Guide to the Arthur & Shifra Silberman Native American Art Collection
Arthur & Shifra Silberman Native American Art Collection, 1864-1995
101.5 cubic feet (169 document boxes, 7 record cartons, 4 oversized boxes)
Location: 0253-0314; 0347
Collection #: 001
Accession #: 1996.017, 1996.027, & 1997.007
In 1975 Arthur Silberman and his wife, Shifra, founded the Native American Painting Reference Library. He became its Director, while Shifra served as research consultant and assistant on all the Library's projects. Silberman described the Library as being,
"committed to the premise that Native American painting is a valuable part of the American heritage and as such is deserving of a continuing effort to collect and preserve all material having a bearing on its history and development. The Library has extensive holdings including books, brochures, clippings, photographs, catalogs, auction records, interview tapes, correspondence, memorabilia, etc. Its collection of slides and paintings in private and public collections is the largest in the United States." (Native American Painting Reference Library, 2-17-90)
Silberman saw the goals of the Library as increasing the appreciation of Native American painting by making reference material available to educators, writers, publishers, and museums; and increasing public awareness through lectures, publications, and exhibits.
Besides these reference library materials, the Silberman Collection also contains "more than 2,500 works of art created by more than 190 artists representing 55 different cultural and tribal backgrounds." (Rennard Strickland, "The Silberman Collection: A Legacy of Love and Understanding," Persimmon Hill, Vol. 24, no. 4 Winter 1996, 30.) Dr. Rennard Strickland, an internationally honored critic, collector, and curator of Native American art, declared that "with this collection, [the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum] joins the ranks of the Heard Museum, the Museum of Northern Arizona, Philbrook Museum of Art, the University of Oklahoma, Gilcrease Museum, the School of American Research, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian as a world class center where one can view and study the very best Native American paintings, drawings, and graphics." (Ibid., 32.)
Arthur Silberman was born on January 8, 1929 at Antwerp, Belgium to parents, Abraham Jacob Silberman and Maria G. Spira. He came to the United States in June of 1941 with his parents who settled in New York City. He earned a B.A. in Hebrew Letters from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, and in 1949 he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in History and Economics from the College of the City of New York. Although he had planned to enter his father's diamond manufacturing business, shortly after coming to Oklahoma for a short vacation in 1949, he founded Silberman Oil and became an independent oil operator. This endeavor was supplanted by the founding of A & M Silberman Oil in 1955 with his brother, Marcel J. Silberman. During this time he became a resident of Oklahoma City and, except for two years (1953-1955) of military service with the U.S. Army in Germany, lived there until his death. His home address was 8912 Sheringham Drive.
On April 10, 1960 Silberman married Shifra Alpha Kahn, daughter of Barton and Ida Rosalie Kahn and sibling to Joy Velva Weinstein and Zev Moshe Kahn. They had two children, Ami Abraham and Gil Gabriel. They were bar mitzvahed at Emanuel Synagogue where the Silbermans were strong and active members. Shifra held a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an M.A. in guidance and counseling from the University of Oklahoma. Shifra died on July 29, 1990.
Silberman developed an interest in and a sense of mission with regard to Native American art. This interest and mission set into motion a series of opportunities and positions. Between 1968 and 1972 he curated the traveling educational exhibit, "From Pictographs to Jerome Tiger." He curated the traveling educational exhibit, "American Indian Painting" between 1972 and 1973. This included a permanent display collection of the exhibit for the Harmon in Oklahoma Public Schools. In 1973 he served as a consultant to the Oklahoma State Library Board. During 1972 and 1973 as well, Silberman lent his expertise in several educational projects including serving as a consultant and lending his assistance in preparing the text and illustrations of textbooks for Title III ESEA Program at the Carnegie Oklahoma Public Schools; serving as a consultant to the University of South Alabama's Ethnic American Art Slide Library; and serving as chairman of a workshop for teachers at the Harmon Oklahoma Public Schools. Between 1971 and 1973 he published in Oklahoma Today two articles entitled, "Tiger" and "Early Kiowa Art."
