The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago was the first American fair to feature anthropology. The new discipline had its own building, supervised by Frederic Putnam, then director of Harvard University’s Peabody Museum.It competed, however, with another display of anthropology, organized by the Smithsonian Institution. In this lecture, Ira Jacknis will explore the many ways in which these exhibits offered competing versions of cultural reality and trace the innovations of anthropological display that have since become standard museum practice.
Related exhibition: All the World Is Here
Ira Jacknis, Research Anthropologist, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
[00:00:05.73] Welcome everyone, and welcome to our, I guess you could say TV land or video land audience as well. So thanks for coming tonight. It's a pleasure and an honor to introduce Ira Jacknis who is really one of the outstanding historians of anthropology in the United States today and also an anthropologist, renowned anthropologist in his own right and a long-term friend and colleague.
[00:00:33.09] He was educated at Yale University as an undergraduate. He got his PhD in anthropology at the University of Chicago. And he is presently, since 2003 to the present, research anthropologist, as you heard, at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California Berkeley.
[00:00:53.34] He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the-- from the Renwick Gallery, from the Field Museum of Natural History, from the American Philosophical Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the New York State Historical Society among many more. He is also a research associate at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian, at the American Museum of Natural History, and at our own dear Peabody Museum here at Harvard.
[00:01:23.82] His research specializations are in art and aesthetics, museology, media anthropology, and the history of anthropology and American Indians. He has numerous publications, including four books, 1991, Objects of Myth and Memory: American Indian Art at the Brooklyn Museum with Diana Fane. 1994, Getemono: Collecting the Folk Art-- Folk Crafts of Old Japan with Letters from Kyoto by Brian Shekeloff. 1995, Carving Traditions of Northwest California. 2002, The Storage Box Tradition: Kwakiutl Art, Anthropologists, and Museums. 2004, editor with an introduction of Food in California Indian Culture. And in 2017, Collecting, Ordering, Governing: Anthropology, Museums, and Liberal Government with Tony Bennett and numerous others. And he, in preparation, he is preparing for us, at the Peabody Museum Press, Miniature Worlds: Model Dioramas at the Peabody Museum as a working title.
[00:02:37.62] He has numerous publications and articles as well, but without any further ado, I give you Ira Jacknis. Please welcome him. Thank you.
[00:02:55.05] Well, thank you, thank you very much for inviting me here and asking me to talk about this subject that I've been thinking about for decades, actually, and which is so wonderfully celebrated in the exhibit upstairs. It's a huge topic. And I'm going to select just a slice of it tonight. And why don't we jump right in?
[00:03:23.23] Now, this is officially called the World's Columbian Exposition, popularly known as the Chicago World's Fair or the World's Fair of 1893. It was meant to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the quote, "discovery" of America by Christopher Columbus, that's the Columbian in 1492. So, as you can realize, they didn't quite get their act together.
[00:03:51.46] And when you read historical accounts, many people claimed that the fair, what took place in 1892 because they're just thinking mechanically. But it actually was in 1893 during the summer from May 1 to October 31. So that was six months.
[00:04:07.84] And it's so difficult nowadays to kind of put yourself back in time and realize what an impact this had in the United States of the period. It's estimated that 27 million Americans visited the fair. I'm not sure if they were all unique visits or repeat visits, but that's equal to one quarter of the population of the United States.
[00:04:33.30] And I can believe it. Because whenever I'm reading historical accounts, everybody comments about going to the fair. So and then the next thing they say is, not only did I go there, but it blew my mind and changed my life and my career. So this, this was a big deal.
[00:04:52.62] And it was also a big deal for anthropology, which is what I'll be speaking about tonight. I like to borrow one of the phrases from my mentor, George Stocking, historian of anthropology at Chicago who was talking about an earlier Fair, the London exposition, actually the first great international exposition in London in 1851. And he called that a precipice in time, like a cliff. And so after 1851, after 1893, everything was different, everything changed.
[00:05:25.47] And Curtis Hinsley who you heard, who came here a year ago to talk about Peabody anthropology has referred to this fair as the coming of age of American anthropology. And I think that's certainly true. And what I'll be suggesting tonight is that you can really relate, gather together all of American anthropology before 1893 and focus it at this event. And then after 1893, all of American anthropology follows from what took place there. And I can't tell that whole story, but I'll select some of that, some of that tonight.
[00:06:03.85] And this is a lovely, romantic picture to begin with. As I go on with my talk, you'll see that appearances are deceiving. And what actually was taking place under the surface is not always what we were seeing on the surface. So we can begin right here with this dichotomy.
