CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

A Jewish Photographer’s Nearly Forgotten ‘Collaboration’ with Cheyenne Indians on the Santa Fe Trail

The Sole Surviving Image of the Perilous Journey Provides a Crucial Bridge to History

On a cold day in late November 1853, in a place called Big Timbers, in what is today southeastern Colorado, a Jewish photographer named Solomon Nunes Carvalho hoisted his ten-pound daguerreotype camera onto a tripod and aimed his lens at a pair of Cheyenne Indians. At first glance, the resulting image, scratched and faded from years of neglect, seems unremarkable. But in fact it is probably the oldest existing photograph of Native Americans taken on location in the western United States. It’s the sole surviving daguerreotype from an unprecedented …

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