Finding aid of the Maurice Frink Photograph Collection,

Tracy Brown
Autry Library
Autry National Center of the American West
4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: (323) 667-2000 ext. 383
© 2010
Autry National Center of the American West. All rights reserved.

Finding aid of the Maurice Frink Photograph Collection,

Collection number: 90.253.4110

Autry Library

Autry National Center of the American West

Los Angeles, California
Processed by:
Tracy Brown
Date Completed:
July 2002
Encoded by:
Cheryl Miller
© 2010 Autry National Center of the American West. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Maurice Frink Photograph Collection,
Dates: 1954-1965
Collection number: 90.253.4110
Collector: Frink, Maurice, 1895-
Collection Size: .5 linear feet 43 items
Repository: Autry National Center. Institute for the Study of the American West
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Abstract: The collection is comprised mainly of photographs, collected by Maurice Frink, of Miss Indian America contestants from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s as well as his collection of 12 salt prints of Ogallala Sioux men, dated 1898-1900.
Physical location: Autry Library
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit or contact library staff at (323) 667-2000.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry Library, Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Item identification] Maurice Frink Photograph Collection,, 90.253.4110. Autry Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA

Acquisition Information

Rosenstock Collection

Biography / Administrative History

Maurice Frink was a journalist in Indiana and taught journalism at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He was the executive director of the Colorado Historical Society and Museum in Denver. He wrote numerous books on Western history about varying subjects and was a collector of Native American material and ephemera. Frink was a judge of the Miss Indian America contests from at least 1957 through 1963 (The Sunday Denver Post, August 4, 1963, p. 10-11), and the collection reflects his work with that event.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection is comprised mainly of photographs, collected by Maurice Frink, of Miss Indian America contestants from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s as well as his collection of 12 salt prints of Ogallala Sioux men, dated 1898-1900. The Miss Indian America contests occurred as part of Sheridan, Wyoming's All-American Indian Days. The first contest was staged in 1953, and was billed as a vehicle for promoting better relations between Indians and whites and to acknowledge the importance of Indian culture and achievement (The Daily Times, August 11, 1966). Early promotional material and newspaper articles stress that the contest was not about beauty or talent, but rather "the girl's desire to help her people, and her plans for doing this" (The Wyoming Eagle, August 11, 1966, p. 11). The collection also contains two programs from All-American Indian Days, of which the Miss Indian America contest was a part. The collection also contains 12 salt prints of Ogallala Sioux men depicted in formal poses. They may have been taken at the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition held in Omaha, Nebraska in 1898. An Indian Congress was held as part of the Exposition. The point of the Congress was to "show all the tribes that had been advanced under the national policy of assimilation" (P. Fleming and J. Luskey, Grand Endeavors of American Indian Photography, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993, p. 82). The chiefs of all the Indian nations were invited to attend; in the end, 545 delegates from thirty-six tribes did so (83). Photographs of attendees were taken by a number of photographers. The photographs in the Frink Collection are copyrighted by Heyn Photo of Omaha, Nebraska. The Heyn family of photographers worked in the Omaha area during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (P. Fleming and J. Luskey, The North American Indians in Early Photographs, Harper and Row, 1986, p. 238).
Descriptive information concerning the clothing worn by Ogallala Sioux in their portraits was taken from the Library of Congress website "American Memory" ( The Western History/Genealogy Department of the Denver Public Library also contains many Heyn photos.
Box 1: Miss Indian America
Photographs - 1954
1) Dated group postcard photo of entrants in Miss Indian America contest, Sheridan Wyoming, 1954 2) Postcard photo of Miss Mary Louise Defender (Sioux), Miss Indian America II, 1954
Photographs - 1956
1) Dated photo of Annie Strange Owl (Northern Cheyenne), 1956 2) Dated photo of Sandra May Gover (Pawnee), Miss Indian America IV, 1956 3) Undated photo (probably 1956) of Sandra May Gover, inscribed to Maurice Frink 4) Undated photo (probably 1956) of Maurice Frink shaking Miss Indian America contestant number eight's hand
Photographs - 1957
1) Dated photograph of Sandra Gover with Neckyoke Jones, Secretary Manager of the All American Indian Days Festival 2) Dated photograph of Yellow Robe, Cheyenne Indian, with two other Indian men in native dress 3) Dated photograph of two contestants (one wears the number 29) with Indian man in native dress (who appears in photo number 2) 4) Dated photograph of two Miss Indian America contestants posed with Native American crafts 5) Undated photo (probably 1957) of Miss Indian America contestants' dinner. Neckyoke Jones stands in photograph; judges (including Frink) are seated to his right.
Photographs - 1959
1) Dated photo of all contestants, taken at night.
Photographs - 1960
1) Dated photo of Vivian Arviso (Navajo), inscribed to Maurice Frink. 2) Posed photo of Vivian Arviso 3) Photo of Vivian Arviso holding child in native dress at the 17th Annual Congress of American Indians 4) Undated photo of all Miss Indian America contestants; Vivian Arviso, 1960 Miss Indian America, sits to right in collared shirt.
Photographs - 1961
1) Dated photo of Vivian Arviso with Maurice Frink in front of painting of Arviso 2) July 26, 1961 photo of dinner for Arviso
Photographs - 1962
1) Two copies of Brenda Bearchum (Yakima/Walla Walla/N. Cheyenne), Miss Indian America 1962 2) Wallet-size photo of Brenda Bearchum, inscribed to Mr. and Mrs. Frink
Undated photographs
1) Photo of Echohawk (Pawnee artist), William Shakespeare (Arapaho) and Joe Medicine Crow (Crow). May have been taken in 1957, since Joe Medicine Crow was the m.c. of the pageant in that year. 2) Photo of daughter of Pablito Velarde (Santa Clara pueblo artist), Miss Indian America contestant, on horse 3) Photo of Ramona Hungary, Miss Indian America contestant, inscribed to Frink 4) Photo of unidentified MIA contestant ("Russell Crow" is inscribed on back of photo) 5) Postcard photo of unidentified Indian woman 6) Photo of unidentified MIA contestant ("Rowland" is inscribed on back of photo)
Oversize photos (matted)
1) Miss Indian America [Contestants]. Circa 1950s. (Same photo as 1960, #4 above: "Undated photo of all MIA contestants; Vivian Arviso, 1960 MIA, sits to right in collared shirt") (90.253.117) 2) MIA judges, 1956 (90.253.115) 3) MIA VI, 1959 (90.253.116)
Newspaper clipping, n.d.
Announcing death of Dewey Beard, the only adult survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn.
1) All American Indian Days, Sheridan, Wyoming, 1956. Program with letter from Neckyoke Jones to Clarence S. Paine, Director of Oklahoma City Libraries and two applications for the 1957 Miss Indian America contest laid in (90.253.55). 2) All American Indian Days, Sheridan Wyoming, 1965.
Box 2: Native American Photographs (Heyn Photo, Omaha, Nebraska)
1. Afraid of Hawk (Ogallala Sioux) Seated portrait of Afraid of Hawk. He is posed with an animal fur and wearing a cotton search, hair pipe breastplate, neck scarf, long loose hair with feathers and bead string, and armbands. He also carries a war club (tomahawk). [#254; Copyright 1899]
2. Bone Necklace (Ogallala Sioux) Seated portrait of Bone Necklace holding a war club (tomahawk) and wearing a cotton shirt, hair pipe breastplate, neck scarf, long loose hair, and a quilled vest. He holds a bandolier decorated with mirrors over his arm. [#295; Copyright 1899]
3. Crazy Bull (Ogallala Sioux) Portrait of Crazy Bull wearing a cotton shirt, hair pipe breastplate, feather headdress, and an animal fur bandolier. [#206; Copyright 1899?]
4. Donald Feather Man (Ogallala Sioux)[#270; Copyright 1899]
5. Kills Alone (Ogallala Sioux) Seated portrait of Kills Alone. He is holding a war club (tomahawk) and wearing a cotton shirt, hair pipe breastplate, arm and wrist bands, neck scarf, feathers and beads in hair, and a blanket wrapped around his waist. [#203(?); Copyright 1899]
6. Psica Wakuna (Chasing Jump) [#1079; Copyright 1900]
7. [Felix?] Slow Bear [#311; Copyright 1899]
8. Richard Tail (Sioux) [#210; Copyright 1899]
9. Richard White Bull (Ogallala Sioux) Portrait of Richard White Bull wearing a cotton shirt, quilled vest, long hair pipe breastplate, armbands, neck scarf, feather and beads in his long loose hair. He holds a ceremonial war club (tomahawk) with a beaded shaft. [#238; Copyright 1899]
10. Thomas White Face (Ogallala Sioux) [#229; Copyright 1899]
11. Yellow Shirt (Ogallala Sioux) [#275; Copyright 1899]
12. Unidentified [(?) Shirt] ("Ogallala Sioux Chief") [No #; No Copyright date]


