Collection find – Shoshone Dolls

19661281This pair of Shoshone dolls from the Wyoming tribe is from our Cleora Helbing Native American Arts and crafts collection.

According to Cleora’s notes, these dolls were made by Eva or Annie Washakie, granddaughter of Chief Washakie. (Cleora’s object notes listed the maker as Annie Washakie, while her guidebook said it was Eva Washakie that made the dolls.) The story in the guidebook notes that Eleanor Roosevelt came to visit Haskell Institute, and the director of the school wished to give her these dolls, but the student refused. She said she had made the dolls specifically for Miss Helbing.
In 2008, we contacted a Shoshone Artist names Eva McAdams (Formerly Eva Washakie), but unfortunately, she was not the maker of the dolls. She did however remember Annie Washakie who had a daughter Eva who went to an indian boarding school. Both Annie and Eva have since passed away.

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This blog is primarily written by Ann Grandy, Assistant Curator.
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2 Responses to Collection find – Shoshone Dolls

  1. We have six of the dolls made by the Washakie’s of Wyoming. We are trying to see what their value is and more of their history. My husband’s aunt worked for several years in the late 30’s and passed the dolls on to my husband. Thank you for the history you have given us. We also have the large gloves that I see on one of the dolls above. Ours were made for a grownup to wear. Thank you for any information.

    • Ann says:

      It would be fun to see photos of your dolls.
      Unfortunately, I don’t have any more information than I included in the original post. I attempted to find living relatives of the artists using Google and People search, but was unsuccessful.That combined with discrepancies in the donor’s own notes have left me with few clues.
      But the dolls are lovely and we are happy to have them in our collection.

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