[00:06:25.87] This on the left here is, that's the famous, that's the White City, as it was referred to. It's a neoclassical style of architecture, Beaux-Arts, which influenced American urbanism and architecture and town planning for decades after that. The White City refers, you know, the appearance, the notion is that this is marble. I mean, that's what the Boston Public Library would be, marble.
[00:06:55.26] But at the fair, like many fairs, they didn't have time and money to make these things out of marble. So all of these buildings were, they were fake. They were made out of a material called staff, which is a mixture of plaster of Paris and straw with some wood-- over a wood or metal frame. So all this luscious, classical stonework was nowhere in evident, evidence.
[00:07:24.37] Then we have here, this was at the fair, the midway. And this was probably equally popular and equally influential. And this is the side that's more related to anthropology, which I'll unpack a bit more as I go. And so right at the beginning, we have this duality, this dichotomy between more classical, aspirational architecture and more vernacular architecture. This is the epitome of classical Greece and Rome and Paris and London. And this is from Syria and South America and the darker areas of the world.
[00:08:10.53] Then I want to begin with this lovely quote from Thomas Eakins, the famous painter who had 10 of his canvases exhibited at the fair and painted this lovely portrait-- and I'll come back to this-- lovely portrait of his friend Frank Hamilton Cushing, an anthropologist from the Smithsonian who played a huge role in displaying anthropology at the fair. And he talked here in his drawing manual about refraction, that things are refracted when they go through water, when they go through air.
[00:08:45.84] And the two images of the original model and the refracted model are not-- they seem to be alike, but they're not quite the same. And I'm going to take that as my starting point. And tonight, I'll be talking about how anthropological collections and objects and peoples at the fair were refracted again and again and again.
[00:09:09.32] Now, moving-- before we return to Chicago in 1893, in order to put it into context and understand what was going on, we need to back up a bit and go through some precursors. So where was anthropology at the time in America? Briefly, we've got these big national museums that you know of. Of course, they don't quite look like this anymore.
[00:09:33.23] The Smithsonian, the US National Museum, which was largely, although it goes back to the 1840s, it was largely founded as a result of the 1876 Philadelphia centennial exhibit, which went into this building. And then the American Museum of Natural History also founded around 1869. And so it was there. And the Smithsonian ended up having a huge display at the Chicago fair. The American Museum, not so much.
[00:10:06.02] These museums, well, so here we go. Here's Harvard. You're going to hear a lot about Harvard and the Smithsonian tonight. We also have Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania Museum. They had also a significant role at the fair.
[00:10:21.23] And then my institution, I couldn't help but put that in, at the University of California-- which this museum building actually was in San Francisco, not Berkeley where the university is-- I put that in because that's an example of the outcome of the fair, that many of the anthropologists who were active in the fair, who were active in the museum were at the fair in 1893 and most notably, our founder, Phoebe Hearst. She was just beginning her career as a philanthropist in general and of anthropology.
[00:10:54.14] And her arrival at the fair and talking to anthropologists was critical. It was probably the single most important factor in having her found the museum in 1901. So the fair, again, the fulcrum. You can already see it happening before and after being linked, featured, fastened at the fair.
[00:11:16.67] Now, talking about people, of course, here is our friend, Frederic Putnam, the first director of-- sorry, not the first director at Peabody, but actually the second. But very important director who's very responsive. If you go upstairs to the exhibit, you'll see his name again and again and again. And Putnam really was an amazing anthropological entrepreneur. He really, outside of the Smithsonian, he really controlled American anthropology in the late 19th century.
[00:11:47.69] So he never left his position at Harvard until his retirement in 1909 and then his death in 1915. But at the same time, he took on new positions. So he directed a separate department of anthropology at the Chicago fair. And then, a few years later, he directed anthropology, he went to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
[00:12:10.58] Of course, he hired this fellow here, Franz Boas. And then in 1901, when Phoebe Hearst was founding her museum there, he became our first director at the University of California Museum of Anthropology. So he is central to this story, both before and after.
[00:12:27.83] Then Franz Boas, who you've heard so much about, this was really critical. He was a German immigrant, came over in 1887, and was having a very difficult time establishing himself and getting a job. And Putnam recognized his talents. And in 1891, in preparation for the fair, gave him a job as his second in command. And so Putnam directed the organization of anthropology at the fair. A lot of the work was done by Boas, who was working on the fair full-time until it opened and then followed putting him to the American Museum of Natural History.
[00:13:08.78] Now moving to the other institution, the Smithsonian, the two major institutions here who are putting on exhibits are the Peabody Museum and the Smithsonian. And here are the Smithsonian Fellows, Otis T. Mason, known for his work in basketry, Native American basketry and evolutionary typology, and William Holmes who is a fascinating character who had early experience in the American West as an artist, as an expeditionary artist. So he really excelled at the fair, bringing his artistic-- he combined artistic talents and anthropological talents.
