Samuel Lone Bear, Sioux Indian, seated

In 1898 New York photographer Gertrude Käsebier (1852-1934) embarked on a deeply personal project, creating a set of prints that rank among the most compelling of her celebrated body of work. Käsebier was on the threshold of a career that would establish her as both the leading portraitist of her time and an extraordinary art photographer. Her new undertaking was inspired by viewing the grand parade of Buffalo Bill's Wild West troupe en route to Madison Square Garden for several weeks of performances.
Käsebier had spent her childhood on the Great Plains, and retained many vivid, happy memories of playing with nearby Native American children. She quickly sent a letter to William "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846-1917), requesting permission to photograph Sioux Indians traveling with the show in her studio. Within weeks, Käsebier began a unique and special project photographing the Indian men, women, and children formally and informally. Friendships developed, and her photography of these Native Americans continued for more than a decade.
Samuel Lone Bear developed the closest lasting friendship with Gertrude Käsebier following this initial portrait sitting in 1898. "Sammy" was educated at a Government Indian School and wrote letters to Käsebier in English over many years, dated as late as 1912. Käsebier's granddaughter Mina Turner remembered vividly one visit to a Wild West show performance, and having Sammy pull her from the ground for a horseback ride around the arena with him. "Granny" waved happily from the stands.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
ca 1898
Kasebier, Gertrude
Physical Description
platinum print (overall material)
paper (overall material)
image: 20.2 cm x 16.2 cm; 7 15/16 in x 6 3/8 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Gertrude Kasebier
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Gertrude Kasebier
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Delaney, Michelle. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Warriors: A Photographic History by Gertrude Kasebier

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