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This collection can be seen by gas light as well as day light/' 9

It was but natural that the gallery should be compared with
Catlin's. Comment on this comparison is not extensive but the
Cincinnati Gazette, January 21, 1846, stated: "Of the artistic merits
of these pictures, in our judgment, they are fully equal to any of
that class we have ever seen not excepting those by Catlin; nor
are we alone in our estimate in this respect" ( see, also, p. 9 ) .

Stanley soon became restless after his gallery was completed and
leaving its future exhibition to Dickerman, he again started west.
He was in St. Louis in the spring of 1846, and a few weeks later was
in Independence, Mo., ready to start out over the Santa Fe trail for
new scenes. 10 He joined Col. S. C. Owen's train which included the
famous Josiah Gregg, whose Commerce of the Prairies published in

8. The departure of Stanley and Dickerman from the Indian country of the Southwest
is reported in the Arkansas Intelligencer, May 3, 1845, p. 2, and the Arkansas Banner,
Little Rock, May 21, 1845, p. 3. In the first of these reports it was stated that the partners
were leaving for "the mouth of the Yellowstone on the Upper Missouri, where they were
to continue their painting of Indian portraits and scenes." I have found no evidence that
this contemplated plan was carried out. In fact, the reference which follows, if correct,
would seem to be good evidence against such a possibility.

The Cincinnati Gazette, January 21, 1846, reported: "Messrs. Stanley & Dickerman
the proprietors of these pictures, are already most favorable known to many of our citizens,
by a residence of some months in our city, during which time they have been elaborating
these pictures from the numerous sketches and materiel gathered during their three years
residence and travel among the tribes of the 'far West.' " I am indebted to Prof. Dwight
L. Smith of the department of history, Ohio State University, Columbus, who searched
the Gazette and Cists' Western General Advertiser for January and February, 1846, seek-
ing items concerning the first exhibition of Stanley paintings. The Cincinnati catalogue
cited in Footnote 4 was used in connection with this exhibition and lists 100 paintings and
34 sketches. One of the paintings was "John M. Stanley, the Artist, Painted by Mo9ney."
The copy of the catalogue I have used (in the New York Public Library) bears evidence
that the last two pages were inserted after the original publication in 1846. Several of the
paintings, for example, are of incidents in the Northwest in 1847, and the last two pages
are unnumbered while the remaining pages ( 34 ) are numbered. The first 34 pages cata-
logued 83 paintings, and an advertisement in the Cincinnati Gazette January 26, 1846,
stated there were 83 paintings in the gallery. It is obvious then that the New York Public
Library copy of this catalogue was one used for exhibitions after 1846.

9. Cincinnati Gazette, January 20, 26, 1846; February 14, 1846. The Cherokee Ad-
vocate, Tahlequah, of March 12, 1846, p. 3, noted the various comments in the Cincinnati
papers on the Stanley and Dickerman gallery and was moved to make their own comment:
"We perceive from Cincinnati papers that Messrs. Stanley and Dickerman have been
exhibiting recently in that city their extensive collection of Indian portraits and it will
afford pleasure to their numerous friends in this country, to learn that they are receiving the
meed of praise from an intelligent public, which their merit as artists and gentlemen so
richly deserves."

10. Cist's Western General Advertiser, Cincinnati, January 28, 1846, stated that Stan-
ley "proposes in April next to resume his interesting employment in other and yet un-
explored fields of labour" and in Diary and Letters of Josiah Gregg (Norman, Okla., 1941),
edited by M. G. Fulton, v. 1, p. 188, is a letter of Gregg's dated April 17, 1846, which
mentioned Stanley and indicates that Gregg was expecting Stanley to be in St. Louis at or
before the time Gregg's letter was written. An editorial note (p. 188) states that Gregg and
Stanley were fellow-residents of Independence, Mo. If Stanley was a resident of Independ-
ence it could not have been a matter of more than a few months.