[00:13:49.40] But these are sort of older generation, more sedentary, back at the museum. They were relying on these people, these younger men at the Bureau of American Ethnology. Here we see Cushing again in his Zuni costume, photograph taken at Zuni. And James Mooney, who we'll hear a bit more from later on, this is in Zuni and this is Navajo and this Navajo man.
[00:14:17.33] And these people were the field workers. They went all over the country, particularly to the Southwest and collected material in general for the Smithsonian and also in particular for the Fair. And Cushing, in particular, there was a bit of distance between these two men. And to a great extent, Mooney acquired the material in the field, brought it into Washington, and then it was shipped out to Chicago to be installed.
[00:14:48.32] And it was Cushing who was literally putting the exhibit together. He was a real showman. And he had great artistic skills of his own. And he would take these specimens that Mooney was collecting, put them on costumes, costume mannequins. And in some cases, when they were missing an object, he would just make it. So he had a huge impact on what people actually saw at the fair.
[00:15:15.07] So now, that's the people. Going back to expositions, this, the Philadelphia centennial, is the first great-- not the first, but the first great exposition in the United States which prominently featured anthropology. So the Smithsonian had gotten American Indian material from all over the country, also in British Columbia, and put things together.
[00:15:39.58] It's very crowded, you can see, very kind of Victorian. And notice here all the many photographs. And that's going to become, at least through 1893, everywhere we look, we're going to see photographs.
[00:15:52.92] Another view here, better view of the photographs here and the crowded, crowded cases. This fair, actually, they had made an attempt to have visiting troupes of Native Americans from all over the continent come. And they just couldn't manage to swing that. So the people did not come, but the objects did.
[00:16:14.66] These were two of the specimens or displays that were there at the Chicago fair-- I mean, the Philadelphia fair. Although, actually, not quite these. So these are replicas. And these are in the Peabody's collection.
[00:16:28.91] And I can plug my book on the miniature dioramas. These will be featured in the book. And I was so excited when I found these upstairs in storage because I knew that these were displayed in 1876. So I said, these are the very first miniature dioramas in American anthropology.
[00:16:49.01] And I did some more historical research and I found out that at the fair in 1876, a visiting museum director from Scotland came to the fair and was so impressed, he made an offer to the Smithsonian to buy these things. And they wanted to establish good relationships with them. So the original dioramas that were in Philadelphia went to Scotland. And I've just recently found one of them still survives.
[00:17:16.76] And then the US Geological Survey started cranking these out for other museums. And that's when Putnam bought his set in 1878. So they're still pretty early. And the Peabody is lucky to have them.
[00:17:31.92] Moving closer to 1893, we get these more immediate precursors. This is a famous exposition here on the left of Paris. So Paris had managed to have a huge display of living, living native-- two things that were related, living native peoples and costumed mannequins. And our friend Otis T. Mason from the Smithsonian went over to Paris and saw this. And it just completely filled his mind and he said, well, the Columbian quadro-centennial is coming up and we can do the same thing that Paris did here in America.
[00:18:11.85] And he just stole their program book and replicated it in Chicago. Then when the Smithsonian was putting its displays together, they actually had a trial run here in Madrid in 1892. And for some reason, the Spanish were able to get the date right and have the celebration on the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage.
[00:18:38.40] So now we're coming to Chicago and lovely, this has always been one of my favorite views. There's a lot of-- there's an electric lamp here. There's a lot of modernity going on here. This is just about the same time that halftone illustrations are coming into existence, more importantly, in the time-based media of film, Edison.
[00:19:01.22] There are no films at the fair, but they come within months. And Edison and Muybridge are experimenting with kind of motion images in film. And wax cylinder phonographs are used at the fair to record ethnic music. So it's really the beginning of the many of the modern communicative devices that we know of.
[00:19:25.38] Now, anthropology, so I've already kind of suggested the scope of my story. There wasn't just-- anthropology wasn't in one place. Actually, it wasn't even in two places. It was in many places at the fair.
[00:19:38.82] And, in fact, that's the, kind of the, if there's any takeaway you get from this talk, it's that there's multiplicity at the fair and nothing was simple or straightforward. So anthropology, there were these two major displays at the Smithsonian which was included in the US federal building. And Putnam had his own anthropology building. And this is really, it really is, as Hinsley says, it's really the coming of age of American anthropology.
[00:20:04.92] Because before 1893, people had barely used the term anthropology in America. And hardly anybody knew what that field was. And this was an entire building, the whole thing had the name anthropology on the title, on the outside. And people got to go in and find out what anthropology might be. So it was a real coup for Putnam to have that.
