Lot 809    

George Armstrong Custer's Indian Wars Camp Chair,
2005, Historic Americana / Nov 16, 17 & 18
canvas over a wooden frame, with adjustable harness leather arm straps.

A remarkable artifact, given to the noted frontier photographer David F. Barry by the Postmaster at Fort Abraham Lincoln, North Dakota. Recently deaccessioned by the Douglas County, Wisconsin Historical Society and sold here to benefit their collection.

Along with Barry's collection of American Indian artifacts the chair was purchased by the historical society at Barry's death in 1934. The chair is pictured in both contemporary photographs of Barry's 1312 Tower Avenue Superior, Wisconsin studio (see Heski 1978:134, 138) as well as photographs of the old historical society exhibit in the Martin Pattison home (pp. 160, 165).

Further establishing the provenance of the chair are newspaper articles from the Superior Evening Telegram in 1897, 1903, and 1934 noting the presence of the chair in Barry's studio during his life and after his death (one touts "Another highly prized curiosity is the camp stool used by Gen. Custer during that martyr's campaign in 1876"). Accompanying the lot is a copy of Barry's original handwritten catalog of his relic collection "History of Relics in this Book", with the following entry for item 63: "Genl Custer's Army Camp Chair received from Mr. Cannon. Post-Master Fort Abraham Lincoln, N. Dakota."

A remarkable survivor, and undoubtedly the same chair in which Custer is shown sitting before his wall tent, with his favorite Arikara scout, Bloody Knife, crouching beside him.

See Heski, Thomas M. 1978. "The Little Shadow Catcher D.F. Barry Celebrated Photographer of Famous Indians", Superior Publishing Co.

Ex David F. Barry Collection: Ex Douglas County, Wisconsin Historical Society

Canvas worn and faded but quite solid. Some minor restoration to leather straps, primarily for reinforcement. One adjustment buckle on strapping replaced.
Sold: $56,350.00
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