A Very Correct Idea of Our School: A Photographic History of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School
2018, 166 pages, Soft Cover
ISBN 9781727272505, $22.00
Mid Atlantic Regional Archives Conference Arline Custer Memorial Award 2019 Book Winner
From its beginning, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (1879-1918) was documented in photographs. The photographic record of the school was used to share with the wider world the progress and perceived successes of tis process of assimilating native American children and our adults, transforming them into “civilized” members of mainstream white American society. In their time, the images served their intended purposes: to promote the school, to create a brand, to aid in fundraising, and to capture a narrow perspective on student life. Today’s views look at these photographs with different eyes, possessing greater knowledge and understanding of what Carlisle really represents to different audiences.
The Carlisle Indian School: A Photographic History traces the history of the school through these images, exploring how photography can inform a basic understanding of what Carlisle meant to the culture of its time, and give an indication of the legacy it left for its students and their descendants, and for American culture today. Drawing on the latest scholarship and rich in images, this volume is a visually powerful introduction to the complex history of the first federally-managed off-reservation boarding school for Native Americans in the United States.