[00:20:28.81] So here is a view of the fair. And since I went to the University of Chicago, I know this area. Actually, the University of Chicago is right here. And this big, right now it's a big sunken park area.
[00:20:41.98] And this is called the Midway. Today it's called the Midway. And it was called the Midway then. And so you saw the picture earlier of the Midway. And so most of the fair is south of the Midway, going here. And to give you, to put you, orient you in space, so the Midway is out here and the anthropology building is really down here in the very corner. And the Smithsonian, the federal building is quite up there. So it's kind, they're separated.
[00:21:12.76] Now, this is not the best picture, but it's very important to get you situated to the complexity of anthropology going on. We've moved down south here to the anthropology building. So that's anthropology building here. And the-- right around, outside of the anthropology building, some of the displays that I'll be talking to you about, the Mayan ruins and the south pond where the Kwakiutl, Northwest coast peoples are over here. These were actually run by Putnam and run by the anthropology department.
[00:21:47.88] Then there is an Indian School here, which is part of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs. There is also cliff dwellers exhibit right here, around here, which is run by a commercial operation on an anthropological theme. But they were actually trying to make money. So, again, it's kind of anthropological, but it's not run by anthropologists. But it's all stuck here together. And as visitors would go through, they would be walking from one exhibit to the other, very much thinking about how all these things fit together or didn't.
[00:22:24.75] So here's the Indian School. And it's quite fascinating because [INAUDIBLE] Putnam and the anthropologists were trying to display Indians in what's called the salvage paradigm. They were worried about the disappearance of Indian cultures. And they wanted to show what Indians were like centuries and millennia ago, which was somewhat of a theoretical professional abstraction.
[00:22:53.61] The US government, on the other hand, had a very different idea about Indians. And they wanted to basically exterminate Indians. They didn't feel that Indians really had a sophisticated culture that needed to be preserved or understood. And they were trying to make white men out of them. And the best way to do that was to send them to schools, forbid them to speak their languages, to preserve any of their customs, their ceremonies, and their crafts, and to learn to learn English. And that would be the best thing for the Indians.
[00:23:25.93] So this was at the Indian School, which was within, you know, shouting distance, viewing distance of the anthropological display. So visitors were very much going to be seeing these two ways of framing the Indian. And I should say, as should be obvious by now, most of my talk tonight will be taking American Indian examples.
[00:23:45.03] Because there was a lot of Native American content at the fair. And it's what I know best. But you could give other lectures similarly about the role of Africans, African-Americans at the fair, Pacific Islanders, there were people from all over the world, as well as Germans and Irish. So it really is quite an international operation.
[00:24:07.35] So this is the cliff dwellers thing that I-- exhibit that I talked about. And, again, this seems to be a mountain with interiors with exhibits of native crafts. And this is all fake. Again, it's the kind of staff, the plaster, the wood.
[00:24:27.74] And it's, to me, some of the people have actually compared the Chicago World's Fair to Disneyland. So all of the simulations that we now know from amusement parks were really seen for the first time in 1893 at Chicago. And I always think of this as a prime example of that. So that was a commercial operation.
[00:24:49.32] You could also find American Indian materials at the state pavilions, states and nations had their own pavilions and presented native artifacts in those places. And I always kind of enjoy seeing this because this is from the Oklahoma, the places where Indians were found then and Indians are found today in Oklahoma and New Mexico and Arizona, still territories at this point. And the architecture is so un-Southwestern.
[00:25:19.89] And if you had gone to Santa Fe in 1893, this is what you would see in the plaza. And the Santa Fe style that we know of today with the adobe and all that Spanish Colonial Revival really is a post-1900, post-1910 creation. And so this is what the southwest looked like at the time for Anglo culture.
[00:25:42.43] So there were Indian objects in here as well. And then as I said, there were heavy participation of various Europeans of various sorts, Irish and Germans as well as Africans and Pacific Islanders. And here are some of the very dramatic African dances.
[00:26:04.59] One thing I probably can say, I should have brought my notes with me to read you the exact quotes. But the problem was that some of the people arranging these dances and being impresarios were not very sympathetic to these native cultures. People like Putnam and Boas were, but in the end it didn't make any difference.
[00:26:27.30] Because there was a general racial, racist perception, reception of these demonstrations. People like Boas and Putnam and the anthropologists were doing their best to present native cultures in a dignified, respective light and it didn't really go over. And so unfortunately-- and this is explained in the exhibit upstairs, so unfortunately, the racism that was endemic to America at the time, people sort of came with their prejudices and left with the same prejudices.