1844 has become a Western classic. Gregg continued with the train
only a hundred miles or so and then turned back to join another
venture but the train also contained another writer whose diary
many years later also became well known. Susan Magoffin's diary,
like Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies, is among the most valued
written records of the Santa Fe trail. Susan, a young bride of 19,
noted in her diary on June 20, 1846, that Stanley was a member of
the same train, after wishing that an artist could portray the many
interesting and novel scenes as the train lay encamped at Council
Grove (in present central Kansas). 11

Unfortunately, if Stanley made any sketches along the Santa Fe
trail, they have been lost. Before he started on the overland expedi-
tion, however, he had made an excursion from Independence to the
Kansas river where he painted Keokuk, the celebrated chief, and
others of the Sac and Fox tribe. 12

Owen's train reached Santa Fe on August 31, 1846. The Mexican
War was then only several months old and Col. Stephen W. Kearny
and his troops, who reached Santa Fe at about the same time as the
Owen train, promptly took over the city from the Mexican govern-
ment and planned to go on to California to aid in its conquest. Re-
organization of Kearny's troops was made at Santa Fe and a scien-
tific staff was added which included Stanley as the artist of the
expedition. 13

Kearny's troops left Santa Fe on September 25 for the long over-
land trip to California, which was reached in December. On Decem-
ber 6 a pitched battle between the troops and Mexicans some 40
miles east of San Diego caused severe casualties, hardships and
sufferings, but reinforcements appeared at an opportune moment
and the goal of San Diego was reached on December 12. Stanley
managed to retain his sketches during the six days of battle and
hardship and was taken abroad the U. S. sloop Cyane at San Diego
where he was able to prepare some of them for publication and to
finish others in oils. A number of his sketches were doubtless
among those reproduced lithographically in the official report of

11. Down the Santa Fe Trail and Into Mexico The Diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin
(New Haven, 1926), edited by Stella M. Drumm, p. 19. For Gregg's departure with
Owen's train, see Diary and Letters of Josiah Gregg (previously cited), v. 1, pp. 192
(footnote), 197 and 202 (Footnote 7).

12. Stanley's catalogue of 1852, pp. 35-40.

13. National Intelligencer, November 14, 1846, p. 3, reported that Kearny left Santa
Fe for California on September 25, and that the scientific staff of the expedition included
"Mr. Stanley employed at Santa Fe as the artist of the expedition." W. H. Emory's official
report of the Kearny expedition (House Ex. Doc. No. 41 [serial No. 517], p. 45, 30 Cong.,
1 Sess. [1848]) stated that the party as organized at Santa Fe included "J. M. Stanly,


Kearny's long march to the sea. 14 The plates in general are very
crudely done in black and white, the most interesting one being
"San Diego from the Old Fort." The Cyane with Stanley aboard
arrived in San Francisco in the early spring of 1847, and here Edwin
Bryant, the author of the well-known What I Saw in California, in-
cluded Stanley's sketches in the California sights that came before
his eyes. Writing in 1848, he stated:

Mr. Stanley, the artist of the [Kearny] expedition completed his sketches
in oil, at San Francisco; and a more truthful, interesting, and valuable series
of paintings, delineating mountain scenery, the floral exhibitions on the route,
the savage tribes between Santa Fe and California combined with camp-life
and marches through the desert and wilderness has never been, and probably
never will be exhibited. Mr. Stanley informed that he was preparing a work
on the savage tribes of North America, and of the islands of the Pacific, which,
when completed on his plan, will be the most comprehensive and descriptive of
the subject, of any that has been published. 15

These paintings, valuable in their time and day, would now be
priceless but apparently with two exceptions they all have disap-
peared, most of them in a fire which in 1865 destroyed some 200
of Stanley's paintings. The exceptions noted above are "Indian
Telegraph" (smoke signal) and "Black Knife" (Apache) both por-
traying incidents of Kearny's overland march to California. 16

After finishing the sketches and paintings of the Kearny expedi-
tion in 1847, Stanley spent the next several years in further wander-
ings making sketches for his proposed Indian portfolio. He was in

14. Twenty-three plates of scenery and Indian portraits in black and white, three
of natural history and Indian hieroglyphics, and 14 botanical plates appear in the official
report. Apparently all were after sketches by Stanley although nowhere is there direct
statement of this fact save in the case of the 14 botanical plates. Both senate and house
printings of the report exist: W. H. Emory, Notes of a Military Reconnaissance, From Fort
Leavenworth, Missouri to San Diego, California (Washington, 1848), 30 Cong., 1 Sess.,
Senate Ex. Doc. No. 7 (serial No. 505), and 30 Cong., 1 Sess., House Ex. Doc. No. 41
(serial No. 517). The lithography of the plates in both printings I have examined were
by C. B. Graham although Charles L. Camp, Wagner's the Plains and the Rockies (San
Francisco, 1937), p. 112, reports that in the senate edition he examined the plates of
scenery were lithographed by E. Weber and Co.; a point which illustrates the fact made
previously that general conclusions on plates cannot be based on the examination of single

