Comanches in the New West: 1895-1908
Novelist Larry McMurtry once received a photograph showing a demonstration of the then-new kerosene lamp to a mixed crowd of cowboys, soldiers, and Indians. To him, this image captured the transition from the Old West to the New West and led him to purchase the collection of glass plate negatives from which this print came. Sensing that the collection contained a fascinating record of cultural change and survival, McMurtry loaned it to the University of Texas Press for investigation.
With the assistance of Comanche expert Daniel J. Gelo and others, Stanley Noyes has identified the photographers, subjects, and settings of these thirty-two photographs. Most appear to be the work of pioneer woman photographer Alice Snearly and her brother-in-law Lon Kelly, who worked in the heart of Comanche territory on the Texas-Oklahoma border.
These images preserve the "interim" generation of Comanches, including Quanah Parker and two of his wives, who endured reservation life and forced moves to individual allotments of farm and ranch land. Yet the photos show not a defeated but a resilient people who have held on to many of the old ways while adopting enough of Anglo culture to survive.
Noyes's historical introduction provides context for the photos, which he also describes in detailed captions. A few images of Anglo settlers and towns complete the picture of life in Indian Territory at this moment of change.
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A Note on the Photography
The Photographs with Captions
Piah Kiowa with Lady Alice Snearly
Quanah Parker with Other Comanche Horsemen
Keithtahroco Big John Pewewardy and Pahkumah
Tonawer and Pautchee
Tissoyo Yannyconny Pete Snearly and Others
Apache Leader Geronimo Posing
Geronimo before Post Oak Arbor
CurlyBud Ballew with Amy and Carrie
Cache Issue Station Oklahoma Territory
Piah Kiowa Posing with Gertrude Kelley
Hitching Rack before the Issue Station
Bert Seahmer Tree Top and Utah
Old Man Komah and Seekadeeah
Esadooah with Knox Tockawunna Policeman
Mounted Comanche Girl
Quanah Parker with Two Wives