the Yellowstone River. There are also photographs made in Holland, Africa (?), Britain, France, and New York City. Among the American scenic views are several photographs made in Yellowstone National Park showing natural phenomena and tourist accommodations. There are also scenic views made in Colorado and the Teton Mountains, Badlands of North Dakota, and the Grand Canyon of Arizona. The latter include an image of Theodore Roosevelt.

The slides are by Art and Travel Company, George W. Bond (for the Santa Fe Railroad), Detroit Photographic Company, Frank Jay Haynes, T.H. McAllister, G.L. Nichols, Pancost and Hand, Scott and Van Altena, Sunset Engraving Company, and Underwood and Underwood.

DATES: Some 1908 (most undated)

QUANTITY: ca. 312 slides



CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 35


The items represent the Asian portion of the Brunner's around-the-world trip in 1927-1928. The Asian countries visited include Korea, Japan, Manchuria, China, Philippines, and Singapore. The photographs include many subjects: costumes, buildings, trades and commerce, markets, village and city scenes, laundering, child care, food, food preparation, churches, shrines, schools, dances, transportation, and fishing. The representations of the different countries is very uneven, there being a full range of subjects for Korea and a very narrow range for Singapore and the Philippines.

DATES: ca. 1927-1928

QUANTITY: ca. 500 photographs on 50 album leaves

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 89-16



The print shows a Tuscarora couple at home in the Chavis Settlement two miles east of Maxton, North Carolina. Mr. Locklear is wearing a feathered headdress. The photographer was Mark Price.

DATE: November 1987

QUANTITY: 1 print

RESTRICTION: Researchers must secure Price's permission before the photograph can be reproduced.


CALL NUMBER:Photographic lot 88-3


The images, some in an album, are from a Bangkok photographer. Included are prints and negatives of hill tribes of Thailand, including the Akha, Karen, Lahu, Lawa, Lisu, Meo, Tai Luc, and Yao.

DATES: 1959-1964

QUANTITY: ca. 700 items


CALL NUMBER:Photographic lot 74-35


The prints show beaded moccasins and leggings and a Plains Indian drawing. The material is otherwise unidentified.

DATES: No date

QUANTITY: 25 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 77-32


The Bureau of Ethnology was founded in 1879 after Congress appropriated funds for continuing research among North American Indians begun by early geological surveys, especially the Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region and the Geological Survey of the Territories. The name was changed in 1897 to the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) to emphasize the geographic limit of its interests. In spite of this, for brief periods BAE activities extended to United States possessions outside the Americas, particularly to Hawaii and the Philippines.

Under John Wesley Powell, the director from 1879 to 1902, the BAE became a major force in anthropology by undertaking several broad and basic anthropological research projects, sponsoring extensive and intensive field research by its staff and collaborators, initiating several series of anthropological publications, and joining both professional and amateur anthropologists to promote the discipline. In addition, the BAE prepared exhibits for several large nineteenth- and early twentieth-century expositions and, on instruction from the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, collected anthropological specimens for the United States National Museum. The BAE developed a manuscript repository, library, and an illustrations section that included photographic work and the collection of photographs.

In overseeing these many activities, Powell relied heavily on capable lieutenants, initially Henry W. Henshaw and then WJ McGee, who joined the staff in 1893 with the title ethnologist-in-charge in 1893. Powell also enjoyed marked independence from the central Smithsonian administration; and, while he was director of the United States Geological Survey from 1880 to 1894, the BAE received support from the Survey. Following Powell's death, dissatisfaction with these arrangements by the Smithsonian and criticism within Congress led the Institution to investigate the BAE's activities. This resulted in tighter control by the Smithsonian's Secretary. Although its purposes and functions remained basically similar to those developed under Powell, greater emphasis was placed upon research and publication under his successors: William Henry Holmes, chief, 1902-1910; Frederick W. Hodge, ethnologist-in-charge, 1910-1918; J. Walter Fewkes, chief, 1918-1928; Matthew W. Stirling, chief, 1928-1954, director, 1954-1957; Frank H.H. Roberts, Jr; director, 1957-1964; and Henry B. Collins, acting director, 1964-1965.

In 1965, BAE staff and functions merged with those of the United States National Museum Department of Anthropology to form the Smithsonian Office of Anthropology. A few years later, the office became the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History.

The BAE had three significant but temporary subunits. The Mounds Survey, undertaken on instructions from Congress, concentrated on the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Originally organized by Wills De Hass, from 1882 to 1895 it was led by Cyrus Thomas, who was assisted by several specially appointed field workers. Julian Steward's Institute of Social Anthropology operated from 1943 to 1952, and the River Basin Surveys, led through most of its existence by Frank H.H. Roberts, Jr, operated from 1946 to 1969. In addition, Julian Steward's office to produce the Handbook of South American Indians was a semiautonomous activity.

