Walter Bone Shirt Ledger

Bone Shirt Ledger Art Page 10

Very little is known about Walter Bone Shirt other than that he was a Brulé Lakota artist and his Indian name was Never Misses. He is generally referred to in the ethnographic literature as Walter Bone Shirt, though census records indicate he was called Junior Bone Shirt. A few other examples of his ledger art are known to exist in private holdings; this collection of drawings has been attributed to him based on artistic similarities.

There is no written documentation about the origin of this particular ledger, but it is likely that John S. Parke acquired the ledger while serving as Assistant Adjutant General of Command at Rosebud Agency during the winter of 1890-1891. A 1938 note, written on envelope bearing the name Mrs. John S. Parke and given to the University along with the ledger, refers to 'interesting set of coloured pictures (in crayon?) made by an Indian at Rosebud Indian Agency during Sioux Campaign in 1890.’ It is unclear who wrote the note or why. In 1962, this ledger book of ‘original Indian sketches’ was presented by John S. Parke’s daughter, Mrs. Ferdinand [Genevieve] Prochnow, to the Montana State University Library (now the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at The University of Montana-Missoula) through the Friends of the Library. Mrs. Prochnow was living in Missoula at the time.

To ensure that the content of the ledger is appropriate for access and display, library personnel consulted with experts at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Sicangu Cultural Heritage Center on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Due to the extremely fragile nature of the paper on which the drawings were made, the original ledger is available only by appointment.

For additional information please contact Archives and Special Collections.

View the Walter Bone Shirt Ledger.