[00:27:01.60] But there were some good things that happened. This was the popular display from Java, from Indonesia. And we have the shadow puppets upstairs. I'm fond of this because Mary Hemingway, who you know of at the Peabody Museum, was sponsoring early sound recordings on wax cylinders. And she sent Benjamin Ives Gilman of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts to the fair to make over 100 wax cylinder recordings.
[00:27:31.48] And he recorded the gamelan at the fair. And those recordings, they're now-- Harvard owns them and they're on loan, deposit at the Library of Congress. And they are the very first recordings of the Indonesian gamelan in existence. So the fair was very important for things like that as well.
[00:27:52.00] Then architecture and the native peoples, this is the model that Mason was bringing over from Paris. And there was a lot of this at the Chicago fair as well. These are the Kwakiutl and the Haida house from the Northwest coast, who I've done a lot of research on. These are the Kwakiutl troupe and some dancing as well. So they were there. And these ended up having a huge influence, resonance in American anthropology as well.
[00:28:21.77] Now, there were the Penobscot Indians. This was actually a display that was run by Putnam and the anthropologists. And Kit Hinsley always likes this photo here because here we have the juxtaposition of the railroad tracks, the Illinois Central train right overlooking the bark tipis here. And these kinds of juxtapositions were riotous throughout the fair. . And so it must have been a very strange thing to go to the fair and be overwhelmed by all of this
[00:28:52.72] But there were more. This was the Buffalo Bill, again, a commercial operation was also at the fair. So this was separate from the anthropology, but he was there making his money off of these Indians, Indian demonstrations.
[00:29:08.77] Now, so now we come to the sort of the crux of what Putnam and Boas and Mason were doing. So here's the federal building again. And this fair is famous in American anthropology for two things, which you can kind of see here.
[00:29:24.61] It was the first fair to arrange-- or anthropological display, actually-- to arrange material in geographical order, in what we call culture areas. Before then, Mason at the Smithsonian had been arranging material in a comparative typological way so that all things from all over the world were put together in the same case. And Boas had famously debated with him about that and recommending a more geographical and regional approach, which Putnam was already doing at the Peabody Museum. And by 1893, Mason had come around to that and organized these alcoves here.
[00:30:07.83] I don't know, maybe my battery is giving out. Anyway, and here, this thing here, this map that's the other thing. That's a geographical, that's a map of the distribution of Native American languages that John Wesley Powell had arranged. And that was very influential in American anthropology.
[00:30:29.73] Now, the other thing that this fair was significant for was-- you can see, there we go, some of these people here. They are called life groups. They are costume mannequins. And we'll see some more of them later.
[00:30:44.37] Single figures had been used in American anthropology before then, but this was the first place in America where groups of mannequins would be together interacting, demonstrating a scene. And this became the dominant trope of American museum dioramas up to the present, actually. So those two things happened in 1893.
[00:31:08.98] Now moving over to Putnam and his anthropology building, here is a view of it. It looks quite different. It's not as grandiose and ordered and regular as the Smithsonian exhibit. And that's because Putnam didn't have the same funding that the Smithsonian had.
[00:31:26.61] And a lot of the Smithsonian objects were carefully, as I explained with Mooney, they were carefully collected over several years and very carefully displayed with a big budget. And Putnam kept strand scrambling. He didn't have as much time. He certainly didn't have as much money. And a lot of these things were sort of on loan. He was willing to get them from everywhere.
[00:31:52.14] He had enormous problems from the fair administration who weren't really giving him a lot of support. He couldn't even move into the building until the fair had already opened. And there wasn't enough time or money to put, enclose a lot of things in glass cases. So he struggled, but he also, with Franz Boas, did try to arrange things in geographical order that would explain some of the cultural context of these objects. Another view of those, you can kind of see things hanging from the ceiling all over.
[00:32:25.20] So now, most of the rest of my talk will be on two genres, sites and buildings, places, and people, bodies. And actually, I'm going to focus on the objects, the exhibits that were arranged actually by the anthropologists themselves. Obviously, also at the fair were native artifacts, which we've seen some of. But if I started to talk about everything at the fair, we would never leave tonight. So I'm going to just pick out these few things to talk about to give you a sense of what's going on.
[00:32:59.73] This is buildings. These are miniature models. These are both at the Peabody collection from the Southwest and the Serpent Mound. I think, yeah, so that's a picture of what Serpent Mound actually looked like. And the interesting thing-- this is the first mound, the first model of Serpent Mound. If you go upstairs to the exhibit, you'll see the second model that was made.
