Thomas M. Bridges Crow Creek and Fort Hall Reservations Collection, ca. 1850-1918 (majority within 1892-1899)
approximately 242 photographs in 5 albums, 13 loose photographs, and 2 pieces of realia
The Thomas M. Bridges Crow Creek and Fort Hall Reservations collection contains approximately 242 photographs in 5 albums, 13 loose photographs, a Catlinite pipe bowl, and a ball headed war club. These materials were associated with Dr. Thomas Miller Bridges, a physician and surgeon who was employed on Native American reservations during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Volume 1: This album (18.5 x 29.5 cm) has pebbled black faux leather covers with “Photographs” stamped in gold on the front and contains 51 photographs, all of which pertain to Crow Creek Reservation and primarily date to ca. 1892-1896. Detailed printed captions have been cut and pasted beneath every image in the album. Several captions have dates that were crossed out for unknown reasons. A handful of images also have numbers inscribed next to them. It is uncertain who took the majority of these photographs, though at least one photograph included in this album (a studio portrait of “White Ghost,” Yanktonai chief) has shown up elsewhere on mounts produced by a photographer based in Chamberlain, South Dakota, named H. B. Perry. It is possible that Perry produced a substantial number of the photographs in this album. Dr. Bridges may have also contributed many photographs.
- Portrait of Anna Lee Bridges at 18 months old
- Group portrait captioned “With the Sioux, an Indian’s home” that shows Dr. Bridges standing outside of a home next to a Native American family
- Group portrait of Crow Creek Agency employees including William Fuller (carpenter), R. Ryerson (blacksmith, miscaptioned as “N. Ryerson”), Joseph Wertz (miller), S. M. Childers (farmer), and Dr. Bridges
- Multiple views of Crow Creek Agency buildings including the physician’s residence, Grace Howard Mission School, church and parsonage (William Fuller also appears in this image), hospital, aspects of the Crow Creek Indian School complex (including the girl’s and boy’s buildings, school rooms building, and dining room), and trader’s store
- Group portrait of five men holding various tools captioned “the blacksmith and his helpers”
- Two photographic reproductions of oil-on-canvas paintings by agency carpenter William Fuller, including a depiction of a scaffold burial overlooking Lower Brule Reservation painted ca. 1882 and a bird’s-eye view of the Crow Creek Reservation painted in 1893
- Image captioned “A war party of Sioux Indians, So. Dak., 1893” that is possibly related to Sun Dance-Fourth of July celebrations
- At least four images related to beef issue on Crow Creek Reservation
- Three images documenting the transportation and assemblage of 500 wagons that were granted for issue at Crow Creek Reservation
- Group portrait of members of the Crow Creek Indian Police
- Group portrait of three men identified as “Burned Prairie,” “Robt. Philbrick” (Robert Philbrick, also known as Tahcaduzahan/Swift Deer), and “Wounded Knee” who are described as “Judges of the Court of Indian Offenses, Crow Creek Indian Agency, S.D.”
- Group portrait of Crow Creek Agency employees including Robert Smith (blacksmith), Iron Shield (policeman), Dr. Bridges, Joseph Sutton (farmer), J. F. Geigoldt (issue clerk), J. C. Fitzpatrick (chief clerk), Fred Treon (U.S. Indian agent), and Thomas Stevens (assistant clerk)
- Studio portraits of “‘White Ghost’, Chief of the Yanktonai Sioux” and “‘Iron Nation’, Chief of the Brule Sioux,” both of whom can be seen wearing mixtures of western and traditional clothing and holding objects such as a turkey feather fan, rifle, and pipes
- Group portrait of two women wearing dentalium shell earrings (one of whom carries a child on her back) identified as “Fire Tail” and “Visible Lightning” posing outside of a tipi next to an empty chair draped with a blanket
- Outdoor portrait of a man identified as “Two Crow” seated outside of his log cabin home
- Outdoor portrait of a man identified as “Talking Crow” holding a rifle and wearing a feather headdress, arm bands, and otter fur breastplate fitted with mirror discs while sitting on a horse dressed in a buffalo scalp horse mask (images of horses wearing these masks are exceedingly rare)
- Outdoor portrait of “‘Bull Ghost’, a sub-chief of the Yanktonai Sioux” seated before a tipi on a blanketed chair wearing a mixture of western and traditional clothing including an otter fur turban, hair feather, moccasins, and wool leggings while holding a tobacco bag, tomahawk, and pipe
- Group portrait of ten schoolgirls posing with teacher Mary A. Reason
- Photograph taken outside the home of a medicine man named “Eagle Dog” (possibly the man standing at left wearing a grizzly bear claw necklace) showing pots, pans, chairs, and animal skins drying
- Group portrait captioned “A dancing party of Sioux Indians” showing nine men gathered around a drum while dressed in traditional clothing including otter fur bandoliers, moccasins, leg garters affixed with dance bells, an otter fur breastplate, and a split horn war bonnet
- Photograph showing several men on horseback captioned “A band of Sioux, at the Agency, July 4th 1895?” with the year listed in the caption crossed out.
