'Indian Training School, Forest Grove, Oregon' illustration from Harper's Weekly


'Indian Training School, Forest Grove, Oregon' illustration from Harper's Weekly


An illustration of scenes from the Forest Grove Indian School that was published in the magazine Harper's Weekly in 1882, based on photographs from 1881. The school, which functioned from 1880-1885, tried to assimilate Native children into Western culture, teaching them trades and basic academic skills while eradicating their native languages and cultural practices.
The images include: 'Housekeeping' (upper left): female students performing tasks they learned at the school including sewing, laundry, ironing, and making bread, with several younger students holding dolls; 'Carpenters at Work' (upper right): male students in front of the school's workshop performing tasks from carpentry class including sawing and cabinetmaking; 'A School Scene' (lower right): male and female students posed in an academic classroom scene outdoors with teaching equipment such as maps, books, charts, and an organ; 'Shoemaking' (lower left): male students in front of the school's workshop performing tasks from the shoemaking class, accompanied by teacher Samuel A. T. Walker; and 'New Recruits, Spokane Indians' (center): a group portrait of the Spokane students who arrived at the school in July 1881: Alice L. Williams, Florence Hayes, Suzette (or Susan) Secup, Julia Jopps, Louise Isaacs, Martha Lot, Eunice Madge James, James George, Ben Secup, Frank Rice, and Garfield Hayes.

The illustrations were based on a series of photographs that were taken in 1881. The photographer was from the I.G. Davidson studio of Portland. The four classroom scenes were posed outdoors at the Forest Grove Indian School, and are intended to show some of the skills that the students were learning there. The center group portrait was taken at the Davidson studio and was intended to be a 'before' picture of how the students looked when they arrived at the school; an 'after' photograph showing them seven months later was also taken, but not reproduced in this illustration. The photographs were probably originally produced in order to assist in fundraising activities for the school.

This double-page illustrated version of the photographs was drawn by Thure de Thulstrup to accompany an article in Harper's Weekly, which was an American magazine with a very large circulation. The article praised the school and described its accomplishments in assimilating Native children.


I. G. Davidson, photographer
Thulstrup, Thure de, 1848-1930

Is Part Of

Harper's Weekly


Off-reservation boarding schools
Native American Studies
Chemawa Indian School


Forest Grove, Oregon






Forest Grove Indian School Collection, Pacific University Archives


Still Image