Box 1 contains the Miss Indian America material, while Box 2 contains the Ogallala Sioux photographs. The 28 Miss Indian America photographs in the collection are arranged chronologically and by format: 8 x 10 photographs are grouped in one folder, while oversize, matted photographs are placed individually in their own folders. The 12 Ogallala Sioux salt prints are arranged alphabetically.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Crazy Bull--Photographs.
Kills Alone--Photographs.
Bone Necklace--Photographs.
Pisca Wakuna (Chasing Jump)--Photographs.
Afraid of Hawk--Photographs.
Yellow Shirt--Photographs.
Slow Bear--Photographs.
Feather Man, Donald--Photographs.
White Face, Thomas--Photographs.
White Bull, Richard--Photographs.
Tail, Richard--Photographs.
Miss (Indian) America Contest--Photographs.
Beauty contestants--Wyoming--Sheridan--Photographs.
Indians of North America--Social life and customs--Photographs.
Indians of North America--Recreation--Photographs.
Indians of North America--Pictorial works.
Indians of North America--Photographs.
Oglala Indians--Photographs.
Dakota Indians--Photographs.

Genres and Forms of Material

Salted paper photoprints.

Index Terms Related to this Collection

Heyn, George, 1856-
Heyn, Herman, b. 1852.
All American Indian Days (, Sheridan, Wyo.)

Related Material

Library of Congress website "American Memory" (