In 1975 he and his wife founded the Native American Painting Reference Library for which he became Director. Shifra served as research consultant and assistant on all the Library’s projects. The library office was located at 422012 North MacArthur Boulevard in Oklahoma City. Silberman saw the goals of the Library as increasing the appreciation of Native American painting by making reference material available to educators, writers, publishers, and museums; increasing public awareness through lectures, publications and exhibits.
Silberman reviewed Jamake Highwater's Fodor’s Indian America in the Chronicles of Oklahoma in 1976. Between 1976 and 1978 he served as Adjunct Curator at the State Museum of the Oklahoma Historical Society; between 1977 and 1979 he served as a consultant to Southwestern Art Magazine; and in 1978 he curated the exhibit "100 Years of Native American Painting" at the Oklahoma Museum of Art in Oklahoma City from which a publication by the same title emerged. Additionally, in 1978 he served as an organizer for the Festival of Native American Arts at the Oklahoma Museum of Art. In 1979 he was a featured lecturer at the Philbrook Art Center’s Opening of Indian Annual and was a contributor to Oklahoma Indian American School Guide textbook sponsored by the University of Oklahoma. He also presented the paper "Sacred Serpents, Buffaloes, and Bambi" to the New Directions in Native American Art History symposium held at the University of New Mexico.
In 1980 Silberman was a guest lecturer at the Oklahoma Heritage Institute as part of Central State University's Southwestern Studies Program. He was also a featured speaker at the McIntosh County Historical Society's Fred Beaver Testimonial Banquet in Checotah, Oklahoma. He contributed a chapter on Jerome Tiger in Peggy Tiger and Molly Babcock's The Life and Art of Jerome Tiger published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1980.
In 1981 he served as a consultant to the Museum of the American Indian’s catalog project. He also made two presentations: one called "Ritual to Affirm to Tomorrow" given at the Native American Arts Symposium in Oklahoma City, the other called "Plains Indian Painting" given at the Claremore College Native American Studies Program in Claremore, Oklahoma. In that year as well, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Native American Arts Award given by Oklahoma City University. In 1982 he reviewed in the Chronicles of Oklahoma the Bell edition reprint of Oscar B. Jacobson's Kiowa Indian Art.
In 1984 besides serving as a consultant on an exhibition and publication project for Philbrook Art Center in association with Wurzburg - McDonald’s Systems, Inc. in Germany, Silberman was a special consultant to the exhibit and catalog of "Making Medicine, Cheyenne Ledger Art from Ft. Marion," produced by the Center of the American Indian in Oklahoma City. From 1985 to 1989 he served as an advisor/consultant to the Center of the American Indian.
In 1985 he published his 100 Years of Native American Painting in the German language as "Hundert Jahre Indianische Kunst in den USA" in Indianische Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert. He also wrote the script and produced the cassette-slide/video production, "The Art of Fort Marion." At the Plains Pictographic Art Symposium held at the Oklahoma Historical Society he presented the paper entitled "Fort Marion, Florida: The Birthplace of Oklahoma Indian Painting."
In 1986 Silberman became a member of the Red Earth Fine Arts Committee. He wrote the script and selected the art for another cassette/slide production entitled "Animals in Indian Art," produced in association with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. With Edwin L. Wade he provided commentary on selected illustrations for the book The Arts of the Native American Indian.
In 1987 he became an advisory board member to the Jacobson House Foundation in Norman, Oklahoma. He presented a paper entitled "The Early Kiowa Artists" to the Native American Art Studies Association Conference in Denver, Colorado and another paper entitled "The Early Kiowa School of Painting" to the Western History Association Conference in Los Angeles, California. He also curated the exhibit, "Legacy," at the Governor's Art Gallery at the State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City.
