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Catalog Number 336
Title Dress; Leather; Deer Tail; Beaded; Thimbles; Fringe
Object Name Dress
Description Women's dress made of deer hide leather and decorated with large trade beads and thimbles. The dress has full length sleeves. The undersides of the sleeves, the sides and hem are trimmed with long fringe. The hem of the dress flares out and has strips of leather attached to it to form tassels. Some of the leather fringe have fur still on the surface.The front and back shoulders of the dress are decorated with beadwork. The beads are large black and white beads that are attached in rows with lazy stitch and sinew. The neckline is edged with beads. The front and back necklines have deer tails attached to them. Fringe made of green tubular glass beads with brass thimbles decorate the front and the back of the dress. The side of the dress has a large splotch of yellow and purple pigment on it. Sinew is used to handstitch the pieces of the dress. The front and back of the dress have multiple repairs that look like they were made by the original owner.
Year Range from 1820
Year Range to 1880
Culture Sioux, Blackfoot?/North American Indian
Material Leather; Metal Thimbles; Glass Beads; Fur; Sinew
Length (in) 46.75
Width (in) 49.25
People Bristol, David Charles "Omaha Charlie," 1834-1925
Sitting Bull
History According to donation records, this dress was worn by the oldest daughter of Sitting Bull.

Collected by D. Charles Bristol, known as "Omaha Charlie". Bristol was born in Canandaigua, New York on March 17, 1834. Before he was 21 years old, he established a trading post 20 miles east of Black River Falls, Wisconsin where he traded with the Chippewa, Miami, Pottawattomie and Winnebago. In 1855 he married Mary Thompson. They later divorced. In 1867, he came to Decatur, Nebraska. He lived on the Omaha and Winnebago agencies, Pine Ridge, Gordon, Rushville and Homer. In 1881 he married Lettie Hunter, a Winnebago woman, and they had four boys. In 1883 he bought a farm in Homer. He died September 14, 1923.

In the 1870s Omaha Charley began exhibiting his collection of Native American materials in various cities. "he secured the services of Indians to wear the costumes and use the implements for the entertainment of his audiences, and toured most of the larger cities of this country with his show." (See NSHS donor file). His troupe appeared in theaters and they traveled to Europe. They were known as "Omaha Charley and His Wandering Band of Sioux" (See banner #3458).

According to a 1906 newspaper article, Omaha Charlie received $50.00 per week in cities like Chicago, ST. Paul and Minneapolis for showing his collection in Museums.

Omaha Charlie's Scrapbook (See NSHS Archives) shows that he exhibited in Paxton, Illinois in October of 1891. In December of 1891 he gave a lecture on his curios and travels at Kohl & Middleton Museums in Chicago. Huber's Palace Museum in New York offered him four weeks at $40.00 per week starting February 29, 1892. In April 1893 he exhibited at the Welker Building, open 1-10, admission 10 cents. He had with him "two squaws and a papoose".

A handbill from Three Rivers Michigan, December 20, 1892 or 1893 advertises "An Exhibition of Indian Relics collected by men of 40 years experience among various Indian Tribes". It lists D.C. Bristol and Captain R. Miller as the exhibitors. The text on the poster states "Secured by Omaha Charlie with dexterous hands. Aided by Captain Miller in Indian lands".
Credit line D.C. "Omaha Charlie" Bristol Collection, Homer (Dakota), Nebraska