This page was researched and composed by Rachel Steinberg, '13, while she was an undergraduate volunteer in the Anthropology Department.
The majority of the items in this collection are the artistic creations of northern Plains and Great Lakes beadworkers from the 19thand early 20th centuries. As such, they represent an era characterized by tumultuous changes and cultural transitions, not just in these regions but across the continent. The variety, originality, and skill demonstrated by these objects are a testament to the complexity of Native American beadwork throughout history.
The items pictured below give an indication of the collection as a whole. Included with each image is the object’s title, description, material(s) of manufacture, and accession number. Click on any image to launch a full-size version in a new window.
Broadcloth Blanket/Dance Apron
Description: Dark blue and red cloth embroidered with white, black, and yellow beads; part of a legging; possibly Assiniboine, Crow, or Blackfeet ca. 1880-1910.
Material(s): Broadcloth, glass beads
Accession No.: 79:1:447a
Description: Geometric patterns of red, black, and green beads on a white beaded background; probably attached to an ordinary shirt on festive occasions; Lakota ca. 1925.
Material(s): Buckskin, glass beads
Accession No.: 79:1:443 / 79:01:435
Description: Woman’s hair tie embroidered with geometric patterns of variously colored beads; Great Lakes area ca. late 19th/ early 20th century.