June 21, 2019 10:00 AM EDT Cincinnati


Joel Whitney, Exceptional Album Containing Large Format Photographs of Sioux Involved in the 1862 Minnesota Uprising

15 x 11 in. album with leather boards and gilt page edges containing 25 salt print photographs by Joel Whitney. The first two are 7 x 9.25 in. prints of New Orleans, including one of dozens of steamboats loading cotton in New Orleans, and one of a New Orleans cemetery, followed by a photograph of the bridge over the Mississippi at St. Paul. Remaining photographs are Whitney’s famous studies of the Sioux Indians, many of whom were involved in the 1862 Sioux Uprising, as well as his images of the Chippewa and Winnebago peoples of Minnesota.

These images, which measure 3.5 x 4.5 in. to 5.5 x 7.5 in. – much larger than the CDV-sized images which are usually seen – include: a view of three Indians overlooking Minnehaha Falls; Ta-Tanka-Nazin (Standing Buffalo); Cut Nose; Ma-Za-Oo-Nie (The Little Bird Hunter);  Paha-Uza-Tanka (The Great Scalp Taker); Han-Ye-Tu Was Te (Beautiful Night); Anpetu-Sapa-Win (Black Day Woman); Te-He-Do-Ne-Cha (One Who Forbids His House); and Old Bets, among several others, plus a view of Winnebago cherahs.

The new state of Minnesota was home to thousands of American Indians in 1862, many of whom were disenchanted with the government's promise for annuities. In August of that year, a number of the Dakota were starving; on the 18th, Indians at the Lower Agency attacked the white settlers there. Over the next few weeks hundreds of whites were killed, until the uprising was finally put down by Federal troops under the command of Henry Sibley. Whitney photographed a number of the Native American principals involved with the uprising. Cut Nose, for one, was charged with the murder of 18 women and children and five men, and admitted to the brutal murder of several settlers in response to the U.S. Army reneging on its treaty obligations. He was hanged with 37 other Dakota on December 26, 1862.

Joel Ellis Whitney (1822-1886) is considered Minnesota's finest pioneer photographer. He successfully operated his business in St. Paul during the years 1851-1871, before selling his studio and negatives to Charles Zimmerman, who in turn became the most prominent photographer in the state.


Leather album, front cover fully separated from spine, some wear/loss to corners/edges of binding. Some scuffing to binding. Loss to leather spine, along lower portion. 

Photographs: Many of the portraits of American Indians retain deep, rich tones. Some images have undergone toning. The outdoor landscape and architectural views have lightened more in relation to the studio portraits. Most of the photographs may have some type of coating/varnish added, as they appear to have vestiges of something shiny. Some photographs with minor spots/soiling. Album pages, scattered spotting/foxing/stains throughout. 

Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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