Research Programs: Public Scholars

Period of Performance

6/1/2021 - 5/31/2022

Funding Totals

$50,000.00 (approved)
$50,000.00 (awarded)

One 1868 Photograph and a Sprawling History of the American West

FAIN: FZ-271363-20

Martha A. Sandweiss
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ 08540-5228)

Research and writing of a book exploring the lives of the government officials and young Lakota child who appear in Alexander Gardner’s famous photo of the treaty signing at Ft. Laramie in 1868.

Focusing on a single photograph by Alexander Gardner, made during the peace treaty negotiations at Ft. Laramie in 1868, this book follows 8 figures into and out of the picture frame where, for a brief moment, their stories collide. The personal lives of a slave-holding Union general, an immigrant photographer, and a Lakota child, lead us to a newly complicated story about the U. S. West in the 19th century, as people across the continent faced similar challenges shaped by violence, slavery, and shifting ideas about American citizenship.