George A. Addison Photographs and Tax Document
Scope and Contents
The collection is arranged in three series, George A. Addison, Native 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 Native Americans 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.
- Creation: 1890 - 1907
- Addison, George A. (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The George A. Addison Studio Photographic Collection has no restrictions and is available for research. If you are interested in researching the materials, please contact the Dickinson Research Center to make an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
The George A. Addison Studio Photographic Collection is the property of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Materials, even if owned by the NCWHM, may be protected under third party copyright. It is the patron’s responsibility to research and secure any such additional copyright and pay any required fees or royalties. It is not the intention of the NCWHM to impede upon any third party rights, and the NCWHM cannot be held responsible if the patron is involved in legal action due to violation of third party copyright claims.
Biographical / Historical
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.
Source Mautz, Carl. Biographies of Western Photographers. Nevada City, CA: Carl Mautz Publishing, 1997.
0.42 Linear Feet (1 photo box, 1 binder box)
Language of Materials
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.
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 Native Americans, 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 photographs of Native Americans 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.
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 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 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 children, 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 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.
- Apache -- Oklahoma
- Chiricahua -- Oklahoma
- Comanche -- Oklahoma
- Fort Sill Indian School
- Group portraits
- Kiowa -- Oklahoma
- Native Americans -- Clothing
- Native Americans -- Dwellings
- Native Americans -- Jewelry
- Native Americans -- Oklahoma
- Photographers -- Oklahoma
- Photographers -- Texas
- Portrait photographs
- Slaughtering and slaughter-houses
- Wichita -- Oklahoma
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description