1889 Goplo Photograph Portrait of American Indian 'Little Chief', Paris, France

[Little Chief.] - Main View

1889 Goplo Photograph Portrait of American Indian 'Little Chief', Paris, France


Portrait of Oglala Lakota sub-chief while in Paris with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.


[Little Chief.]
  1889 (undated)     6.5 x 4.5 in (16.51 x 11.43 cm)


This is an 1889 Goplo photographic portrait of the American Indian Oglala Lakota Little Chief, a member of the cast of Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which was performing in Paris for the 1889 Exposition Universelle.
Little Chief
Per a biography shared by the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Little Chief was born in 1851 and was a sub-chief of the Oglala Lakota at Pine Ridge Reservation and was next in authority to Red Shirt. From 1887 through at least 1892 Little Chief appeared in Buffalo Bill's Wild West, traveling to both London and Paris. While in London, Little Chief and his wife Good Robe had a daughter, Frances Victoria Alexandra.
Buffalo Bill's Wild West in Paris
William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody had often thought about taking his successful Wild West show across the Atlantic to Europe. In 1887, he received that chance, when the U.S. government requested the Wild West Show be part of the American Exhibition in London. The Wild West was an immediate success, enthralling crowds of thousands every night. The London run lasted from May 11 through October (with two shows a day) and hosted royals from across Europe, including Queen Victoria herself, celebrating her Jubilee Year. After London, the tour was extended and played twice daily shows in Manchester and Birmingham. After Wild West's return to the United States, it embarked on a tour of the Northeast, but Europe remained on Cody's mind. Then, in 1889, American government officials invited Wild West Show to be part of the American contingent at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle - the World's Fair that witnessed the unveiling of the Eiffel Tower. The Wild West set in Neuilly near the Bois de Boulogne. (As an aside, photographs exist of Cody and his Native American cast climbing the steps of the Eiffel Tower.) The encampment included a Native American 'village' of teepees, along with tents for Cody and the other 'cowboys', that covered over 50 percent of the grounds. The cast included Sharpshooter Annie Oakley, an assortment of cowboys, more than 100 Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation, and a variety of American wildlife, including bison, elk, and deer. Over 10,000 people attended the opening performance, including the French president.
Publication History and Census
This portrait of Little Chief was taken in Paris by Goplo in 1889 while he was there with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. This is the only known surviving example of the present portrait. Two other portraits of Little Chief are part of the collection at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.


Very good.