Tintypes of Robert Meldrum and Medicine Tree
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAI.AC.386
Creators:
Allen, J. I., -1929
Dates:
1858-1865
Languages:
No linguistic content; Not applicable
Physical Description:
2 tintypes (prints)
Repository:
Tintypes depicting fur trader Robert Meldrum and his wife Medicine Tree [Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke); also known as Margaret].

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
P08166
This collection contains two circular gem tintypes pasted to a mat board. The tintypes depict Robert Meldrum and his wife Medicine Tree [Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke); also known as Margaret]. The photographs were shot by an unidentified photographer in St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1858-1865.
According to the original inventory, the tintypes were part of a jewelry locket. At some unknown point in time, the tintypes were removed from the locket and pasted to a mat board.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The tintypes are arranged on a mat board inside an archival phase box.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Robert Meldrum (1802-1865) was a fur trader and interpreter for the Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke) tribe.
Born in 1802, Meldrum and his family emigrated from Scotland to Canada in 1812 and eventually moved to the United States. By the late 1820s, Meldrum was living in St. Louis, Missouri and working in the Rocky Mountain fur trade industry.
The American Fur Company hired Meldrum in 1833 to act as a liaison between the company and the Crow community in Montana. He was stationed at various American Fur Company trading posts and commercial forts along the Yellowstone and Upper Missouri Rivers including Fort Cass, Fort Alexander, Fort Sharpy, and Fort Sharpy II. At these posts, Northern Plains tribes brought various furs to be traded for guns, ammunition, clothing, beads, and other goods.
Meldrum also learned to speak the Apsáalooke language and served as an interpreter between the tribe and U.S. Government. The tribe conferred Meldrum the status of chief and gave him the name "Round Iron" because of the iron trinkets he gifted. Meldrum reportedly married several Apsáalooke women over the years, including Medicine Tree (Margaret), although very little was written about them.
On July 10, 1865, Meldrum died at the American Fur Company's Fort Union on the Upper Missouri River.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Emily Moazami, Supervisory Archivist, 2019.
Separated Materials
The National Museum of the American Indian also holds other objects from Jirah Isham Allen's collection (object catalog numbers 147472 to 147486).
Author
Emily Moazami
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Formerly in the collection of Jirah Isham Allen (Colonel Ike Allen, 1839-1929, a Montana prospector, pioneer, and storekeeper) and probably collected by him between 1862 and about 1920; purchased by MAI from Jirah Allen in 1926.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Access to NMAI Archives 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).
Preferred Citation
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Tintypes of Robert Meldrum and Medicine Tree, P08166, NMAI.AC.386; National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archives 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.

Related Materials
The Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives also holds a photograph of Robert Meldrum.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fur trade--Montana Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Allen, J. I., -1929 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Meldrum, Robert, 1806-1865 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Medicine Tree 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/