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George A. Addison Studio Photographic Collection

George A. Addison Photographs and Tax Document
Creator: George A. Addison
Dates: 1890-1907
Quantity 5 inches
Accession: 2004.110.1


Photographs from the studio of Texas and Oklahoma Territory photographer George A. Addison, consisting primarily of portraits of American Indians from the Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory area. Notable persons pictured in the collection include Geronimo and Quanah Parker. Images of Native American lifeways and material culture and a small number of photographs documenting white settler life at the end of the 19th century are also included.


George A. Addison was a photographer who operated studios in Texas and Oklahoma Territory from the early 1880s through at least the first decade of the 20th century. He operated studios in Taylor and Georgetown near Austin, Texas; Nocona in northern Texas; Wheeler County in the Texas Panhandle; and, from 1890 to 1895, in the Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory area. In addition to the usual studio work, the collection shows that he also photographed landscapes and other outdoor scenes.

Mautz, Carl. Biographies of Western Photographers. Nevada City, CA: Carl Mautz Publishing, 1997.


Scope & Content Note

The collection is arranged in three series, George A. AddisonNative Americans, and Settler Life.

Virtually none of the 76 mounted photographs that comprise this collection can be dated with certainty. The bulk of the collection consists of photographs of American Indians that were probably taken during Addison’s time in the Fort Sill area (1890-1895), but other images are copy prints or are otherwise not specifically dateable. Photographs that cannot be specifically dated have been dated as circa 1895, which covers Addison’s time at Fort Sill and his period of greatest activity as a photographer. Some photographs exist in multiples and others have significant damage to the emulsion or mount, including one Geronimo image that has been torn in half.

Series 1: George A. Addison (ca. 1895-1907)
Consists of two items related to Addison and his career, a 1907 Wheeler County, Texas Occupation Tax Receipt issued to Addison in Mobeetie, Texas, the only non-photographic item in the collection, and a portrait photograph of Addison.

Series 2: Native Americans (ca. 1895-1897)
Consists of 66 cabinet card and other mounted photographs of American Indians, the majority probably taken by Addison while he was in the Fort Sill area. The bulk of the photographs are studio portraits of children, men, women, and groups, but the series also includes six photographs of the Fort Sill Indian School. Significant individuals pictured include multiple images of Geronimo and Quanah Parker as well as Gaul, Kicking Bird, Lone Wolf, and Toshaway. Included are images that are known copy prints of other photographer’s work including images by Charles Bell, Alexander Gardner, William E. Irwin, and William S. Soule. These images illustrate the common 19th century practice of producing copy prints of other photographer’s images for the resale market. Only 15 images have Addison mounts, but it is probable that most of the Native American photographs with plain mounts are also Addison images. Most of the photographs were not originally captioned, but have been given descriptive captions in the container list; when a photograph is captioned but needs additional description this has been indicated in the container list by square brackets.

Almost 20 of the Indian photographs have notations by Addison’s daughter Laura written in fountain pen on a separate piece of paper, then taped to the reverse of the photo mount. Based on the consistent appearance of these notations and internal evidence referring to the existence of Laura’s children it is probable that the notes date from the 1920s or 1930s, rather than from when the photographs were printed. The notes variously identify persons pictured in the photographs, including members of the Addison family; make (sometimes derogatory) comments about the appearance and dress of the persons pictured; or comment on the significance of the image, for example, one of the Geronimo photographs taken by her father.

Collection images documenting Native American history, lifeways, and material culture include a photograph of what Laura Addison terms an “Indian camp meeting,” which seems to be some sort of religious revival attended by both Indian and white people including members of the Addison family who are identified in the photograph; the tree bough shelter where the meeting was held can be seen in the background of the photograph. Other notable images include a photograph that shows, according to Laura Addison’s caption, Indians obtaining the last government rations to be distributed at Fort Sill and nice shot of a large Southern Plains Indian social dance. Also included are images of tipis, Wichita Indian grass homes, and a faded copy print showing two tree interments.