In 1988 he was co-chair of the Oklahoma Arts Institute Parents Campaign for Excellence and became an adjunct faculty member to Oklahoma City University's Art department where he taught courses on Native American Art History. In the Plains Anthropologist he reviewed Ronald McCoy’s "Kiowa Memories." He also received the Governor of Oklahoma’s Special Recognition Award.
In 1989 he was a guest curator of an exhibition project for the University of Oklahoma’s Museum of Art in Norman. He reviewed John R. Wunder's "The Kiowa" in the Anadarko Daily News and presented a paper entitled "The Art of Fort Marion - Revisionary Comments" to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. During this time as well Silberman was a contributor to Groves Encyclopedia of Art and Encyclopedia of Native Americans in the 20th Century. He also wrote "Watonga’s Day in the Sun, or Trickster Comes to Town" for the Chronicles of Oklahoma.
In 1990 Silberman presented a paper entitled "David Pendleton Oakerhater - A Cheyenne Warrior’s Trail from Rogues’ Gallery to Sainthood" to the Missouri Valley Historical Society Conference at St. Paul, Minnesota which was published in Persimmon Hill magazine, Vol. 21, No. 1 in 1993. In 1991 he was a guest curator of the Charles W. Hogan Memorial Art Exhibit at the Charles C. Goddard Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in Ardmore, Oklahoma and he presented a paper entitled "Kuttalyop and the Renaissance of Indian Art" to the Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. In 1992 he was a guest curator of an exhibition at the University of Oklahoma's Museum of Art.
Between 1993 and 1994 he was the project director and curator of the touring exhibit, "Beyond the Prison Gate, The Fort Marion Experience and its Artistic Legacy" under the sponsorship of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. He wrote the essay "History in Three Dimensions" which accompanied the selection of 3-D photographs associated with the latter exhibit and was published in Persimmon Hill magazine, Vol. 21, No. 1. At the Museum of the Five Civilized Tribes in Muskogee, Oklahoma, he served as a consultant in 1993. He also served as a special consultant to Time-Life Publishing’s War for the Plains and his "The Art of Fort Marion" was published in Native Peoples Magazine.
In 1994 Silberman was a judge at the Master's Art Show held at the Museum of the Five Civilized Tribes. He also served as a judge that year for the Red Earth Festival. At St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City he presented his paper "The Spiritual in Indian Art" and he curated the Red Earth Cultural Center's exhibit "Butterflies...Butterflies...Butterflies."
Silberman died in the morning of January 6, 1995. Arlene M. Halley was his fiancee at the time of his death. When asked if there was a connection between his own Jewish identity and his work with American Indian art, Silberman answered, "Yes, I think so. Being Jewish, I can certainly appreciate another minority that has been persecuted, but has somehow managed to cope, to survive and to flourish." ("Expressions of Jewish identity as Diverse as people involved" by Pam Fleischaker in Oklahoma Gazette, December 16, 1987, p. 53.)
The Native American Painting Reference Library consisted of books, booklets, pamphlets, and catalogs which have been cataloged and classified in accordance with library standards. Bibliographic information about these library items can be searched and viewed through the Center's automated catalog.
The research files, treated as an archival collection and the focus of this discussion, consist of a variety of forms including photocopied records, letters, correspondence, clippings, manuscripts, photographic materials, research notes, brochures, fliers, and note cards.
The first six series are grouped together because they contain information about Native American artists generally and specifically.
Series 1: Artists (General) (1886-1994)
This series contains files that are indexed alphabetically by the surname of the artist. Biographical and career information are conveyed through clippings (newspaper & other published sources), fliers, brochures, photocopied published articles, some letters, and gallery announcements.
Series 2: Fred Beaver (1937-1993)
This series includes files that are indexed alphabetically by the folder title. Fred Beaver was a Creek artist who was born July 2, 1911 in Eufaula, OK and died August 18, 1980 in Muskogee, OK. Before devoting full time to his art in 1960, Beaver was employed as a clerk and interpreter by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Indian Field Service. Biographical and career information are conveyed primarily through award certificates, clippings, scrapbooks, and letters.
