Dickinson Research Center Logo National Cowboy & Western Heritage Logo
Skip Navigation Links

Part One:

Part Two:

Search the Library Catalog

Search the Image Archive Database

Robert E. Cunningham: Oklahoma Photographer

Robert E. Cunningham, photograph collector and Stillwater photographer, chronicled the development of Oklahoma through his historical acquisitions and personal photographs. Cunningham's collection records Oklahoma's development from 1883 through the 21st century. The collection contains an extensive assemblage of negatives, photographs, documents and other archival materials. Please also view the Guide to the Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection.

This diverse negative and photographic collection reflects the work of such notable photographers as W. S. Prettyman, Andrew Alexander Forbes, Vince Dillon, G. B. Cornish, I. H. Bonsall, D. S. Mitchell, and C. P. Wickmiller. The largest portion of the collection consists of more than 500 images produced by Stillwater, Oklahoma frontier photographer Henry Madison Wantland. Later Stillwater pharmacist, hunter and amateur photographer Vince Dillon befriended many Native Americans to document life on the plains during the early 1900s. His images record life on the 101 Ranch, Bliss, Oklahoma, and Native American chiefs and tribal life within Oklahoma. Some of the most prolific frontier photographers within the collection are C. P. Wickmiller, D. S. Mitchell, Andrew Alexander Forbes, W. S. Prettyman, and I. H. Bonsall. Seven original Wickmiller prints provide a photographic record of Captain David L. Payne, Captain William L. Couch and the "Boomers" entering and leaving Indian Territory in 1883. I. H. Bonsall, apprentice under Mathew B. Brady, recorded 1860s Civil War portraits, structures and cities. In the 1870s he traveled to Arkansas City, Kansas and photographed Couch and Payne parties before departing for Oklahoma Territory. D. S. Mitchell recorded the 1889 land run and growth of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Of the most famous and widely duplicated historical photographs in the collection are Prettyman's (1858-1932) and Forbes' images of the 1893 Cherokee Strip opening. Other Oklahoma historical subjects within his collection document Guthrie, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University (A & M College), Oklahoma homesteading, and oil drilling within the state.

Outdoors

2000.005.2.0222 Woman firing rifle, unknown location, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1910.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0222

2000.005.2.0298 River scene, Shawnee, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0298

2000.005.2.0303 Two Shawnee fisherman, unknown location, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0303

2000.005.2.0326 Hunters, unknown location, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0326

Pawnee Bill

2000.005.9.0082 Pawnee Bill trading post, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1920s.
Photographer: Vince Dillon.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0082

2000.005.9.0073 Pawnee Bill's advertising truck, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1920s.
Photographer: Vince Dillon.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0073

2000.005.9.0089 Autographed portrait of Pawnee Bill, Gordon Lillie, ca. 1910s.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0089

David Lewis Payne & William L. Couch

2000.005.9.1449 Payne's Camp, when David L. Payne sought to open a part of Indian Territory to settlement. They pitched their tents on what later became Stillwater Creek. Payne saw the need for publicity to strengthen his effort, so he hired photographer C. P. Wickmiller.
Photographer: C. P. Wickmiller.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1449

2000.005.9.1451 Couch Party in Kansas. House in background built for Couch with print shop in it. The Boomers had their own printing plant and newspaper to herald their cause, the War Chief. A few issues were published in this building under construction, but soldiers raided the place, burned the building, and dumped all the printing equipment in a nearby river. This 1884 photograph shows a group of early boomers assembled to welcome the launching of the paper, 1884.
Photographer: C. P. Wickmiller.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1451

2000.005.9.1905 Rare print of Captain David L. Payne and Boomers entering and leaving Indian Territory. Stopping to bridge Deepfork river. Copyright 1883, by C. P. Wickmiller and W. H. Osburn, Wichita, Kansas. Original prints from C. P. Wickmiller negatives, 1883.
Photographer: C. P. Wickmiller.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1905

2000.005.9.1906 Rare print of Captain David L. Payne and Boomers entering and leaving Indian Territory. Crossing from Deepfork to North Canadian .Copyright, 1883, by C. P. Wickmiller and W. H. Osburn, Wichita, Kansas. Original prints from C. P. Wickmiller negatives, 1883-1887.
Photographer: C. P. Wickmiller.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1906

2000.005.9.1907 Rare print of Captain David L. Payne and Boomers entering and leaving Indian Territory. Camp Alice on North Canadian, where Payne and party were arrested. Copyright, 1883, by C. P. Wickmiller and W. H. Osburn, Wichita, Kansas. Original prints from C. P. Wickmiller negatives, 1883.
Photographer: C. P. Wickmiller.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1907

2000.005.9.1908 Rare print of Captain David L. Payne and Boomers entering and leaving Indian Territory. Payne's last camp. Under arrest after futile try to enter territory. Copyright, 1883, by C. P. Wickmiller and W. H. Osburn, Wichita, Kansas. Original prints from C. P. Wickmiller negatives, 1883.
Photographer: C. P. Wickmiller.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1908

Portraits

2000.005.17.0001 Mrs. Cynthia Couch.
Cabinet card, St. Louis Art Company, ca. 1890s.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.17.0001