[00:33:24.53] This is a slightly bigger one. And it has more of the vegetation and it has the cornfield. And, again, here, we can see some of the refraction that was going on. This is a kind of bird's eye view, which really does help clarify the Serpent here and what's going on. This is what it looks like when you're, or what it looked like 100 years ago when you were standing there. And it's much harder to see what's going on.
[00:33:48.68] The interesting thing is that before the model was made, there was a cornfield on here. So the corn got mowed down. The Serpent was crumbling. And Putnam actually, the Peabody Museum bought the site and restored it and renovated it. And so by the time that the Peabody's model makers made this thing, the site had changed quite a lot. And there was a lot of, what can I say, creativity in how we got to the model from how we started here with the site.
[00:34:29.29] But there was also this other lovely model that was made by the same modelmaker, Charles Willoughby, who succeeded Putnam as director of the Peabody Museum. And this was not in the anthropology building, but it was anthropology. And this was in the liberal arts. Actually, it was a Harvard display. It was all devoted explaining to people what Harvard University did.
[00:34:50.41] And they showed this very cutting edge and innovative archeological explorations with the little shovels and cameras and all the tools of the archeologists. And it's still in the collection today. It's really lovely.
[00:35:07.74] Then there was the Mayan. We were moving over to buildings and structures. You can see more photographs and then the-- now, none of this is real. So these are all cast, these are all plaster casts.
[00:35:24.12] And the way they were made usually was going into the field and starting with paper, with papier-mache, putting it over the object and then bringing-- because it was a lot easier to work with paper and get it carted back to Boston than heavy plaster. But then, again, it had its own preservation problems. So they would bring it back to the studio and then do a reverse process and cast it in plaster and often paint it.
[00:35:53.67] And then, that was inside the anthropology building. Outside the building is more Harvard-sponsored-- these are, again, made out of staff that was based on papier-mache collected by Edward Thompson. And, again, now, these are all from very, very different places in Honduras and Yucatan. And he set them up as if they were all together, like you could actually go someplace to Central America and see this.
[00:36:23.22] And it's using the styles of landscape architecture. It's very carefully arranged like a garden. And there are tropical plants out here. So this is, again, somewhat of a fantasy. It's nothing you would see in Central America. Interestingly enough, if you look at this structure here, this is what it looked like at the time. And it's quite a nice, quite a fairly accurate-- so it's not so much the piece itself that was changed, but the setting.
[00:36:55.36] And this gives you a shot, an indication of what it was like to make these things in the field. And the interesting thing is that this whole process is part of what's been called a reproduction continuum. So in the 19th century, this was a period obsessed with copying and recording.
[00:37:15.34] And photography was the form that we most know where you have a negative. You put an object in front of a negative with photo sensitive chemicals and you make a-- first it was glass, then it was on film. And you make an image of it. And then you would have to print the negative into a positive.
[00:37:35.32] The same reproduction process works with casting, either papier-mache casting or plaster casting. So archaeologists love to do this and thought, had no problem arranging going from one to the other and doing all of them. Also with architecture, now this is another kind of miniature model which is fascinating.
[00:37:56.38] Unlike the other ones we saw, these were not made in the museum, but they were made in British Columbia. They commissioned a team of Haida artists to make this Skidegate village model. And, but there's also fascinating slippages here.
[00:38:14.76] This original house painting and this model actually happen to be made by the same artist. And when you first look at it, it seems quite similar. But then when you start looking closer at the details of the eyes and then the mouth here, most particularly around the designs here at the side, which are totally missing, you can see quite a lot of differences. So even, again, things that seem to be the same on first glance are not quite when you look a little more closely, even in this case when they were done by the same artist.
[00:38:46.63] Now, moving to people, these people are right upstairs. And I noticed in my caption I said the ideal. And then I noticed the caption label upstairs explains that, not quite ideal, they were meant to be typical. These were based on measurements of Harvard students and other students throughout American universities.
[00:39:11.86] And there was this fascinating racial slippage, you know, going on where this ideal, Anglo, white, 20-year-old was meant to be ideal-- typical, rather. I keep doing that, typical. But, as we can see, not quite typical. And there are a lot of American body types that are not here in this model. But this was down there in the anthropology building. And you can see it in the flesh, so to speak, upstairs.
[00:39:44.14] Now here are the life-- better view of the life groups that I was talking about based on the Paris model. And the exciting thing about that is that unlike the former models, we've got people, we've got families, we've got groups of people interacting. And this is really an exciting dramatic genre, a mode.
[00:40:06.47] And if you think about it, there are two things that this is related to. One is tableau vivants, which were hugely popular in Victorian Europe and America, where people would act out scenes and then they would strike a pose like this and then stop and they'd freeze. And they'd particularly like to illustrate famous scenes of literature or history.