There is, of course, the possibility that some of the views in the Emory report were
not based on Stanley's original sketches. Ross Calvin in Lieutenant Emory Reports (Albu-
querque, 1951), states (pp. 3, 4) that some of the illustrations "are so inaccurate as to
make it clear that the draughtsman never beheld the scenes he was attempting to depict"
but does not explain the discrepancy further. Calvin's statement still does not preclude
the possibility that all the original drawings were made by Stanley as has already been
observed in the text, the plates reproduced in this report are extremely crude. The
lithographer may well have been the cause of the inaccuracies.

15. Edwin Bryant, What I Saw in California (New York, 4th ed., 1849), pp. 435-
436. Bryant had ample opportunity to observe "the desert and wilderness" for he made
the overland crossing himself and was made alcalde of San Francisco in the spring of
1847 by General Kearny. Bryant's book is one of the most interestingly written of all the
early accounts of the overland trail. Bryant (1805-1869) lived in California for some
time but spent his last years in Kentucky. For an obituary, see San Francisco Bulletin,
January 3, 1870, p. 2.

16. The "Indian Telegraph" was either repainted or painted for the first time in 1860
(Kinietz, op. cit., p. 33) and therefore was not one of the paintings seen by Bryant. It is
now owned by the Detroit Institute of Arts. "Black Knife" was among the original paint-
ings of 1846 and was one of those that escaped the disastrous fire of 1865. It is owned by
the National Museum. Both of these paintings are reproduced in black and white in the
Kinietz book.


Oregon by July 8, 1847, and was busily occupied for some months
making portraits of the Northwestern Indians. Late in November,
he started for the famous Whitman Mission to paint the portraits
of Dr. and Mrs. Whitman. When within six miles of the mission,
he was met by two friendly Indians who informed him of the Whit-
man massacre and warned him that his own life was in danger.
With the aid of an Indian, he made his way with great caution to
Fort Walla Walla where he was one of the first to report the mas-
sacre. 17 Stanley continued in the Northwest until the summer of
1848 and his extensive Indian gallery acquired many additions.

About August 1 he took ship for the Hawaiian Islands the
Sandwich Islands. His painting career was again resumed on the
Islands where portraits of Kamehameha III and his queen were
made and which are still on display in the Government Museum,
Honolulu. Stanley lived in Honolulu for over a year but on No-
vember 17, 1849, he sailed for Boston. 18

Upon Stanley's return to the United States, his Indian gallery was
enlarged and he seems to have spent most of 1850 and 1851 in dis-
playing the gallery in a number of Eastern cities. 19 Early in 1852
he took his collection of Indian paintings to Washington where he
made arrangements with Joseph Henry, secretary of the Smith-
sonian Institution, for their free display in the library room of the

17. For an extended account of Stanley in the Northwest, see Nellie B. Pipes, "John
Mix Stanley, Indian Painter," The Oregon Historical Quarterly, Salem, v. 33 (1932), Sep-
tember, pp. 250-258.

18. In The Polynesian, Honolulu, August 19, 1848, p. 55, there was record of the
arrival of the American brig Eveline at the port of Honolulu "13 days from Columbia
River"; George M. Stanley was listed as one of the passengers. I believe that this is a
record of John M. Stanley's arrival in Honolulu for in a succeeding issue of this paper
there is an account of John M. Stanley's artistic activities with the comment that he "re-
cently arrived from Oregon." Ibid., September 16, 1848, p. 70. Additional comment
on Stanley's activities in the Islands will be found in the Sandwich Island News, Honolulu,
August 21, 1848, p. 187; The Polynesian, April 14, 1849, p. 190.

Stanley left the Islands for the United States on November 17, 1849, for a letter
from one Charles Jordon Hopkins of King Kamehameha's retinue, written November 16,
1849, stated that Stanley was to sail on the following day and directed that Stanley be
paid $500 for his portraits of the king and queen. The letter bears the receipt of Stanley
for this sum. A copy of a letter in the Hawaiian archives, dated February 4, 1850, is
directed to Stanley in Boston, expressing the hope he had a pleasant return voyage. I am
indebted to Mrs. Dean Acheson of Washington, D. C., Stanley's granddaughter, for copies
of these letters.

