Frank B. Mayer collection of sketchbooks, drawings, and oil paintings of Sioux Indians during the 1851 Treaty Negotiations at Traverse des Sioux and Mendota, Minn

Inclusive Dates: 
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

6 boxes and 1 v. (6 sketchbooks, 65 drawings, 2 paintings) consisting of sketchbooks, drawings, and oil paintings, 1851-1886, documenting Mayer’s 1851 western journey. The six sketchbooks executed during his travels contain mainly pencil drawings. In the first book (v. 40) are sketches of the Missouri frontier, the Mississippi, St. Paul, and Kaposia. The next four books (v. 41-44) contain sketches made at Fort Snelling, Traverse des Sioux, and Mendota. The final book (v. 45) includes a few Minnesota sketches and a great many of Mayer’s return trip via Niagara Falls, Albany, and the Hudson River. Mayer later completed the sixty-five larger drawings and two oil portraits from the images recorded in his sketchbooks. In some cases, the sketchbook sources of the drawings are cited. Selected sketches were printed in Mayer’s With Pen and Pencil on the Frontier in 1851 (St. Paul : Minnesota Historical Society, 1932). Forms part of the Edward E. Ayer Art Collection (Newberry Library).

Biographical Historical Note

Frank Blackwell Mayer was a Maryland artist who traveled independently in 1851 to Minnesota to observe and sketch the Sioux Indians present at the Traverse des Sioux treaty negotiations. Mayer later studied in Paris and settled in Annapolis.

Additional Notes

Related collection: Frank Blackwell Mayer Diaries, Newberry Library.