The bulk of the Native American Series, and the bulk of the collection as a whole, consists of 53 portrait photographs of American Indian children, men, women, and groups. Most of the images are formal studio portraits, but some are taken outdoors or in more informal settings. A small number of portraits have been tinted, some with greater success than others. Some of the persons pictured are named and famous like Geronimo and Quanah Parker, some are named but not well known, but the majority are unknown persons. The many examples of traditional clothing, jewelry, hairstyles, headgear, and material culture objects shown in the portrait photographs are collection highlights. Included are examples of fringed and beaded dresses, shawls, and sashes; women’s clothing decorated with elk teeth; otter fur hair wraps; feathered headdresses; cradleboards; feather fans; and necklaces. Other images include photographs of Quanah Parker in the living room and dining room of his home near Fort Sill, a wonderful photograph of six Indian women on horseback in traditional clothing, two of whom are holding umbrellas, and an interesting photograph of two Kiowa women with a crying baby in a cradleboard who are posed with a little barefooted white girl in a party dress.

Six images of the Fort Sill Indian School from the late 19th century are also part of this series. The school buildings and grounds, as well as the students, are shown in the photographs. Three of the images show the same view.

Series 3: Settler Life (ca. 1890-ca. 1905)
Series includes nine photographs that document aspects of white life and settlement at the turn of the 20th century. Included are three landscape photographs, two images of the Wichita Mountains near Fort Sill and an unidentified photograph of a grass or forest fire at night. Three photographs touch on aspects of frontier military life. There is a photograph of the popular lithograph Custer’s Last Fight, which was widely distributed by Anheuser-Busch, which also shows up in the collection photograph of Quanah Parker in his living room. Two photographs apparently show scenes in the officer’s mess at Fort Sill. Two portrait photographs are included, one is a group photograph of three soldiers and four little girls, presumably a family portrait, the other was taken by Russell, Kansas photograph J. H. Allen and shows an unidentified young couple. Finally, there is a single photograph that is unidentified, but looks like it was taken in a town shortly after one of the Oklahoma land runs. The photograph shows a group of men in front of a large sign for a real estate office and there is what appears to be an outdoor bar set up behind the men.

Subject Terms

Personal Names:
Addison, George A.
Addison, Laura
Geronimo, 1829-1909
Kicking Bird
Lone Wolf
Parker, Quanah, 1845?-1911

Subject Headings:
Apache Indians-Oklahoma
Chiricahua Indians-Oklahoma
Comanche Indians-Oklahoma
Fort Sill (Okla.)
Fort Sill Indian School
Group portraits
Indians of North America-Clothing
Indians of North America-Dwellings
Indians of North America-Jewelry
Indians of North America-Oklahoma
Kiowa Indians-Oklahoma
Portrait photographs
Slaughtering and slaughter-houses
Wichita Indians-Oklahoma

Processing Information

The George A. Addison Studio Photographic Collection was purchased by the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum with funds provided by Martin C. Dickinson in 2004.  The photographs in this collection have been digitized and are available for viewing on the Image Database.

Preferred Citation

George A. Addison Studio Photographic Collection, Box ##, Folder ##. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Container List

Series 1: George A. Addison

ca. 1895-1907
Box Folder Description
2 1 County Occupation Tax Receipt, Wheeler County, Texas, 1907 [2004.110.1.77]
2 2 Portrait of George A. Addison, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.59]