The BAE records include not only the material described here but also additional items found in the series of numbered manuscripts. Earlier archivists separated many letters, reports, fiscal records, and whole files and placed them there under the control of a catalog. Most records of Thomas's Mound Survey, for example, are there as manuscript 2400. Descriptions of papers of some BAE employees and the BAE photographic collections appear in separate entries. Records relating to the Handbook of South American Indians, the Institute of Social Anthropology, and the River Basin Surveys are also described separately, as are records of the National Anthropological Archives, established originally as the BAE. Some records concerning artifacts collected by the BAE are among the registrarial records of the United States National Museum.

List of BAE correspondents

Map Collection

The Bureau of American Ethnology map collection consists of over five hundred items. Largely, they concern North America, but there are also some South American maps. There are a few items concerning other continents and some maps of the world. Many maps are printed and were probably collected for reference purposes. Some items are from Smithsonian publications. Included are an appreciable number of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century maps. Many items show locations of Indian tribes and sites.

Of special anthropological significance are original or annotated maps that concern the work of BAE staff and collaborators. These include working materials, some in the hand of Henry W. Henshaw, that relate to the versions of John Wesley Powell's linguistic map of North America north of Mexico. Another set relates to Cyrus Thomas's linguistic work on tribes of Mexico. Other material concerns archeological surveys of the tidewater regions of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia carried out by William Henry Holmes, William Dinwiddie, and Elmer Reynolds and archeological surveys of the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) carried out by Joseph D. McGuire, Edgar Lee Hewett, Cosmos Mindeleff, and others. Also included are materials reflecting the BAE's special interest in mounds, including maps by James D. Middleton of a mound in Wisconsin and Henry Chapman Mercer of a mound in Lehigh County, Tennessee. Additional material concerns the work of Holmes on chert quarries on the Peoria Reservation in modern Oklahoma, James Mooney on western Indians and the Cherokee of North Carolina, Henshaw on the west coast, William E. Myer on Tennessee archeology, H.W. Wilson in Arizona, John R. Swanton and T.T. Waterman on the Northwest Coast, and Walter Edmund Roth in British Guiana. There is also material relating to the work of William H. Dall, Frances Densmore, and Ferdinand V. Hayden.

Of unknown provenance is material on the southeastern United States, including Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. A series of maps of Maine have been annotated in the hand of De Lancey W. Gill to show archeological sites.

There are related materials in the maps collection of the Smithsonian's Division of Archeology.

DATES: 1878-1965

QUANTITY: ca. 48 linear meters (ca. 157 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: Letterbooks, including (1) general outgoing letters, 1879-1907; (2) outgoing transmittal letters, 1893-1903; (3) outgoing letters concerning the library, 1896-1897; (4) outgoing letters regarding editorial work, 1894-1903; (5) requisitions for printing and binding, 1896-1903; (6) outgoing letters of William Henry Holmes, 1890-1893, 1903-1905; (7) outgoing letters of WJ McGee, 1893-1903; (8) outgoing letters of Frank H. Cushing, 1896-1899; (9) outgoing letters of Chief Clerk Frank M. Barnett, April 13 and 21, 1903; (10) accounts, 1897-1907; (11) annual reports, 1898-1903; (12) records concerning the International Archeological Commission, 1902-1903; (13) outgoing letters regarding the joint meeting of the American and British associations for the advancement of science, 1897; unbound correspondence, including (14) incoming letters, 1878; (15) incoming letters, 1879-1888; (16) incoming letters, 1888-1906; (17) incoming letters, 1907; (18) incoming letters from Matilda Coxe Stevenson, 1890-1918; (19) incoming letters from Charles D. Walcott, 1907; (20) incoming letters from the Smithsonian Institution, 1889-1908; (21) incoming letters from the United States National Museum, 1889-1909; (22) incoming letters from government agencies, 1888-1908; (23) incoming and outgoing letters, 1903-1950; (24) incoming and outgoing letters, 1950-1965; other administrative records, including (25) Matthew W. Stirling's file, 1928-1957; (26) file regarding cooperative ethnological investigations, 1928-1935; (27) "temporary correspondence," 1949-1965; (28) administrative file, 1929-1946; (29) administrative file, 1949-1965; (30) statements regarding BAE research projects, 1960-1963; (31) records relating to the investigation of the administration of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1903; (32) records concerning photographic work; (33) requisitions, 1893-1902; 1915-1932; (34) property records, 1893-1901; (35) fiscal records, 1945-1966; map collection, (36) maps

FINDING AIDS: Inventory, including lists of ethnological and archeological documents attached to some letters; indexes for some correspondence series; indexed list of maps

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