Sep 30, 2021 - Sale 2580

Sale 2580 - Lot 16

Price Realized: $ 938
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(AMERICAN INDIANS--PHOTOGRAPHS.) De Lancey Gill, photographer. Portrait of the Oglala leader White Mountain. Silver print, 10 x 7 3/4 inches, unsigned and uncaptioned, pencil number "7276" on verso; a bit of blue along left and right edges of margin, minimal wear. [Washington, image from September 1907, early 20th century print]

Additional Details

White Mountain was also known as "Shot in the Eye" because of a wound he suffered at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. In 1901, he went east to participate in the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, where he gave a remarkable interview to the Buffalo Courier (10 May 1901). In his long account of Little Bighorn, he asserted that Custer was not killed in battle--he committed suicide rather than face capture and torture. This account has not been corroborated by other sources.

This photograph was taken a few years later in September 1907 by De Lancey W. Gill, who was an illustrator and staff photographer for the Smithsonian's Bureau of American Ethnology. One of his responsibilities was photographing American Indian leaders as they came through Washington on official business. White Mountain is wearing a peace medal depicting George Washington (issued in 1903). This photograph is not signed or captioned, but the Smithsonian holds a captioned negative.

WITH--5 smaller uncredited prints also said to be by De Lancey Gill, although they are mostly field photographs rather than formal portraits. Two are captioned. One of them, "Kindling Fire by Friction," was actually shot by Jack Hillers for the Geological Survey circa 1870. These prints were apparently produced from earlier negatives in the early 20th century.