[00:40:27.70] So people were doing that. They were familiar with that kind of static bodies caught within in action. There's also an influence from theater at the time.
[00:40:37.16] But the other thing that this links up to is the introduction of film. And film, putting bodies into motion, in sequencing, as I said, Muybridge and Edison-- it's just at this time that this is coming to America. And so the anthropologists are part of this cultural moment and adapting it to their exhibits.
[00:40:59.11] The other thing I'll say, well, yeah, we can move here. The dominant subjects are really crafts. There's some religion. These are all fixations of white Americans at the time in an age of industrialization where people are working in factories.
[00:41:17.89] And these are all demonstrating hand labor. This is the beginning of the arts and crafts movement in America and the whole appreciation of the Native American as a handcrafter. And you could buy Indian pottery and Navajo textiles. And so they're very much using these images for these dioramas at the fair. Yeah, and so the other thing is based on the models.
[00:41:47.76] Oh, the other thing I was going to say was that for the groupings, these photographs don't quite show it, but their favorite mode in the life group was a family, was a nuclear family with a husband and a wife and children. These are not quite that, but this was the photograph that James Mooney took in Hopi. And this was the diorama that was based on it.
[00:42:15.15] So you can immediately see the similarities and the differences. This fellow here is missing. What I kind of-- I don't know what the reason is particularly, but the woman baking the bread here is, this is an unmarried woman that you can tell by the whirls in her hair. And this is a married woman.
[00:42:36.10] And here, you know, they've reversed them in this. And I don't know why they did that, but the modelmakers had no access to Hopi land, to Arizona. They were only looking at the objects that Mooney collected and the photograph here that he had brought back.
[00:42:56.37] Mooney did another collection, moved over to the Navajo. And here we have silversmithing. And this is the forge here and someone working on his jewelry. Of course, it's missing the hogan completely. And, again, the same thing is going on.
[00:43:16.90] And then this is one that I enjoy thinking about for refraction. This is the Navajo weaver. And this is the photograph that Mooney took and the loom here that he collected. And here it is.
[00:43:29.57] Now, when we look at this, it's clearly, these are two women. These are two Navajo women. What you might not realize is that this person here is a man named Charlie and actually was a transvestite.
[00:43:43.20] And when you see American representations in museums at the time invariably, whether they're paintings or dioramas, invariably, the white people have a really difficult time thinking that American Indian men could be weavers. To them, weavers have to be women. And among the Navajo, most weavers are women.
[00:44:05.82] But among the Pueblo, most of the Pueblo groups, the Hopi and the Zuni, the Navajo-- the weavers are men. So it would be quite understandable to see a male weaver. And in this case, the Navajo weaver happened to be male, but the museum people just couldn't go that far.
[00:44:25.14] So in other terms of models, this is our friend Frank Hamilton Cushing, again, who loved to play Indian at every chance he could get. And so he's dressing up to show the modelmakers how the costume would be worn and what it would look like on a horse. And he had another colleague, Walter Hoffman, he actually had been to Wisconsin and Minnesota to study the Ojibwe.
[00:44:50.82] And so he is showing how you would incise-- the scribe would incise symbols on birch bark. And you can see the transformations that are occurring. But in both Hoffman's case, Mooney's case, they had actually been to these areas and they were basing it on direct knowledge that they had, which the modelmakers could not have.
[00:45:17.99] So legacies, what happened after the fair? So this was one of Holmes's displays of rockwork, rock quarrying. Now, he actually discovered this in an area in Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. And this is the display that he had in Chicago.
[00:45:40.88] Ironically, a few years later, it wasn't Holmes himself, but a couple of his colleagues decided to get together and take these mannequins and bring them out to Rock Creek Park where Holmes had actually discovered all of this and set them up in its natural habitat. And they added a little kind of wigwam there. And so it's really strange of sort of encountering the aboriginal antiquities, representing them in Chicago, and then bringing them back to the same site and sort of having a simulacrum, a visualization of what it might have looked like.
[00:46:18.35] But it didn't stop there. This happened again and again and again. After the fair, and these fairs were going on throughout the 19th century, the mannequins would be brought back to the fair, to the museum and installed in the museum and improved, when they could. And in this case, Mason-- sorry, Holmes had only been able to do the first three in the process of stonework and the other two were added here as well so he could have the whole sequence.
[00:46:49.27] Now, this is even more bizarre. This is the Kwakiutl or Kwakwaka'wakw, as they're now known, that Franz Boas had organized. This was in Chicago. This is what Boas was seeing.
