National Anthropological Archives

Tracing of anonymous Cheyenne drawing

Collection ID:
Bourke, John Gregory, 1846-1896
Physical Description:
1 Drawing
colored pencil, crayon, and ink on tracing paper
36 x 46 cm.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Single leaf of thin, tracing paper laminated to a supporting board. The drawing shows a mounted warrior facing fire from a group of enemies represented only partially by their firearms. A pictorial name glyph is labeled "Gellow [sic] Nose," probably intended as Yellow Nose. Inscription on top left reads "McKenzie's fight with Cheyenne on hd Powder Riv."
This is a tracing rather than an original drawing. Bourke assembled a substantial series of tracings and copies of Plains drawings. A number are now in the collection of the National Museum of the American Indian (23/4251-4599), and five are in the collection of the National Museum of American History (GA08109-8113). Scholars have matched several of these copies to works in different Cheyenne books of drawings, demonstrating that Bourke's materials are from various sources to which he had access over time. The NMAI records indicate that these copies were collected 1880-81; they originally attributed them to "Chief Yellow Nose," subsequently changed to "probably non-Indian."

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Col. John Gregory Bourke (1846-1896), a graduate of West Point, spent most of his military career participating in the Indian Wars in the Northern Plains under Brigadier General George Crook, 1869-1888. He subsequently compiled ethnological accounts of the Apache and several other tribes in the Southwest as well as collections of Indian objects and ledger books. For more information on John Gregoy Bourke, see "John Gregory Bourke, Victorian Soldier-Scientist, the Western Apprenticeship, 1869-1886" by Joseph Charles Porter, PhD dissertation, University of Texas, Austin.

Immediate Source of Acquisition
Richardson, A. H. Mrs
Custodial History
This item was received September 9, 1968 from Mrs. A.B. Richardson, the daughter of the collector Col. John Gregory Bourke. In exchange, Mrs. Richardson received a drawing (MS176,622F), donated by her mother, which had been removed from a book that she had placed at the Joslyn Art Museum. This drawing was originally cataloged in the general Anthropology collection and subsequently transferred to the NAA in the 1970s.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Manuscript 409978, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Related Materials
Other,original Plains drawings collected by Bourke are cataloged in the NAA as MS176622, and several accessions from Bourke are cataloged in the general Anthropology collections (Acccession numbers 001136, 021242 and others).

More Information
Local Numbers
Local Numbers
NAA INV 08602500
NAA MS 409978

Local Note
Local Note
Media was changed from watercolor to crayon due to smudging and impressions in wax caused by lamination process.

Album Information
Album Information
MS 409978

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Ledger drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tsitsistas/Suhtai (Cheyenne) Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Great Plains Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746