Title: Commentary on "Mary Lone Bear"

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Commentary on "Mary Lone Bear"

Gertrude Käsebier was a working mother of three, and often in her photography, in her art photography, and in her daily work, she would make images of mother and children, or she would be photographing her own children in the studio. She very much wanted to photograph the Sioux children traveling with their families as a part of the Wild West show. It took her many years to convince her friends and the women traveling with the show to let her photograph more of the children. She was able to photograph Mary Lone Bear and Willie Spotted Horse on one occasion. There are several poses of Mary Lone Bear that we see, both standing and sitting. In the one sitting she's wearing a dress very much potentially like what her mother would wear, and hair braided, looking right at Käsebier. But there's a note that comes along with the Käsebier Collection, and it specifically references Mary Lone Bear. There was a superstition especially strong among Native Americans and especially strong with the women that photography would capture the soul, would take away the soul, might kill the person being photographed. Käsebier of course thought that was ridiculous. It was her profession. It was what she did. She knew that didn't happen. But still she had to convince her new friends that this was not the case. So she photographs Mary Lone Bear, and weeks later she returns to the show. The women run from her, and she asks, what is the matter? She finds out that in the time since the sitting with Mary Lone Bear that Mary has died. All Käsebier can contemplate at the end of this letter is, "What killed her?"

Title: Commentary on "Mary Lone Bear"

Speaker: Michelle Delaney, Smithsonian Institution

Recorded by: Jeremy Goodman, Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Edited by: Rebecca Wingo

Transcribed by: Hannah Vahle and Rebecca Wingo

Editorial Statement | Conditions of Use

TEI encoded XML: View wfc.aud.69.236.111.xml

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