Volume 2:This album (18 x 30 cm) has pebbled black leather covers and contains 5 photographs. While no captions or dates are provided, most of these images were likely taken ca. 1910. Four of the images are outdoor group portraits that appear to have been taken during a lakeside cottage trip to an unidentified location, possibly somewhere near Idaho Falls or Yellowstone National Park. A young girl (likely Berenice Bridges) appears in three photos wearing a white dress, while Dr. Bridges likely appears in two photos sporting a long beard. Several other unidentified individuals (likely including Maggie and Anna Lee Bridges) are also present in these images. The fifth photograph in this album is a group portrait of four unidentified individuals, including three Native American people (two older adults and one child) and a white woman, standing outside of a tipi.
Volume 3: This album (19 x 26 cm) has red string-bound cloth covers with “Photographs” stamped in gold on the front cover and contains 47 photographs, the majority of which document aspects of Fort Hall Reservation and primarily date to ca. 1896-1899. Detailed printed captions have been cut and pasted beneath most images in the album. A handful of images also have numbers inscribed next to them. While some images may have been produced by Dr. Bridges himself, many of these photographs (especially images from regions outside of Fort Hall Reservation) were likely taken by other photographers.
- Group portrait of the “Conn. Indian Association Scholars and others,” with missionary, educator, and close friend of the Bridges family Amelia J. Frost identified in the lineup
- Images of various Fort Hall Agency buildings such as the Fort Hall Indian School, the physician’s and agent’s residences, main office
- Several pictures of Fort Hall Indian School employees and students including a group portrait of the Fort Hall Indian School brass band
- Photograph showing a well being bored
- Several images documenting a train wreck on the O.S.L.R.R. at Ross Fork, Idaho
- Outdoor portrait of Cahuilla basket maker Ramona Lubo captioned “Ramona at Cahuilla”
- Photograph of human remains inside of a coffin captioned “Sioux grave, method of bur-ial in the sixties, after the Government stopped bur-ial in trees or on scaffolds”
- Two photographs, including one captioned “Dress Parade,” that show two unidentified Native American men wearing traditional clothing (the man wearing a bone hairpipe breastplate may possibly be Levi Levering, also known as He’-con-thin’ke or White Horn, an Omaha Indian teacher at Fort Hall Indian School)
- Three images showing US Army 4th Cavalry Troop F performing drills
- Group portrait of Anna Lee Bridges with friends “Eulia Churchill” and “Maggie Funkhouser”
- Group portrait of two white girls identified as “Maggie & Bertie Funkhouser” wearing Native American costumes
- Group portrait of Fort Hall Agency employees taken in 1899 including W. H. Reeder (carpenter), C. M. Bumgarner (farmer), Dr. Bridges, P. J. Johnson (blacksmith), M. Timsanico (interpreter), Paul Bannock (stableman), W. H. Evans (farmer), E. C. Godwin (clerk), Lieut. F. G. Irwin (acting agent), C. M. Robinson (issue clerk), and Ed. Lavatta (farmer)
- Four images related to the Warm Springs Indian Agency in Oregon
- Two views of the San Gabriel Mission Church, one of which was produced by Warren Bros.
- Two views of Mt. Putnam
- Group portrait of Native American boys of various ages wearing military-style uniforms captioned “School boys, Ft. Hall Indian School, Idaho”
- Group portrait showing the family of Old Ocean (Bannock guide said to have aided Lewis and Clark) aged “112 yrs old.”
Volume 4: This album (23 x 26 cm) was produced by the Eastman Kodak Company and has string-bound black cloth covers with “Photographs” embossed in gold on the front cover. It contains 85 photographs, the majority of which document aspects of Fort Hall Reservation and primarily date to ca. 1896-1899. Detailed printed captions have been cut and pasted beneath many images in the album. Dr. Bridges possibly produced all or most of these images and captions himself.