Series 3: Acee Blue Eagle (1933-1990)
This series contains files that are indexed alphabetically by the folder title. Acee Blue Eagle was a Creek/Pawnee artist who was born August 17, 1909 north of Anadarko, OK on the Wichita Reservation and died June 18, 1959 in Muskogee, OK. Blue Eagle established the Art Department at Bacone College and was its first Director. Biographical and career information are conveyed primarily through correspondence, letters, notes, clippings, and transcriptions.
Series 4: Silver Horn (1890-1993)
This series includes files that are indexed alphabetically by the folder title. Born in 1861, Silverhorn was a Kiowa artist who learned painting from his brother, Ohet Toint, who had learned to paint while a prisoner at Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida. A medicine man, a soldier under General Hugh L. Scott between 1889 and 1894, and an uncle of Stephen Mopope, Silverhorn stopped painting around 1918 - 1919 and died circa 1941. Biographical and career information are conveyed primarily fliers, notes, photocopied articles, transcriptions, and correspondence.
Series 5: Jerome Tiger (1965-1994)
This series contains files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title. Jerome Richard Tiger was a Creek/Seminole artist who was born July 8, 1941 in Tahlequah, OK and died August 13, 1967. Nettie Wheeler and Jeanne Snodgrass are credited with gaining recognition for Tiger and his work. Biographical and career information are conveyed primarily through letters, clippings, and materials related to the chapter Silberman contributed to Peggy Tiger (Tiger's widow) and Molly Babcock's The Life and Art of Jerome Tiger.
Series 6: Wa Wa Chaw (1898-1994)
This series includes files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title. Bonita Wa Wa Calachaw Nunez was a Luiseno artist who was born December 25, 1888 at Valley Center, CA, on the Rincon reservation and died May 12, 1972 in New York City. A lecturer, entertainer, and an activist for Indian and feminist causes, Wa Wa Chaw was married to Manuel Carmonia - Nunez and worked with Dr. Carlos Montezuma. Information about her life and career are conveyed primarily through handwritten pages of autobiographical manuscripts and letters, photocopied research and newspaper articles about her, and interview transcriptions about her.
The following four series deal with topics related to the Kiowa tribe including ethnography, tribal history and art history.
Series 7: Kiowa (1864-1994)
This series contains files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title and primarily include photocopies of documents, manuscripts and research articles as well as handwritten & typewritten research notes and note cards. The series also contains clippings, some letters, and some booklets.
Series 8: Kiowa, Interviews & Contacts (1921-1989)
This series includes files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain mostly typewritten interview transcripts between Silberman and interviewee. There are some letters, handwritten research notes, photocopied documents including articles, and clippings.
Series 9: Kiowa, Photos (Photocopied) (1875-1989)
This series contains files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain mostly photocopied images of prints and documents. These files also contain some letters, handwritten research notes and clippings.
Series 10: Kiowa 5 (1901-1992)
This series has files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain mostly photocopied documents including letters, published articles, and manuscripts. These files also include some correspondence, transcripts, letters, handwritten research notes, and clippings. Kiowa 5 or the Five Kiowas refers to a group of Kiowa artists who were brought to the University of Oklahoma by Oscar Brousse Jacobson, 1882 - 1966 (Director of the Art Museum) and Edith Mahier (member of the teaching staff at the art school) in the fall of 1926. The five artists, later six, attended non-credit classes at the university, developed their talents, and exhibited and sold their work. At the First International Art Exposition, held in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1928 the European art critics called the Kiowa section the most significant and interesting part of the American exhibit. The original Five Kiowas included Spencer Asah, Jack Hokeah, Stephen Mopope, Lois Smoky, and Monroe Tsatoke. James Auchiah, although not one of the original Five Kiowas, joined the group at the University of Oklahoma in the fall of 1927.