Series 2: Native Americans

ca. 1895-1897
Box Folder Description
History and Lifeways
2 3 Indian camp meeting, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.65]
1 1 Indian family butchering Indian Agency beef, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.71]
2 4 Last government rations issued to the Indians, Fort Sill, OT, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.63]
1 2 Southern Plains Indian social dance, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.33]
1 3 Two Indian tree interments, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.72]
Material Culture
1 4 Early winter homes [Two tipis], ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.73]
1 5 Wichita Indians winter homes, grass homes, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.27]
1 6 Children, Young Indian boy, forelock, buckskin clothing and crucifix, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.52]
1 7 Children, Young Indian boy, fringed buckskin clothes and leggings, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.32]
2 5 Children, Young Indian child poses with medal in her hand and coin necklace, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.19]
1 8 Groups, Apache family with grandmother, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.48]
1 9-10 Groups, Indian man with two young Indian women, ca. 1895 [2] [2004.110.1.40; 44]
1 11 Groups, Lucy Tah-wa-istah-ker-na-ker and Chah-tar-sy [Portrait of middle-aged Kiowa (?) couple], ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.57]
2 6 Groups, Portrait of two young Indian women with shawls, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.25]
2 7 Groups, Quanah Parker and his wife entertain in their dining room, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.75]
1 12 Groups, Six young Indian women on horseback near Indian village at Fort Sill, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.62]
1 13 Groups, Studio portrait of two Kiowa (?) men with fur wraps and feathers, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.43]
1 14 Groups, Studio portrait of two young Indian boys in their best clothes, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.41]
1 15 Groups, Studio portrait of two young Indian girls in elaborate dresses and shawls, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.53]
2 8 Groups, Studio portrait of two young Indian women, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.11]
1 16 Groups, Two Kiowa women with cradleboard, crying baby, and little barefooted white girl in a dress, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.16]
2 9 Men, Arapaho [Indian man with rifle], ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.08]
2 10 Men, Gaul, Sioux Chief, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.07]
1 17 Men, Geronimo at Fort Sill after capture, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.37]
2 11 Men, Geronimo, head and shoulders portrait, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.28]
2 12 Men, Geronimo [Portrait in European clothing and hat], ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.23]
1 18-19 Men, Geronimo [Portrait in European clothing and hat], ca. 1895 [2] [2004.110.1.34; 36]
1 20 Men, Geronimo posed with headdress and medicine bonnet, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.26]
2 13 Men, Indian man with fringed clothing and fur hair wraps, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.14]
1 21 Men, Kicking Bird (Eagle), Kiowa Chief, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.03]
1 22 Men, Lone Wolf, Kiowa Chief, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.02]
2 14 Men, Oncpapa [Running Antelope, Hunkpapa Sioux], ca. 1895 [1]
1 23 Men, Portrait of Lower Yanktonai Sioux man, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.04]
1 24-25 Men, Quanah Parker, ca. 1895 [2] [2004.110.1.38; 39]
2 15 Men, Quanah Parker in his living room, near Fort Sill, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.17]
1 26 Men, Seated Indian man with feather fan and fur hair wraps, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.45]
2 26 Men, Seated Indian man with fur hair wraps and feather fan, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.13]
1 27 Men, Seated Indian man with fur hair wraps and feather fan, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.56]
1 28 Men, Seated Indian man with fur hair wraps and fur pelt studio prop, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.46]
1 29 Men, Standing Indian man with bow and arrow, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.47]
1 30 Men, Toshaway, Amauche [Comanche] Chief, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.01]
1 31 Men, White Wolf, a Comanche man, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.18]
1 32 Men, Winter dress [Young Comanche (?) man with Marlin rifle, fur hair wraps, horse with Western saddle], ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.35]
2 18 Men, Young Indian man with fur hair wraps, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.20]
2 19 Women, Dorothy Kay-wah-kla [Indian woman with bead decorated clothing], ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.15]
1 33 Women, Elderly Apache woman, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.49]
2 20 Women, Indian girl with elaborate dress, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.09]
2 21 Women, Indian woman with cross earrings, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.10]
1 34-35 Women, Seated young Indian woman with elk tooth decorated buckskin dress, ca. 1895 [2] [2004.110.1.51; 51]
2 22 Women, Young Indian woman in fringed buckskin dress, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.12]
2 23 Women, Young Indian woman in fringed buckskin dress, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.21]
1 36 Women, Young Indian woman with beaded and fringed dress, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.24]
2 24 Women, Young Indian woman with beaded sash, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.16]
1 37 Women, Young Indian woman with fringed shawl, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.22]
1 38 Women, Young Kiowa (?) woman in buckskin dress with elk tooth decoration, bow and arrow, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.42]
2 25-27 Ft. Sill Indian School, ca. 1895 [3] [2004.110.1.68; 69; 70]
2 28 Ft. Sill Indian School, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.76]
2 29 Ft. Sill Indian School, 1897 [1] [2004.110.1.67]
2 30 General view, Ft. Sill School, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.66]

Series 3: Settler Life

ca. 1890-ca. 1905
Box Folder Folder Title/Description
1 39 Forest or grass fire at night, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.31]
2 31 Mount Scott, 1902 [1] [2004.110.1.60]
2 32 Wichita Mountains north of Lawton, O. T., ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.30]
2 33 Custer’s Last Fight [Photograph of the lithograph “Custer’s Last Fight”], ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.61]
2 34 Five men at dining table with female black servant, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.64]
2 35 Officer’s Mess, Fort Sill, O. T., ca. 1895
1 40 Group portrait of three young soldiers and four little girls, ca. 1905 [1] [2004.110.1.40]
1 41 Portrait of young Russell, Kansas couple, ca. 1890 [1] [2004.110.1.54]
Town Life
2 36 Group of men in front of stores and signs, ca. 1895 [1] [2004.110.1.29]

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