Into The Face Of History

Starting with a single, haunting battlefield image, an amateur photo detective managed to reconstruct a forgotten photographer’s life and uncover a treasure of Indian portraits.

I had waited six months to see it. A long-time collector, I loved to roam the monthly swap meet in Long Beach, California near my home. Half a year before, I’d stopped at the booth of a dealer in old photographs and asked if he had anything related to General Custer or to the Battle of the Little Bighorn, both favorite topics of mine. He told me that he had a stereo view of the Custer Battlefield, but he hadn’t brought it with him, and it wasn’t for sale. “It’s by a photographer I’ve never heard of,” he explained.Read more »

The Last Stand Of Chief Joseph

The Nez Percés led the Army a bitter 1,300-mile chase; when they surrendered, one of the last free Indian nations vanished into history.

In June, 1877, just one year after the Custer debacle, a new and unexpected Indian outbreak flared in the West. To an American public wearied and disgusted with a governmental policy, or lack of policy, that seemed to breed Indian wars, this one, an uprising by formerly peaceful Nez Percés1 of Oregon and Idaho, was dramatized by what appeared to be superb Indian generalship. One army detachment after another, officered by veterans of the Civil War, floundered in battle with the hostiles.Read more »