Carlisle Indian Industrial School – Archival Collection

Note: More information on the Carlisle Indian School collection held at CCHS can be found at

The Cumberland County Historical Society houses an extensive collection of over forty linear feet of archival materials of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Among the items are the most complete set of weekly and monthly school newspapers covering the 39 years of the school. These newspapers and magazines were primarily written and published by American Indian students as part of their industrial training. The publications were heavily censored by the school’s administration. They were used as a propaganda tool for the mission of the school and were sent to subscribers all over the country. Each issue of the monthly magazines espoused some philosophical article pertaining to the school experience. The weekly publications typically held news items for events at the school and student participation. These publications also include news of former students chronicling their lives as reported in their letters back to “Dear Old Carlisle.” Other materials include musical and athletic programs, brochures, catalogs, and the annual reports to the Commissioners of Indian Affairs.

CCHS maintains a collection of Jim Thorpe letters written between 1924-1926. John S. Steckbeck’s the author of The Fabulous Redmen: The Carlisle Indians and their Famous Football Teams research collection was donated to CCHS. This book published in 1951, this focus on football and athletics at the school was groundbreaking at the time. This collection highlights Mr. Steckbeck’s vast interest in the school and includes correspondence with former students and information on the internment of Jim Thorpe. The Blumenthal & Wardeckers collection is another piece of the athletic story. Student athletes were provided suits from Blumenthals. The business ledger and correspondence surrounding various transactions is part of the collection. Glenn S. “Pop” Warner’s football book, Football for Players and Coaches, was sold through the Blumenthal store. From students and staff, the collection feature oral histories, scrapbooks, a memory book, recruiter’s notebook, letters, and student work. In particular we have letters dealing with the Fannie Peters and Blanche Dum who were teachers as the school. Most unique to CCHS in the archives collection is the correspondence and the student work. Student work includes pictographic artwork, still-life, and other “western” style artwork created by the students. It also includes writing assignments, course work in math, spelling, and other traditional coursework conducted at the school.

Blumenthal/Wardecker Collection, 1905-1968 – 2.5 inches; 1 document case and 1 ledger
Blumenthal’s was a men’s clothing store that sold suits to the CIIS male athletes.  The store also sold Pop Warner’s book. Football for Players and Coaches. Collection is mostly correspondence from the school regarding the male athletes.

Carlisle Indian School Collection (artificial)c1879-1940* – 87.5 inches; 18 document cases, 130 inches 6 oversized boxes, 39 inches periodicals, 53? Books (books not included in linear feet)
The artificial collection contains many items published by the school including newspapers, annual reports, commencement programs, and other ephemera.  The collection also contains original student academic work, correspondence, memory book, oral histories, etc.

Dum Collection, 1908-1968 – 5 inches; 1 case L5014.001     L2009.121
Blanche L. Dum taught at the Carlisle Indian School. This collection includes artifacts from her time as an employee including newspapers, lists of students, and commencement programs. It also contains correspondence from former students.

Hathaway Collection, 1908-1918 – 18 inches; 1 box and 1 case L2006.040
Lelah May (Burns) Hathaway was a teacher at the CIIS in the 1910s.  She married Louis Hathaway, who was a disciplinarian at the school.  This collection contains materials published by the school including: newspapers, yearbooks, programs, and holiday menus.

Hutchinson Collection, 1880-1910 – 2.5 inches; 1 case L2003.051
John J. Hutchinson worked at Carlisle Barracks during WWII and afterwards.  The items in this collection were discarded at the Barracks c. 1950 and saved by Mr. Hutchinson.  This small collection contains materials published by the school including a 1910 academic catalog.

Newspaper Collection
Eadle Keatah Toh: April 1880 – March 1882. Published monthly. Named changed to Red Man and Red Man Helper.
School News: June 1880- May 1883. Published monthly.
The Morning Star: April 1882 – December 1887. Published monthly.
The Red Man: January 1888 – June 1990. Published monthly.
The Carlisle Indian Boys’ and Girls’ Friend: 1885 (July 31 & August 7) Published weekly every Friday.
The Indian Helper: 1885 – 1900. Published weekly every Friday.
The Arrow: August 25, 1904 – June 19, 1908. Published weekly.
The Carlisle Arrow: September 1908 – 1918. Published weekly. Name changed to The Carlisle Arrow and Red Man in 1918.
The Indian Craftsman: February 1909 – January 1910. Monthly magazine. Named changed to The Red Man in 1910.
The Red Man: February 1910 – June 1917. Monthly magazine.

Peter Collection, 1895-1924 – 2.5; 1 case L2004.008
Fannie Irene Peter taught at the Siletz Agency in Oregon from 1893 – 1896 when she came to Carlisle.  She remained at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School until 1904.  Collection includes:  Daily schedule with directions for bells, correspondence between Fannie Peter and the Pratts, correspondence between Fannie Peter and students, CIIS text book.

Steckbeck Collection, 1851-1973 – 161 inches; 12 boxes 1 case, 81 inches 3 oversized boxes
L2008.103 & L2009.197
Collection of materials collected by author of the Fabulous Redmen, the Carlisle Indians and their famous football teams, John Steckbeck.  Collection includes:  printed reports, school publications, correspondence, and notes for his book.

Thorpe Letters Collection, 1924-1926 – 5 inches; 1 document case L2007.149
28 letters written by Jim Thorpe while he was playing baseball for teams in Massachusetts and Florida. The letters were written to Freeda Kirkpatrick before and after their marriage.  Thorpe’s divorce from his first wife was not finalized during the earlier letters.