Around 1890, the Blackfeet began to use the names of their fathers as the last names for many of their children. The Morning Gun born in 1861 fathered 15 children, most of whom used Morning Gun as their last name (and the exceptions were probably ones who died in infancy). The 1861 Morning Gun was married to Otter Woman, while the 1858 Morning Gun was married to Double Catch and they only had three or four children.
Morning Star was born in 1888, the seventh child of Spotted Bear and Panther Woman. That would make her about 38 at the time of this portrait.
One of the greatest regrets in my life is that I had an opportunity to purchase 54 of these calendars for under $10 each back in about 1984. I was nearly broke at the time and didn’t do it. I guess I’ve had a pretty good life since then if I don’t have any more serious regrets.
All we know about Buffalo Body is that he was born in 1879, which makes him fairly young compared with the subjects of the previous two portraits. He was probably under 50 years old when this painting was made.
Appropriate for his name, he is wearing buffalo horns. Although the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana is right next to Glacier National Park, most Blackfeet actually lived in Alberta. Many from both countries came to Glacier to earn money from the railroad greeting passengers and sitting for their portraits.
While the previous two paintings showed the subject’s clothing, this one just shows his face, hat, and kerchief. It is likely that Jim Blood was wearing Europeanized clothing at the time of the portrait and Reiss didn’t want that to detract from the Native American character of the subject.
By 1932, the Reiss calendars used a design of simple geometric shapes. I believe that Winold Reiss himself designed the background. Note that the letters are each individually drawn to fit in the space available.
This painting of Arrow Top was also in the 1940 portfolio. The Blackfeet geneology tells us that Arrow Top was born in 1862 to parents named Old Man and Blanket Woman. When he was 24, he married an 11-year-old girl named Squirrel. They are listed as having twelve children, at least one of whom died in infancy. Since most of the paintings Louis Hill bought from Reiss were painted in 1927 and 1928, Arrow Top was probably about 65 when this painting was made.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Great Northern issued a new calendar every month, each one featuring a Winold Reiss painting of one or more Blackfeet Indians. This painting of Morning Bird was also included in the 1940 portfolio of Reiss paintings.
I can’t find the name Morning Bird in the Blackfeet geneology database. A man named Harley Morning Bird recently passed away; he was the son of Harvey Morning Bird, who was born in 1927, and Mary Margaret Vielle. I can only speculate that Harvey was the son of the Morning Bird in the painting.
Great Northern introduced a new Oriental Limited in 1924, and this brochure advertises its first birthday. I photographed the brochure at the Minnesota History Center, which doesn’t allow the use of scanners, so there are some slight parallax issues.
“This New Oriental Limited is more than just a train,” says the brochure (note that “new” was made a part of the train’s name), “it is a complete system within the greater system of the railroad, and every day seven of these trains are following the banks of the Mississippi, crossing the plains of North Dakota and eastern Montana or traversing the low passes of the Rockies and the Cascades, while three more are at the terminals preparatory to their departure.” It is somewhat astounding to realize that the railroad needed ten entire train sets to serve this route, while the 1947 streamlined Empire Builder needed only five.
This booklet has the same introduction by Mary Roberts Rinehart that was used several years later in The Call of the Mountains, but otherwise appears to have different text and photos. It still contains the usual blend of stories, photos, and information about getting to and staying at the park.
Great Northern hadn’t yet completed the Prince of Wales Hotel, but this booklet advertises Glacier (in East Glacier), Lake McDonald (then called Lewis’ Hotel because GN hadn’t yet purchased it), and Many Glacier hotels, Two Medicine, Going to the Sun, Sperry, and Granite Park chalets (all of which still exist except Going to the Sun).
One of the photos in yesterday’s postcard folder showed fly fishing on the Skykomish River. This was an important enough activity that Great Northern devoted a whole booklet to it in 1909.
In addition to several pages of photos, the booklet includes eight pages of text lauding fly fishing on the river, which I suppose could be appreciated by anyone who is a fly fisherman. It also has three pages describing resorts on the river, in the Cascade Mountains, and around Lake Chelan. This booklet is from the Northwest Collection of the Spokane Public Library.
The photos in this folder follow the route of the Oriental Limited from St. Paul to Seattle. It is dated 1906, or one year after Great Northern inaugurated the train. Published by C.H. Shaver, a news agency in St. Paul, it was no doubt sold in Great Northern train stations.
Attracting settlers was as if not more important than attracting tourists in 1906. Nearly half of the photos in this folder show farming, logging, and other natural resources.