Baby with beads

This little girl doesn’t look very  happy. Sometimes children have an inherently hopeful or happy look on their faces, but not this one. She looks like she wants her nap. She is posed in the corner of a chair covered with a blanket and has on several strands of beads as a necklace. It makes me wonder about the beads. What did they mean to the family? Were they just a trinket to make the baby look like a girl in the photo? Or were they something special that came as a gift from family far away?

The photographer was Barry in Bismarck, but we have no way of knowing if this was DT or North Dakota. The photo was mounted over to top loop of the B, making it look like Darry, but when you enlarge the image on-screen, you can see that missing loop under the image. Yet another unidentified child in the Red Velvet Album.

The whole family

Directly across from the photo I posted last is this one of a family. I don’t think it is the same family but the little boy seems similar. Maybe they were related in some way. This particular photo was made by Barry in Bismarck, Dakota Territory. Today, Bismarck is located in North Dakota. Dakota Territory was created in 1861 and included much more than the current two states named after the territory. Parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were included in the original territory, but later were spun off into territories or states on their own. What remained was Dakota Territory until 1889 when it was divided into the states North and South Dakota.

This is helpful in dating the photo to prior to 1889. The photographer is quite famous! David F. Barry learned the photographic trade from an itinerant photographer named O. S. Goff from about 1870, but he did not become a business partner of Goff’s until 1878. At that time Goff & Barry were working in Bismarck, D. T. Barry then became a prolific and important itinerant photographer in American history. He spent the next five years traveling through the Territory photographing the local Indian population, including Sitting Bull and Red Cloud, as well as American Calvary officers, forts, soldiers, battlefields, working men and trappers. His documentation of the Indian Wars of the era are important evidence to understand the crucible that was the Dakota Territory. Some of his images of Indian Chiefs are the only known photographs of these amazing men. In 1883, Barry returned home and established his gallery in Bismarck, so this dates the photo from 1883-1889. In 1890, Barry left the Dakotas never to return; he died in Superior, WI in 1934. His papers and images are housed at the Denver Public Library and include his original glass plate negatives.

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