19. In the New York Tribune, November 28, 1850, p. 1, there appeared for the first
time the advertisement:

"INDIANS Will be opened at the Alhambra Rooms, 557Vz Broadway, on THURSDAY
Oil Paintings consisting of Portraits, life size of the principal Chiefs and Warriors of fifty
different tribes roving upon our Western and South-wessern [sic] Prairies, New-Mexico,
California and Oregon, together with landscape views, Games, Dances, Buffalo Hunts and
Domestic Scenes, all of which have been painted in their own country during eight years
travel among them, the whole forming one of the most interesting and instructive exhibitions
illustrative of Indian life and customs ever before presented to the public.

"Descriptive Lectures may be expected at 3 P. M. on Wednesday and Saturday; also,
each Evening at 7% o'clock. Open at 9 A. M. to 10 P. M.

"Single Tickets 25 cents. Season Tickets $1. Can be obtained at the principal Hotels
and at the Door. STANLEY & DICKERMAN, Proprietors."

This advertisement ran for a week but comment and other small advertisements indi-
cated that the gallery was on exhibit in New York for at least two months and probably
longer. See New York Tribune, January 21, 1851, p. 5, January 23, p. 5, January 24, p. 1.


institution. Here they remained for over a dozen years, the gallery
being gradually enlarged by Stanley until it numbered some two
hundred paintings. The gallery attracted considerable public in-
terest, not only among visitors to Washington but among residents
of the city and among members of congress. 20

Stanley's purpose in bringing his gallery to Washington for free
display was primarily to interest members of congress in its pur-
chase and thus to establish a national gallery. He had spent ten
years of his life in travel, adventure, toil and labor in securing the
150-odd paintings that made up the collection at the time of its
first display in the capitol. The private exhibition of the gallery,
although it may have given him a living, did not return him any-
thing on the investment he had made, which in 1852, Stanley esti-
mated was $12,000. This sum included nothing for time and labor,
but had been spent for materials, transportation, insurance and
traveling expenses.

Catlin had urged the purchase of his Indian gallery by congress
without success and had taken it abroad where it was rumored it
was to stay. Stanley felt that his collection was more representative
of the Western Indians and certainly he had traveled far more ex-
tensively in the American West than had Catlin. Capt. Seth East-
man, himself an Indian artist of note, saw Stanley's gallery when it
was brought to Washington in 1852 and wrote Stanley "that I con-
sider the artistic merits of yours far superior to Mr. Catlin's; and
they give a better idea of the Indian than any works in Mr. Catlin's

With such encouragement, Stanley was able to bring his gallery
to the attention of the senate committee on Indian affairs, who rec-
ommended its purchase for $19,200. The question of its purchase
was debated in the senate and although strongly urged by Senator
Weller of California and Senator Walker of Wisconsin, the purchase
bill was defeated 27 to 14 when it came to a vote in March, 1853. 21

20. The first notice I have found of Stanley's gallery in Washington occurs in the
National Intelligencer, February 24, 1852, p. 1, which stated that the gallery had been
2?3 br u 8ht to , this cit y-" Henf y reported to the board of the Smithsonian on March
22, 1852, that Stanley had deposited his gallery of Indian portraits in the institution and
that they "had attracted many visitors" (32 Cong., 1 Sess., Senate Misc. Doc. No. 108
(serial No. 629), p. 108. See, also, Henry's comment on Stanley's gallery in 32 Cong.,
2 Sess., Sen. Misc. Doc. No. 53, p. 27. Henry stated here that there were 152 paintings in
the collection which is the number listed in the catalogue of 1852; note the comment of
Senator Weller, however, as given in Footnote 21. L.C.S. mentions the display of the
gallery in Eastern cities during 1850 and 1851.

21 ; , Fo Eastman's comment, see letter of Eastman's dated January 28, 1852, and
quoted by Kinietz, op. cit., p. 17. For Eastman (1808-1875) as a painter of the American
Indian, see David I. Bushnell, Jr., "Seth Eastman, Master Painter of the North American
Indian, Smithsonian Misc. Collections, v. 87 (1932), April, 18 pages.

