Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains - Montana State University Library

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Unique Collections in the Indian Peoples of Northern Great Plains Image Database

Unique Original Art Collections

The Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains digital collection has over 1,100 digital images. The majority of these images are photographs taken during the years of 1879 through 1921. In addition to the photographs, there are unique collections of artwork and documents.

Two unique artwork collections are the Jessie Wilber Tipi Design Serigraph Portfolio held in the Museum of the Rockies Archives, and the Barstow Ledger Drawings Collection held in the MSU Billings Library Special Collections. There is also a document collection focused on the original treaties held in the MSU Bozeman Library Archives and Special Collections.

Jessie Wilber Tipi Design Serigraphs Portfolio

During the summers of 1944 and 1945, Olga Ross Hannon and Jessie Wilbur created sixteen silk-screen color reproductions of painted Blackfeet tipis. The prints and associated Blackfeet stories, recorded by Cecile Black Boy in the 1940s, were combined in a traveling exhibit by the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, with funding from the Montana Arts Council. This series of silk screened plates was published by the Museum of the Rockies as a portfolio and was organized and printed by Wilber in conjunction with the Montana Arts Council in 1976 for educational purposes. Artist Jessie Spaulding Wilber (1912 - 1989) taught art at MSU Bozeman from 1941 to 1972.

Barstow Ledger Drawings

The Barstow Ledger Drawings Collection is a set of drawings done by Crow and Gros Ventre peoples on ledger paper between 1879 and 1897. In 1930, the ledger drawings were discovered in Roundup, Montana. A group of concerned persons in Billings, Montana, determined the drawings had both historic and artistic merit. They worked with Montana higher education institutions to purchase the drawings and provide for the drawings care and safekeeping in the MSU Billings Library Archives.

The Barstow ledger drawings are named after a clerk, Charles H. Barstow, who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Crow Agency. Barstow provided the art materials to the Indian Peoples who lived at the Absorokee Agency between 1879 and 1884. During Barstow's tenure with the Bureau of Indian Affairs he collected many of the ledger drawings and those drawings were the stimulus for this remarkable collection of rare art works.