Born ca. 1905 - 1910 near Carnegie, OK, Spencer Asah was the son of a Buffalo Medicine Man. His commissions included the murals at Fort Sill, the University of Oklahoma and the Anadarko, Oklahoma Federal Buildings. Asah died in 1954 at Norman, Oklahoma.
Jack Hokeah was born in 1902 in western Oklahoma and died December 14, 1969 at Fort Cobb, Oklahoma. His commissions included the murals at the Santa Fe New Mexico Indian School and St. Patrick’s Mission at Anadarko, Oklahoma.
Stephen Mopope was born August 27, 1898 near Red Stone Baptist Mission on the Kiowa Reservation, Indian Territory and died at Fort Cobb, Oklahoma on February 3, 1974. Mopope’s commissions included the Federal Building in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the First National Bank of Anadarko, Muskogee Junior College, and the U. S. Post Office in Anadarko.
Born near Anadarko in 1907, Lois Smoky received non-credit instruction for a short time at the University of Oklahoma in 1927 when she dropped out and James Auchiah took her place. The daughter of Enoch Smoky, Lois died on February 1, 1981.
The son of Tsa To Kee (Kiowa scout for General Custer), Monroe Tsatoke was born near Saddle Mountain, Oklahoma on September 29, 1904 and died of tuberculosis on February 3, 1937. Tsatoke joined the Native American Church and began a series of paintings which expressed his religious experiences and peyote faith.
The grandson of Chief Satanta and Red Tipi, James Auchiah was born in 1906 near what became Medicine Park, Oklahoma and died on December 28, 1974 at Carnegie, Oklahoma. He was a teacher, illustrator, museum curator, and painter.
Series 11: Subject Files (1874-1994)
This series is arranged alphabetically by folder title and represent a sizable percentage of the volume of this collection. The clippings, newsletters, magazine issues, letters, pamphlets, postcards, booklets, exhibit brochures, catalogs (publications and exhibition), photocopied research articles and letters, handwritten and typewritten research notes convey information about a variety of both relevant Native American subjects and mundane. In folder Miscellaneous M, box 29, folder 29, for example, there is a personal agreement between the Silbermans and friends over the loan of a swing set. There is, however, considerable information about Exhibits, Indian Arts & Crafts, Indian Murals, Indian Schools, Libraries, Museums, and Symposiums.
Series 12: Archives (1901-1989)
This series contains files which are indexed alphabetically by folder title and consist of primarily handwritten research notes, fliers, photocopied manuscripts and letters.
Series 13: Art History (1920-1993)
This series contains files which are indexed alphabetically by folder title and consist of primarily photocopied documents including letters, articles, newspaper clippings. The series also contains typewritten and handwritten research notes, clippings, and letters.
The following four series are interrelated in terms of Silberman's interest in the art produced by some of the captive Plains Indians taken as prisoners from Fort Sill, Oklahoma to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida in 1875.
Series 14: Art of Fort Marion (1876-1993)
This series is indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain slide scripts, manuscript drafts, photocopied documents, and typewritten research notes. The series contains information about Making Medicine, a.k.a. David Pendleton Oakerhater, who was a Cheyenne artist and among the 72 Plains Indians taken as prisoners to Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida in 1875. Born ca. 1842 and died in 1931, Making Medicine was canonized as a saint by the Episcopal Church in 1986 in recognition of his devotion to the church. More information about Making Medicine is found in the Fort Marion series 17.
Series 15: Beyond the Prison Gate (1875-1994)
This series has materials which are indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain letters, clippings, photocopied documents including images, articles, and clippings, newsletters, grant applications, fliers, facility reports, and stereoview catalogs. "Beyond the Prison Gate, The Fort Marion Experience and its Artistic Legacy" was a touring exhibit between 1993 and 1994 under the sponsorship of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Series 16: Cheyenne Indians (1901-1992)
This series reflects the research of Cheyenne tribal historian John L. Sipes, Jr., and includes photocopied documents, letters, and articles and letters from Sipes and Silberman.
