Frank Lehner photographs of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAI.AC.147
Creators:
Lehner, Frank
Seiling, J.
Braithwaite, Charles Henry
Dates:
circa 1890 - 1891
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.25 Linear feet
37 Photographs
Repository:
This collection consists of 32 photographic prints of Native and non-Native peoples involved with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show in approximately 1890-1891.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Frank Lehner photographs of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show collection consists of 32 photographic prints (and 5 copy negatives created at a later date by the NMAI staff). The images portray Native and non-Native peoples involved with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show in approximately 1890-1891, and include a number of publicity and studio portrait shots. Notable photographs include King Ludwig III of Bavaria and his daughter, Princess Maria Ludwiga Theresia of Bavaria, visiting with and even photographing some of the Wild West performers in Munich, Germany, in 1890.
The specific identity of the photographers of these images is not certain. While these photographs have historically been attributed to Frank Lehner, it is more likely that he was the collector rather than the photographer. It appears that at least one image (P10215) was probably taken by Bavarian Royal Court Photographer J. Seiling, and one image (P10192) or possibly two (P10193) were taken by Charles Henry Braithwaite, a portrait photographer in Leeds, England, in 1891.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The materials in this collection are organized into folders.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody opened the first Wild West show in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1883. Within four years the fame of the Wild West had grown so great that Cody took his fellow performers on an international tour of Europe, performing between 1887 and 1906 in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, and a host of other countries.
Undeniably, Cody's Wild West constructed and promoted inaccurate views of Native Americans, defining "real Indians" as only those who lived in tipis, rode horses, and wore feather headdresses. Such stereotypes have sadly been perpetuated in dime novels, television shows, and major motion pictures down to the present, ignoring the staggering cultural diversity of the Indigenous peoples of North America.
In spite of the Wild West show's culpability in creating and perpetuating narrow views of who Native peoples are and what they look like, several recent scholars have argued that there were some upsides for those Native Americans who chose to perform with this traveling show. One of the major bonuses was the relative freedom Wild West performers experienced compared with their community members who had to remain on the reservations. L.G. Moses in
Wild West Shows and the Images of American Indians, 1883-1933
and Michelle Delaney in
Buffalo Bill's Wild West Warriors
both note Native performers' opportunities to not only see the world and earn an income, but also to practice their beliefs and live their days free from the interference of the ever-present missionaries, politicians, and BIA agents back at home.
In addition, Wild West performers experienced opportunities otherwise unimaginable to many Americans of their day, including being presented to Queen Victoria at her Golden Jubilee in London in 1887, attending the 1889 World's Fair in Paris with its debut of the newly constructed Eiffel Tower, and having their photograph taken by the daughter of the future King of Bavaria, Ludwig III, in Munich in 1890.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Nathan Sowry, Reference Archivist, in 2019.
Author
Nathan Sowry
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was exchanged with Frank Lehner in 1932.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiphotos@si.edu. For personal or classroom use, users are invited to download, print, photocopy, and distribute the images that are available online without prior written permission, provided that the files are not modified in any way, the Smithsonian Institution copyright notice (where applicable) is included, and the source of the image is identified as the National Museum of the American Indian. For more information please see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use and NMAI Archive Center's Digital Image request website.
Preferred Citation
Identification of specific item; 1890; Frank Lehner photographs of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, NMAI.AC.147; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Wild west shows Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Buffalo Bill Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sioux Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inunaina (Arapaho) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Germany -- Bavaria -- Munich Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ludwig, King of Bavaria, III, 1845-1921 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Museum of the American Indian
4220 Silver Hill Rd
Suitland 20746-2863
nmaiarchives@si.edu
http://nmai.si.edu/explore/collections/archive/