Plains Indian Ledger Art: Coe-Cheyenne Ledger - Inside cover; Woman and head of a man with grafitti | 3 soldiers; eagle men on horse; grafitti

Coe-Cheyenne Ledger

No. 2 of 44
Inside cover; Woman and head of a man with grafitti | 3 soldiers; eagle men on horse; grafitti
Southern Cheyenne, Darlington Agency, Indian Territory, circa 1885 -86
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Document Info

Page No. 0 -1
Media: Pencil and colored pencil
Dimensions: Small commercial notebook: 8.25 x 4.825 inches - cover, 5.625 x 4.75 inches - pages inches


Cheyenne, Cheyenne - Southern


Ralph T. Coe Foundation, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Ralph T. Coe Foundation, Coe-Cheyenne Ledger (NA 1154); Brant Mackley Gallery, Hummelstown, PA; Southern Cheyenne, Darlington Agency, Indian Territory ...More


arrows, courting, dress, soldiers, horse, tipi, women, Southern Cheyenne, eagle

Ethnographic Notes

The penciled notation "25 cents" along the edge of the inside front cover denotes the price paid for this small notebook. Two "practice", or incomplete figures appear on the sheet. At left is an Indian woman---identifiable from the lower side gussets on her dress visible below the enwrapping blanket---compare Pages 21 & 67. The left profile of a Whiteman appears at bottom center.

The outside, front flyleaf has three, remarkably well drawn figures of military men undoubtedly serving at Fort Reno. At far left is a captain or major---denoted by his long- tailed dress coat, with gilt insignia on the collar. His status as an infantry officer is indicated by the black stripe along the outer seam of his trousers. The man's remarkably long nose appears to have been the reason he was portrayed. The next figure represents a cavalry lieutenant (single shoulder bar, and yellow stripe on trousers). The third figure portrays a cavalry corporal (single chevron on sleeve, yellow stripe on trousers), likely the lieutenant's "striker", or personal aide. Pages 4 & 78 display other depictions of military figures.

These carefully rendered portraits suggest close---perhaps even personal---acquaintance with the men depicted. In turn, this suggests that the artist may have been living in the camp of Indian Scout families attached to Fort Reno. The absence of any autobiographical portrayals of men in Scout uniform, however, denotes that the artist, himself, could not have been a scout. If he had been an older man---say, a father or uncle of one of the Scouts
---there would be depictions of his inter-tribal war exploits. As these are lacking also, the artist can only have been a son, younger brother or cousin of one or more of the Scouts. This conclusion is rather strengthened by all of the courting vignettes.

The cavalry officer commanding the Cheyenne Scout detachment at Fort Reno in 1885- 87 was Lieutenant Sedgewick "Squid" Rice. He continued serving with the Scout unit when it was later commanded by Captain Homer Wheeler. Rice may be the lieutenant portrayed here. Compare the remarkable similarity of the figures in this drawing, and on Pages 4 & 78, to the sergeant in "dress blues" shown in the 1891 photograph in Figure 18.

At the right is an amusing, surprisingly modern depiction of three "cartoon" characters riding together on the same horse, as young Indian boys often did. The hind figure is struggling to retain his seat on the horse's rump. These characters reinforce the conclusion that the artist was a juvenile.


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