Series 17: Fort Marion (1875-1993)
This series contains files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain photocopied published articles and images (including ledger drawings), manuscripts, letters, handwritten research notes, Art of Fort Marion scripts, and newsletters. Seventy-two Plains Indians were taken as prisoners by Lt. Richard Henry Pratt (1840 - 1924) from Fort Sill, OK to Fort Marion in St. Augustine, FL in 1875. Originally known as Castillo de San Marcos, Fort Marion was built in 1672 by the Spaniards. Through Pratt's efforts, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania was founded in 1879. As head of the school, Pratt stressed academic and industrial education.
Biographical and career information about Fort Marion artist/prisoners are conveyed through these files. Cheyenne artist/prisoner, James Bear's Heart, was born 1851 and died January 25, 1882 in Darlington, Indian Territory. Buffalo Meat, a Southern Cheyenne artist/prisoner, was born in 1847 and died 1917. Etahdleuh, a Kiowa artist/prisoner, was born in 1856 and died in 1888. Howling Wolf, a Southern Cheyenne artist/prisoner, was born ca. 1850 and died in Waurika, Oklahoma in 1927. He was the son of Minimic Eagle Head, war leader and principal chief of the Cheyenne. Cheyenne artist/prisoner, Walter Matches was born 1857 and died 1888. Educated at Hampton Institute and Carlisle, Matches produced a sketchbook which is held by the University of Pennsylvania Museum. Ohet Toint, was a Kiowa (?) artist/prisoner who died in 1934. Squint Eyes, a Cheyenne artist/prisoner, was born 1857 and died 1932. He attended Hampton Institute after which he worked for the Smithsonian Institution collecting birds on the Cheyenne reservation. Brother of Chief Big Bow, White Horse was a Kiowa artist/prisoner who was born in 1847 and died in 1892. Born in 1855 and died in 1924, Wohaw, a Kiowa artist/prisoner, learned drawing as a prisoner. He returned to Indian Territory in 1878. Paul Caryl Zotom, a Kiowa artist/prisoner, was born ca. 1853 and died on April 27, 1913 in Oklahoma. Producing sketchbooks of drawings and painting ceramics and fans at Fort Marion, Zotom was baptized an ordained deacon of the Episcopal Church in 1881. Zotom collaborated with anthropologist James Mooney in the painting of tipi models.
Series 18: Charles Robinson Hume (1886-1995)
This series series is indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain mostly photocopied images from the Phillips, C. Ross Hume, and Edward E. Dale collections held in the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma. The folders also contain photocopied documents and handwritten research notes. Dr. Charles Robinson Hume (1847 - 1940) assumed his duties as the physician at the Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita agency in Anadarko, Oklahoma in 1890. Annette Ross, his wife, was a prolific photographer and sold between 700 and 800 negatives to the University of Oklahoma in 1930. His son, C. Ross Hume, graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1904 and returned to Anadarko where he established a law practice.
Series 19: Indian Music (1911-1914)
This series contains files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain photocopied published articles, musical scores, song sheets, and a guide to the Charles Wakefield Cadman Collection held by Pennsylvania State University. Cadman (1881 - 1946), an American composer, pianist, and teacher, collected and recorded Omaha and Winnebago tribal melodies and studied American Indian music in the summer of 1909. He toured the country between 1909 and 1916 with a Native American princess, the mezzo-soprano Tsianina Redfeather giving a series of lecture recitals on American Indian music. Cadman is known to the public principally for two songs - From the Land of the Sky Blue Water and At Dawning. A faculty member at the University of Wichita from 1927 to 1947, Thurlow Lieurance (1878 - 1963) studied Native Americans and their music and incorporated their musical themes in his compositions. Donating American Indian songs and melodies that he recorded to the Museum of Santa Fe and to the Smithsonian Institution, Lieurance wrote a handbook of Indian music, art, ceremony and language entitled To Dance, Live, Love, and Sing in 1940.
