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F. Jay Haynes
Shoshone and Arapaho Indians During President Arthur's Wyoming Tour
Cowan's Auctions, Inc
6/10/2016 - American History: Live Salesroom Auction
Albumen photograph showing a group of Shoshone and Arapaho Indians at Fort Washakie, Wyoming Territory, 8.75 x 6.5 in., on original mount with Haynes' Fargo imprint and caption, President Arthur's Journey Through Wyoming and the National Park, August, 1883, from the Northern Pacific Views series. Matted and framed, 20 x 17 in.
The photograph includes the following identified subjects, starting with back row, left to right: Commache, Ute Bob, Wallowing Bill, Ground Bear, Sage, Black Coal, Chief of the Northern Arapahoes. Front row: Nammazannadza, Ahquita's Son, Jim Washakie, Nacoita, George Washakie, and US Soldiers.
In August of 1883, President Chester A. Arthur became the first American president to visit Yellowstone National Park; Frank Jay Haynes was selected to accompany the "expedition" and record it for posterity. According to Haynes' biographer Freeman Tilden, Arthur visited the Yellowstone country at the suggestion of friends who thought he needed a rest. Arthur was not a remarkable politician, and he had come to the President's office with the assassination of James Garfield; honest himself, he was surrounded by corrupt appointments. Tilden posits that the early champion of Yellowstone, Senator George Vest of Missouri, may have pushed Arthur west in order to bring attention to the plight of the park. Then as now, park officials were complaining of the sad state of affairs because of a lack of Congressional support.
Whatever the reason, Arthur and Vest went. Hayes was part of a select group that along with Arthur and Vest, included Lt. General Phillip Sheridan, Robert T. Lincoln, Secretary of War and son of A. Lincoln, Michael V. Sheridan, Anson Stager, Brig. General, Governor Crosby of Wyoming Territory, and a host of lesser lights. No reporters were allowed to accompany the party, and so Haynes' images might really be considered some of the first photographs taken of a president outside of his official capacities in Washington. Arthur was one of the least photographed 19th century presidents. [For more information, see Tilden, 1964: 115-139.]