The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004

Book Reviews

predilections" (p. 2). Obviously unable to include every source connected with
the project, Gidley has indeed chosen a fascinating array of letters, articles, field
notes, and reminiscences, to exemplify the experience of Curtis and his project's
men in the field. Gidley organized the book by geographic region, taking the
reader on a journey through time and space into another era where attitudes to-
ward Indian peoples differed significantly from those of today. Curtis believed
that the Indian would vanish and hoped to capture as many images and stories
of them as time and his financiers would permit.
His introduction gives the reader a succinct history of the project, including
the funding from the various financiers, short biographies of his project mem-
bers, as well as a brief overview of American Indian interaction with the United
States. Divided into five phases, the project took over twenty years to complete.
Thus, Gidley exhaustively winnowed through vast quantities of documents in
order to bring to the reader what he determined to be most interesting, descrip-
tive, and representative of those interactions. Organizationally, Gidley has cho-
sen geographic themes for his chapters. He begins in the Southwest, moves on
to the Plains, then to the Northwest, then focuses on the West Coast. His final
chapter, "Generally Speaking," concludes the book with documents related
mainly to Curtis, as well as concluding remarks by Gidley.
The documents chosen by Gidley oblige the reader to recognize that Curtis
would use any means available to him to acquire stories, particularly sacred and
religious, as well as to purchase sacred objects (such as the Apache sacred chart,
pp. 45-47) from the Indians. Curtis used bribery, cunning, and even deceit to
obtain from Indian people that which they held most sacred. Put into the per-
spective of the times, Gidley forewarned the reader, these methods were deemed
appropriate by the white powers-that-be in order to achieve their purposes with
the Indians. To sympathizers of Indian lifeways, however, these stories will infuri-
ate. The project members, however, see the extraction of such stories and arti-
facts as a game they will ultimately win.
Perhaps the greatest strength of this book is Gidley's italicized notes that open
every chapter and precede every document. His insights provide information
about the document's author and historical context. Gidley has indeed com-
piled a fascinating collection of documents that give Western, photographic,
and American Indian historians a look into how we know what we know about
American Indian culture, religion, costumes, and sacred art. It is appropriate
that Gidley has prepared this collection to remind us how that information came
into the published world.
Nebraska Wesleyan Universty Sandra K. Mathews-Lamb
William S. Hart: Projecting the Amencan West. By Ronald L. Davis. (Norman: Uni-
versity of Oklahoma Press, 2003. Pp. xvi+269. Preface, photographs, filmog-
raphy, notes on sources, index. ISBN 0-8-61-3558-1. $29-95, cloth.)
This much needed biography of the pioneer movie cowboy, William S. Hart,
is a short, superbly crafted work-in contrast to the many 6oo-page bloated
tomes on lesser film figures. There is a reason for this. Hart, while much of a
"ham" and always on stage when people were around, was also a very private



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 21, 2014.