- Several views of various Fort Hall Agency buildings
- Several views related to travels in Teton Pass, Jackson Hole, and Snake River in Wyoming
- View of the “Conn. Indian Association Mission School” with an additional manuscript caption stating “Miss [Amelia] Frost’s first mission"
- Several group portraits of Native American and white cowboys
- Outdoor portrait of an unidentified Native American man on horseback wearing a split horn bonnet
- Two images related to Fort Hall Agency beef issue
- Image showing several people examining an older Native American woman captioned “Granny Pokibro, on parade”
- Multiple images that include Anna Lee Bridges
- Several images showing members and officers (including Lieut. Holbrook and Capt. Hatfield) of US Army 4th Cavalry Troop F
- Three photos of Omaha Indians including two portraits of an unidentified Omaha man (possibly Levi Levering) wearing a feather headdress as well as a group portrait showing Levi Levering sitting beside his wife Vena Bartlett Levering while she holds their infant child
- Group portrait of three members of the Fort Hall Reservation Police crossing Snake River
- Images of geysers, waterfalls, and other scenery likely taken at Yellowstone National Park
- Two solo portraits (including a man identified as “F. M. Parsons”) of men standing at the top of the Malad Divide
- Portrait of a young child identified as “Little Bill Mo-cats Jr.”
Volume 5: This album (18 x 29 cm) has black pebbled faux leather covers and contains 54 photographs primarily related to Fort Hall Reservation ca. 1896-1899. Detailed printed captions often including sequential numbers have been cut and pasted beneath most images in the album. Some album pages have missing photographs with captions still present. Dr. Bridges may have produced many of these images and captions himself.
- Three group portraits of a Fort Hall Agency employee picnic held near the head of Ross Fork Creek in 1898
- Image showing “Bannock and Shoshoni Indians horse racing” far in the distance
- Image of hay being stacked at Fort Hall Agency
- Several views of various Fort Hall Agency buildings including the carpenter’s residence, physician’s residence, and agent’s office
- Outdoor portrait of an unidentified Bannock girl on horseback captioned “No. 67. Bannock Indian Girl, showing squaw saddle”
- Group portrait taken in 1899 of Levi Levering (far right) and Rueben P. Wolfe (far left), both Omaha Indian teachers employed at Fort Hall Indian School, posing with their wives Vena Bartlett Levering (second from right holding infant) and Rose E. Cordier (second from left, also known as Rose Wolf Setter and Rose C. Setter)
- Group portrait of two white girls dressed as “Imitation Indians”
- Group portrait of several Omaha Indian men likely visiting Fort Hall Reservation dressed in “handsome native dress of buck-skin & beads”
- Two halftone reproductions of photographs taken by Lee Moorhouse in October 1898 of infant Cayuse twins Emma and Edna Jones (also known as Tax-a-Lax and Alompum) in cradleboards (miscaptioned in album as “Umatilla Indian twins”)
- Image of a scaffold burial captioned “a man and his wife buried in 1872, this negative was made in 1886”
- Photos of a Chinese merchant and a Chinese grave at Fort Hall Agency
- Eight images documenting a rabbit drive
- Portrait of Old Ocean “age 112”
- Three images of buildings in Salt Lake City, Utah, identified as the “Mormon temple,” the “Bee-hive,” and “Eagle Gate”
- Portrait of an unidentified man standing inside of the dispensary at Cheyenne River Agency, South Dakota
- View of an uncovered sweat house
- Six images showing various buildings, issue day, and hay work scenes at San Carlos Agency, Arizona
- Photograph showing a man and dog outside of a building captioned “Pump house, Lower Brule, S.D.”
- Image of a building with a sign above the front entrance reading “Govt. Trading Post.”
Loose Images: Also present are 13 loose photographs. Items of interest include an unmounted photographic reproduction of a ca. 1880 lithograph depicting a group of Native Americans preparing a scaffold burial with a typed caption on the verso reading “Scaffold burial, as practiced by the Crow Indians, elevating the corpse to the scaffold. (Copied by permission, from the 1st annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology)”; an unmounted group portrait of several Mohave people including two women and seven children; an unmounted portrait of an unidentified Native American man seated outside of a dwelling made of mud and straw captioned “An old time medicine man and his hut”; an unmounted group portrait taken outside a Fort Hall Reservation building captioned “School House, teacher & pupils at Ross Fork”; an unmounted view of a building captioned “Fort Hall. Location. The old adobes”; a studio portrait of an adult Anna Lee Bridges wearing a nurses uniform taken by F. R. Lambrecht, likely ca. 1918; and a studio portrait of Berenice Bridges as a child.
The first piece of realia is a pipe bowl (7.5 x 3.5 x 3 cm) made from Catlinite that likely dates to the 1850s and is most probably of Lakota/Dakota origin.
The second piece of realia is a ball headed war club (54 x 15 x 6 cm) that likely dates to the 1860s and is most probably of Lakota/Dakota origin. The club is made entirely of carved wood. The ball head is painted black and is lacking a spike while the main body is decorated with brass upholstery tacks on one side.
Both of these items were likely acquired by Dr. Bridges as a result of his personal interest in Native American material culture.