Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More Library of Congress Pictures

Wichita woman and baby with a patchwork quilt
Library of Congress

I mentioned the Library of Congress photograph collection a few weeks ago. I browse through it often for lunch-time entertainment.
Here's the link:
I do searches for infant or baby, mainly to find some expressions I can use to emphasize a point---see crying princess on the left.
One of the serindipitous findings: lots of pictures of Native American babies in cradle boards and a few in quilts.

Asparoke mother and child
Library of Congress

Salish (Flathead) woman and baby in cradleboard
Library of Congress

I don't know a thing about cradle boards or beadwork or quillwork but don't these look like applique patterns? Same sylized flowers and leaves, similar symmetries. Probably all from the same source---European embroidery designs.

Nez Perce baby in cradle board
Library of Congress

Many of the pictures are late 19th-century but this one is from an 1861 book.

Find pictures of a variety of cradleboard styles at the National Museum of the American Indian by doing a search for cradleboard here:
Salish (Flathead) cradleboard about 1880
National Museum of the American Indian


  1. Fascinating. I'm not really a traditional quilter (patterns) but I find this so very interesting. Thank you.

  2. When you see these things in person, or any quill work, basketry, weaving, textile for that matter, you think... what in the world could these women have done with a roatary cutter, mat and sewing machine?!?! AMAZING! Makes my little projects that I have anxst over seem so elementary. Thanks for giving us this information, can't wait to go explore. Would be pretty to print out some of the photos and put into a quilt somehow... :)

  3. I never thought about it before, most of the ones I have seen, have flowers, like squash blossoms. I will look them in a different way now.


  4. here's a page that discusses traditional ( pre European) and later beadwork designs among the Shoshone people.

    very poignant pictures.

  5. Wonderful bead work and beautiful photos. I am Mohawk and Irish. The bead work of many NA nations is amzing considering the effort involved. To work with porupine quills you have a first chew them! Sinew thread on leather with bone needles is difficult and time comsuming too.
    When we hear that Manhattan (NYC) was bought for beadds, we laugh. Can you imagine dong beads work and fidning a source of beautiful glass beads!? By the way, NA people accepted beads not in trade for Manhattan. The idea was you offered someone a gift to HUNT on their lands .. owning land was not in the NA thoughts. How can you own "your Mother"?
    Thanks for provising images the link us all together Barbara.
    Smiles, Julie in TN

  6. Very cool. I actually live on the Flathead Indian reservation have never seen this work before. The white "beads" on the shirt the Flathead women are wearing are actually elk ivories - each elk has two canine teeth made of ivory and they were once hunted just for these teeth. Elk are hard to get - they don't like people, so you're seeing the skills of a phenomenal hunter and probably a "wealthy" family.