Senator Weller of California introduced the matter of the purchase of the Stanley
gallery to the senate on December 28, 1852, where the matter was referred to the com-
mittee on Indian affairs, The Cong. Globe, 32 Cong., 2 Sess. (1852-1853), p. 158 Weller


Stanley continued to urge the purchase of the gallery even after
the initial defeat of the first measure and apparently it was dis-
cussed in congress a number of times but all such attempts failed.
The Smithsonian itself was asked to buy this collection but lack of
funds prevented such a move. Stanley added to the gallery, how-
ever, and by 1865 it numbered some 200 portraits. A fire on Janu-
ary 24, 1865, in the wing of the institution which housed the gallery
caused the destruction of all but five of the paintings. Not only did
Stanley suffer a heart-breaking loss but the nation suffered an irrep-
arable loss in its historical portraiture. 22

Stanley's career before 1853 has been described in some detail to
show his importance as a Western illustrator and to show that he
was by far the best equipped both by ability and experience, of any
of the artists that accompanied the Pacific railroad surveys. 23

Early in 1853 Isaac I. Stevens, an army engineer and assistant in
charge of the coast survey office in Washington, applied to Presi-
dent Franklin B. Pierce for the governorship of the newly organized
territory of Washington, which had been formed from the northern
half of Oregon territory. In his application to President Pierce,
Stevens stated that if the President could find anyone better quali-
fied for the place, it was the President's duty to appoint that person.
Evidently Pierce thought Stevens the best qualified, for one of his
first acts as President was to send Stevens' name to the senate for

stated that there were 154 paintings in the collection, 139 in substantial gilded frames.
The committee to whom the matter was referred examined the exhibit and were very
favorably impressed but they failed to arouse enough enthusiasm among the rest of the
senators when the matter came to a final vote on March 3, 1853, ibid., p. 1084. Senator
Weller apparently quoted Stanley when he reported Stanley's investment as $12,000 "in
addition to time and labor."

The National Intelligencer item cited in Footnote 20 stated Stanley's hope when it re-
ported that the gallery "may become the foundation of the great national gallery."

22. The annual reports of the Smithsonian Institution from 1852 to 1866 contain
frequent mention of the Stanley gallery and the facts stated above come from this source.
That Stanley was hard pressed financially is all too evident in his request of the institution
for an allowance of $100 a year to pay the interest on money that Stanley had borrowed
so that he would not have to sell the gallery privately (Annual Report of the Smithsonian
Inst. for 1859 [Washington, 1860], p. 113). The destruction by fire and the fact that
the gallery had grown to 200 paintings is reported in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian
Institution for 1864 (Washington, 1872), p. 1J9.

23. Some idea of Stanley's method in the field can be gathered from a memorandum
which he prepared for Stevens on plans for the work of the artists of the surveys (see
Reports, v. 1, Stevens Report, pp. 7 and 8). Stanley stated in part: "Sketches of Indians
should be made and colored from life, with care to fidelity in complexion as well as feature.
In their games and ceremonies, it is only necessary to give their characteristic attitudes, with
drawings of the implements and weapons used, and notes in detail of each ceremony rep-
resented. It is desirable that drawings of their lodges, with their historical devices,
carving &c, be made with care."

That Stevens was more than satisfied with his selection of Stanley is indicated in a
letter of October 29, 1853, after Stanley's part in the survey was virtually complete. The
letter reads in part: "The chief of the exploration would do injustice to his own feelings
if he omitted to express his admiration for the various labors of Mr. Stanley, the artist of
the exploration. Besides occupying his professional field with an ability above any com-
mendation we can bestow, Mr. Stanley has surveyed two routes from Fort Benton to the
Cypress mountain, and from St. Mary's valley to Fort Colville over the Bitter Root range
of mountains to the furtherance of our geographical information, and the ascertaining of
important points in the question of a railroad; and he has also rendered effectual services
in both cases, and throughout his services with the exploration, in intercourse with the
Indians." Reports, v. 1, Stevens report, p. 67.


confirmation as governor of the new territory. Stevens' commis-
sion was issued March 17. The duties of the position were arduous
enough, for, in addition to the governorship, Stevens was also
superintendent of Indian affairs for the territory. Not satisfied
with his dual role of governor and Indian commissioner, Stevens
also applied to Secretary of War Jefferson Davis for the position
as head of the northern railroad survey, and received the commis-
sion for this task on April 8. 24

Such combined responsibilities would have given pause to most
men but not to Governor Stevens. Stevens was exceedingly ener-
getic, able and ambitious and doubtless would have become a
figure of greater national importance had it not been for the bullet
which ended his life when, as major general, he personally led

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