The next two series concern the topic of ledger art and the files are indexed alphabetically by folder title. According to Joyce M. Szabo in her book Howling Wolf and the History of Ledger Art, "late nineteenth-century Plains art on paper is referred to generically as ledger art. Although many of the drawings were made on the lined pages of actual accountants’ ledger books obtained by Plains warriors, many others were created on unlined drawing paper or on whatever type of paper was available...Ledger art is a convenient descriptive term for an art style." (pp. xiii-xiv)
Series 20: Ledger Drawing Photos (photocopied) (1875-1993)
This series contains photocopies of images of Native American artists/prisoners and prisoner lists at Fort Marion. The files do not contain any photocopies of ledger drawings.
Series 21: Ledger Drawings (1885-1994)
This series contains mostly photocopies of ledger drawing images, some letters, handwritten research notes, and some photocopied clippings and published articles.
Series 22: New Deal Art (1933-1994)
This series is indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain photocopied documents including published articles, letters, and correspondence. The Federal Art Project, a division of the Works Progress Administration established in 1935, created over 5,000 jobs for artists and produced over 225,000 works of art. Between 1933 and 1934 the Public Works of Art Project attempted to provide employment for artists on relief. This latter project was succeeded by the Treasury Department Section of Painting and Sculpture in 1934.
Series 23: Photography (1955-1990)
This series contains information about photographers, their photography, and photography in general. The files are indexed alphabetically by folder title and are comprised of handwritten research notes, fliers, brochures, photocopied images and manuscripts, clippings, and research articles.
Series 24: Photos (photocopied) (1890-1994)
This series includes files that are indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain mostly photocopied images from prints and documents and some letters and handwritten research notes.
Series 25: Watonga Mural (1902-1994)
This series is indexed alphabetically by folder title and contain primarily photocopied images, articles, newspaper clippings and some clippings and handwritten research notes. Painted in 1941 by Edith Mahier, the Watonga Mural in the post office of Watonga, Oklahoma depicted Chief Roman Nose and other Cheyennes on the day the settlers arrived. Historical inaccuracies were claimed by Cheyenne Chief Red Bird and protests ensued. Drafts of Silberman's article "Watonga’s Day in the Sun" explain the controversy which centered around the length of Roman Nose’s breech clout.
The following six series are comprised of miscellaneous files which are arranged alphabetically by folder title and contain a variety of forms and a wide range of topics. The series are:
Series 26: Miscellaneous (1888-1994)
Series 27: Miscellaneous Articles (1922-1994)
Series 28: Miscellaneous Articles & Text (1886-1992)
Series 29: Miscellaneous Documents (1871-1989)
Series 30: Miscellaneous Exhibits (1946-1993)
Series 31: Miscellaneous Literature (1910-1985)
The next five series contain information related to and reflective of Arthur Silberman and his activities.
Series 32: Biographical (1942-1994)
This series contains resumes, Who’s Who entries, clippings, and correspondence. His pursuit of a Masters degree from the College of Liberal Studies at the University of Oklahoma is reflected.
Silberman’s Series 33: Address and Bibliographic Card Files, n.d., comprise the next series and various Series 34: Greeting Cards, Postcards and Business Cards (1994) are included in a separate series.
Series 35: Lectures (1886-1994)
This series contains mostly typed manuscript drafts, some handwritten research notes, clippings, articles, and letters. They reflect his activities as an adjunct faculty member to Oklahoma City University's Art Department where he taught courses on Native American Art History.