2000.005.17.0002 William Couch.
Cabinet card, Johnson Brothers, ca. 1890s.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.17.0002

2000.005.9.0606 Unknown Civil War soldier, unknown date.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0606

2000.005.2.0189 Maytubby [?], Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1910.
Carte de Visite.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0189

2000.005.2.0284 Carte de Visite of two young girls, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1900s.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0284

2000.005.2.0294 Carte de Visite single portrait of three young girls, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0294

2000.005.2.0335 Earl Wantland sitting on chair, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0335

2000.005.3.0392 Single portrait of nun, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1918.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0392

2000.005.3.0424 Single portrait of black woman, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1915.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0424

2000.005.9.1539 Card game, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1915.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1539

2000.005.9.1521 Card game, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1915.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1521

2000.005.9.1559 Motorcyclists, Stillwater, Okalahoma, ca. 1910s.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1559

2000.005.3.0765 Portrait of woman with baby, ca. 1915.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0765

2000.005.9.1513 Two black women, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1910s.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1513

2000.005.9.1515 Two women in hats, ca. 1915.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1515

Railroads

2000.005.2.0257 Steam engine #123, Oklahoma Territory's first train [?], Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, 1901?.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0257

2000.005.16.0162 Steam engine #57, unknown Oklahoma location, unknown date.
Photographer: unknown.
Postcard.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.16.0162

2000.005.2.0261 Railroad workers, unknown location, 1899.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0261

2000.005.9.0198 Steam engine #68, first engine to arrive in Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, 1900?
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0198

2000.005.9.0199 Mehan depot, Mehan, Oklahoma Territory, unknown date.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0199

2000.005.9.0206 Santa Fe engine #392 with caboose #329 went through bridge #27 near Goodnight, Oklahoma, March 19, 1909. The engine was removed from the Cimarron river on April 25, 1909. Engineer John Martin floated a mile down the river on the roof of the cab. Fireman Harry Walters had a foot caught and removed his shoe under water to escape.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0206

2000.005.9.0207 Railroad workers riding the rails from the Cimarron northward. Location and date unknown.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0207

Saddles

2000.005.3.0007 Saddle #136 made by E. C. Burroughs, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0007

2000.005.3.0012 Saddle #156 made by E. C. Burroughs, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0012

2000.005.3.0016 Saddle made by E. C. Burroughs, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0016

2000.005.3.0017 Saddle made by E. C. Burroughs, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0017

2000.005.3.0009cu Detail of E. C. Burroughs' mark, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0009cu

2000.005.3.0012cu Detail of saddle #136 (above) made by E. C. Burroughs, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0012cu

Small Oklahoma Towns

2000.005.9.0158 Glencoe, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0158

2000.005.9.0165 "Murray's Saloon was supposedly the gathering place where outlaws planned their sorties," Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0165

2000.005.9.0182 Kiefer, Creek County, Oklahoma, ca. 1910s
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0182

2000.005.9.0115 Church of the First Born. "An unusual exodus from Mehan took this crowd to Colorado where their unusual faith was better understood," ca. 1900s.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0115

2000.005.9.0098 Band playing on ferris wheel in Ripley, Oklahoma, ca. 1910s.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0098

2000.005.9.0101 Ripley, Oklahoma bridge, March 2, 1909.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0101

Stillwater, Oklahoma

2000.005.2.0260 Snow street scene, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1900.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.2.0260

2000.005.4.060 Car with pennants, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1910s.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.4.060

2000.005.4.064 First movie theater "Fireboys" with first movie, 8th & 9th Streets, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1910s.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.4.064

2000.005.5.09B Dry goods store, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.5.09B

2000.005.5.10 Post office, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1910.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.5.10

2000.005.5.032 Dan Tohee's, Iowa Chief, Indian camp Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory prior to 1889.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.5.032

2000.005.5.46 Two boys playing in the snow, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1915.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.5.46

2000.005.9.0750 Cabbage, cauliflower and vegetable vendor with wagon, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900s.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.0750

2000.005.9.1713 9th & Main Street, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900s.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1713

2000.005.9.1719 Fair Time Ladies Band, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1905.
Photographer: unknown.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.9.1719

Wantland Studio Photographs

2000.005.3.0807 G.W. Clark, Odd Fellow, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1910.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0807

2000.005.3.0828A Chris Holzer, U.S. Army, Odd Fellow, Stillwater, Oklahoma, ca. 1910.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0828A

2000.005.3.0919 Henry M. Wantland, Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Photographer: Ella Fay Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.3.0919

2000.005.4.080 Henry M. Wantland's photgraphy studio, The People's Photo Studio, ca. 1915.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.4.080

2000.005.6.30 Henry M. Wantland and his daughter, Ella Fay Wantland, in his studio, Stillwater, Oklahoma Territory, ca. 1900.
Photographer: Edith Ann Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.6.30

2000.005.6.61 Henry M. Wantland's advertisement for his photograph studio, ca. 1900s.
Photographer: Henry M. Wantland.
Robert E. Cunningham Oklahoma History Collection
2000.005.6.61

Dickinson Research Center
at the
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 NE 63rd St, Oklahoma City, OK 73111 (405) 478-2250
Copyright © 2017 National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum