I was browsing the Library of Congress Archive online tonight, searching for specific old pictures for an art-type project that I'm planning. I don't need much of an excuse to search through the old pictures online, and it's easy for me to get lost looking at all the interesting stuff there.
That's why I like Shorpy so much, since the webmaster is so great at seeking out the best of what is there. There are times, though, when I like to search on my own. You never know what you'll find.
This time, I was looking for pictures of the old west. Maybe some native American pictures, or maybe something from a rodeo or Wild West Show. What I found was a series of pictures taken of the Sioux participants in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show...
William F. Cody, aka Buffalo Bill, was quite a character. His adventures in the frontier days of the American West are the things of legend. Even if half the stories aren't true, his life was still amazing. He helped frame the world's vision of what the American Western Culture was all about. Kings and Queens in Europe attended his shows as the Wild West Circus toured the world.
Equally amazing, were the performers in the Wild West Shows. Quite a few of the performers, and argueably the biggest draw for the crowds, were the Sioux Indians.
This is Charging Thunder.
In 1900, photographer Gertrude Käsebier photographed Charging Thunder and the other Sioux members of Buffalo Bill's Circus. The images she caught are wonderful.
This is Joe Black Fox.
Look at his eyes.... the way he holds his hand. There was a lot going on in that head. This was a quick witted person that didnt' miss much.
Contrast that with the serious melancholy in the eyes of Plenty Wounds:
You can sense the pride remaining in a warrior of a people whose way of life is rapidly being eaten up by the never ending hordes moving west.
Here's one of my favorites, just because of the oddity of it.
These two fellas are identified as "Holy Frog" and "Big Turnips". I'm not sure which is which... or if they maybe weren't just having a little fun at the photographers expense. Judging by the expression on the face of the guy on the right, I wouldn't put it past them ;)