Ayer Art Digital Collection

Plains Indian Ledger Art
Plains Indian Ledger Art

This collection of  images illuminates the expanse of visual material on American Indian history and culture found within the Newberry’s world-renowned Edward E. Ayer Collection. Of particular interest are  Elbridge A. Burbank’s nineteenth-century portraits; George Catlin’s famous sketches from the mid-nineteenth century which are as renown for their ethnographic significance as they are for their artistic value; lithographs and drawings by Karl Bodmer;  Frank Blackwell Mayer’s sketch books of the Sioux Indians; and William Alexander’s water-color landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. This digitized collection offers access to one of the most valuable repositories of American Indian history and culture.

The image displayed on this page is an example of Plains Indian ledger art. Created during a transitional period between 1860-1900, these artistic creations meld traditional Plains Indian artistic representation with the materials that were available to them at the time through trade, i.e. ledger books, colored pencils and crayons.

image gallery