Harper's Weekly

Harper's Weekly Illustration

In 1882, a popular American magazine called Harper's Weekly published an article praising the Forest Grove Indian School for its accomplishments in assimilating Native children. Using a series of photographs that had been taken a year earlier by the I. G. Davidson studio, the double-page illustration showed posed group portraits of the Native students. 

The images that make up the illustration are: "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 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.

The photographs upon which these illustrations are based can be seen here, with additional details about their content: Housekeeping ; Carpenters at WorkA School SceneShoemaking; and New Recruits, Spokane Indians . The text of the Harper's Weekly article can be read on the University of Washington's digital collections site.