c. mid-1880s

    The first, a cabinet card with imprint of D.F. Barry, Bismarck, D.T. Identification and date appear at bottom of image. An accident of history gave Rain in the Face an undeserved reputation. He was arrested at Fort Abraham Lincoln, D.T., by Capt. Tom Custer in 1874, and imprisoned in the guard house for several weeks. When two soldiers also imprisoned there were liberated by the watchman one night, Rain in the Face took the opportunity to also escape. It was said that he swore vengeance for this incarceration. When Tom Custer's body was discovered near that of his brother at Little Bighorn in June, 1876, it had been so horribly mutilated that identification could only be made by a tattoo on one arm. Someone recalled the earlier threat by Rain in the Face, and an instant myth sprang into existence, which was reported in the press nationwide, then immortalized in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Rain in the Face always denied the charge. He was an esteemed friend of D.F. Barry, who photographed him many times. Here, he wears a stylish suit of checked wool, with a golden eagle tail feather in his hair. This image is Neg. No. B-98 in the D.F. Barry Archive at Denver Public Library. Alternate views are Neg. Nos. B-148 & B-149. Rain in the Face died September 5, 1905.

    The second a cabinet card with imprint of "Barry, Bismarck and Standing Rock, D.T." Erroneous attribution "Charging Thunder" is printed at bottom of image. For the correct identification compare Denver Public Library, Neg. No. B-7; an alternate view is B-480. Old Wolf wears a choker necklace made of dentalium shells laced between leather spacers, and with a long pendant down the back, here brought forward by the photographer. A curly domestic steer's tail, probably dyed red, is also worn as a decoration, with a brass thimble and beads.

    The third, with identification of Gall printed below the image. In cabinet card format with imprint, verso, of "Barry, Bismarck and Standing Rock, D.T." Ink inscription, verso: "From Robinson Bros., Greenville, Tenn." Apparently Bird Robinson remained a customer of Barry's photos after he left Dakota Territory, distributing them to clients of his railroad business. This portrait is identical to others in the Denver Public Library Collection, Neg. Nos. B-80, B-146, B-909 & B-912.

    The fourth, a cabinet card with imprint of "Barry, Bismarck and Standing Rock, D.T." Identification and date appear below the image. The chief wears a fringed coat of brain-tanned leather, with an eagle feather in his scalplock and a crucifix hanging from his neck. A pipe, symbol of his office, is displayed in his hands. Best known as leader of the Lakota alliance which defeated two United States armies in June, 1876, Sitting Bull is possibly the best-known American Indian, worldwide. Several biographies of him have been written; and he left an autobiography in the form of drawings of his martial deeds, now in the National Anthropological Archives. In 1885, he traveled in the eastern U.S. and Canada with the celebrated Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West. In 1888, he was among a large number of Lakota leaders who traveled to Washington, D.C., where he was photographed on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building. Due to political fears over his involvement with the Ghost Dance movement, Sitting Bull was ordered arrested by Agent James McLaughlin, but he was assassinated in the process by Indian police at dawn on Dec. 15, 1890.

    The fifth, a cabinet card with imprint of "Barry, Bismarck and Standing Rock, D.T." The name does not have the connotation of "fat belly," or paunchy, but instead refers to the best-tasting fat, like fine butter, found clinging to the brisket and paunch of a buffalo, and reserved for mixing with the finest dried meat to make pemmican, a winter delicacy. As a personal name, it carries the connotation of "prosperous and well-fed." Belly Fat was a minor band chief of the Hunkpapa. Here he wears an 1871 peace medal carrying the profile of President Ulysses S. Grant.

    Dimensions: 4 x 6 ½ inches each

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
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