[00:47:00.19] This was inside the Kwakwaka'wakw house. They removed the ceiling planks to let the light in. This is a homatsa initiate who's returning from the land of the wild spirits to be tamed by the humans. And he's coming through this opening in the planks. So this is what Boas saw in Chicago.
[00:47:24.04] Now, this begins to show, some of the transformations that happened as that image resonated. When Boas saw that in Chicago in 1893, he had never seen that in British Columbia. He had been to British Columbia several times before that, but always in the summer. And these dances are done only in the winter.
[00:47:44.71] So he saw it for the first time not in British Columbia, but in Chicago in a hot summer. The following year, in 1894, he did go back to British Columbia and got to see it in situ. And then, the year after that, in 1895, he was hired by the Smithsonian to do one of these life groups. They wanted to display those ceremonies at the Smithsonian.
[00:48:09.80] So he, again, as we saw Cushing and Hoffman doing, he demonstrated the poses. And so he's clearly basing it on what he had seen in Chicago. And so we have this. And then this is the Smithsonian's diorama that was based on that.
[00:48:26.00] But then these resonances and these versions just don't stop. And there's even another version that I'm not showing you tonight. This is the Field Museum's version which still exists today.
[00:48:38.50] And what George Dorsey had done, Dorsey was with Boas at the fair, was a student of Putnam's at Harvard. Boas published this in his book, his 1897 book on the Kwakuitl, Kwakwaka'wakw. And Dorsey said, we need to have one of these.
[00:48:55.24] And he said to his field agent in British Columbia, collect all of these things and get one of these planks painted exactly. Just look at Boas' book and give me the exact same thing, which he did. So there's a lot of these images that pop up of the fair and then never disappear.
[00:49:17.29] Here's another fascinating example. These are-- we've seen the Kwakiutl dancers before. I always love this, the leather and shoe trades building. It's kind of incongruous.
[00:49:29.42] They were just doing these dances all summer. And Boas purposely had-- this was a photo shoot and a photo session. I don't think the sheet here would normally have been there for the visitors. But in this case, he puts the sheet down there as a background. And here is what it looked like when it was published the photograph in his classic 1897 monograph.
[00:49:52.34] And look at the leather and shoe trays. And everything else is completely gone. And there's sort of some grass here.
[00:50:00.22] And almost every other photograph in this book, Boas actually did take a photograph in British Columbia. So he says nothing about this photograph being taken in Chicago. And because all the other photographs we know were taken in British Columbia, the natural assumption is that this is also from British Columbia. But it actually is Chicago. So again, these are the kinds of deceptions that we encounter again and again at the fair.
[00:50:27.38] And I'm going to end with this photo, this sequence, we're returning to Thomas Eakins and Cushing. There's a lot you could say about this. They were good friends. This was done several years after the fair.
[00:50:42.38] And what Eakins did was set up a little Zuni kiva in his studio in Philadelphia. And he had Cushing wear his Zuni costume and take photographs of him. And then he based the painting on the photographs.
[00:50:59.03] So curiously, this is very much in the spirit of what anthropologists and museum curators were doing. But as we've seen in those cases, they're starting with the photographs and they make something three dimensional. In Eakins' case he's got a three dimensional person in front of him and he abstracts it in two dimensions for a painting.
[00:51:20.57] The other thing that's interesting about this is that, as we now know, Eakins was quite a rabid photographer, was really a pioneer painter who used photography. But in the 1890s, he was known as a brilliant realist. And he never made his photographs public at the time because I think thought it would detract from his abilities as a painter.
[00:51:44.60] So he made use of them. And they're in the archives, just the way many of the other photographs I've been showing you tonight were not meant for public display, but were there as sort of an aid to making a final presentation. There were other things you could say about when you look closely between the painting and the photograph, again, as we might expect by now, they're not quite the same. He's got the earrings in the painting and he's not wearing earrings in the photograph and other things.
[00:52:17.13] The other thing I want to say is that this reminds us very much of the refractions that Eakins talked about that we've seen here at the fair. And really, not nothing at the fair was it but it seemed to be. There was very little from Chicago in Chicago.
[00:52:36.68] So either things were completely fake and they were plaster of Paris or a photograph or something. Or if they were real-- I mean, there were all these native artifacts that we have in museums now. Those were real objects, but they were not in their real setting. They had been decontextualized, in many cases, dispossessed from their native owners and users and they were now in a new world.
[00:53:03.14] So this world of disjunction of deceiving appearances that is so endemic and running throughout the Chicago fair, still, in many ways is the coming of age of American anthropology. And these were the tropes and the genres and the models that have been repeated throughout the 20th century until today. And some of the resonances and duplications that we see in an analog form here we now are surrounded in a digital form today. So with that, I'll stop. Thank you.