Series 36: Legal Documents (1977-1980)
This series contains depositions, restraining orders, scripts, letters and loan agreements related to two legal actions taken by Silberman basically over alleged copyright infringement. One action related to the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority's production of and script for One Hundred Years of Native American Painting, which was developed from and based upon Silberman's so-named exhibit, exhibit catalog and script ideas. The other legal action was against Lu Celia Wise, President of Illustrated Books Company, and her book Indian Values Past and Present. Silberman alleged that certain passages were copied from his exhibit catalog 100 Years of Native American Painting and published without permission or proper credit.
Series 37: Note Pages & Cards (1991)
This series includes bibliographic, library reference, source, and subject cards.
The following six series contain published and unpublished materials which are indexed alphabetically by folder title.
Series 38: Art Catalogs, Fliers, Brochures (1945-1994)
Includes information about Native American and Non-Indian art shown through catalogs, fliers, brochures, and clippings.
Series 39: Auction Catalogs (1972-1995)
This includes auction catalogs published by Col. Doug Allard, Butterfield’s, W. E. Channing’s, Christie’s, Larry Gottheim, R. G. Munn, Skinner and Sotheby’s.
Series 40: Photocopied Books (1934-1992)
This series contains photocopied books listed alphabetically by author surname.
Series 41: Dissertations/Theses (1932-1991)
This series contains dissertation/theses by authors including those whom Silberman assisted.
Series 42: Papers & Reports (1900-1986) and Series 43: Proposals & Guides (1971-1980)
These series contain such materials as implied by the series titles.
Series 44: Art Catalogs and Series 45: Booklets & Pamphlets
These are described bibliographically at an item-level in the Center's online public access catalog.
Series 46: Over-sized Items
This series includes art prints, photographic prints, etchings, portfolios, kitsch, scrapbooks, and photocopied ledger art images.
Series 47: Photographic Materials
This series contains photographic items removed from documentary materials of certain prior series folders. Separation sheets cross-reference the photographic materials with the documentary materials. The files are organized by the order of the series from which they were removed and indexed alphabetically by the folder title which is the same title of the documentary folders.
Auchiah, James, 1906-1974
Asah, Spencer, ca. 1905-1954
Bear's Heart, James, 1851-1882
Beaver, Fred, 1911-1980
Blue Eagle, Acee, 1909-1959
Buffalo Meat, 1847-1917
Hokeah, Jack, 1902-1969
Howling Wolf, ca. 1850-1927
Hume, Annette Ross, 1858-1933
Jacobson, Oscar Brousse, 1882-1966
Making Medicine, ca. 1842-1931
Mopope, Stephen, 1898-1974
Nunez, Bonita Wa Wa Calachaw, 1888-1972
Ohet Toint, d. 1934
Pratt, Richard Henry, 1840-1924
Silberman, Arthur, 1929-1995
Silberman, Shifra, d. 1990
Silver Horn, 1860-1940
Smoky, Lois, 1907-1981
Squint Eyes, 1857-1932
Tiger, Jerome, 1941-1967
Tsatoke, Monroe, 1904-1937
Zotom, Paul Caryl, ca. 1853-1913
Native American Painting Reference Library
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (Fla.)-History
Fort Marion, Saint Augustine, Florida
Indian art-Florida-Fort Marion-Exhibitions
Indian art-Florida-Saint Augustine
Indian art-Great Plains-History-19th century
Indian art-Great Plains-History-20th century
Indian art-North America
Indian art-North America-Exhibitions
Indian art-Southwest, New
Indian art-United States
Indian art-West (U.S.)-Catalogs
Indian ledger drawings-United States
Indian artists-Great Plains-Biography
Indian artists-North America-Biography
Indians of North America-Pictorial works-Catalogs
Indians of North America-Relocation-Florida-Saint Augustine
Kiowa painting-Florida-Castillo de San Marcos (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Prisoners as artists-Florida-Castillo de San Marcos (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
West (U.S.) in art-Catalogs
Accession: The materials associated with the Arthur & Shifra Silberman Native American Art Collection were accessioned as a gift from the Arthur Silberman Estate on July 17, 1996.
Organization: While the creator of these research files maintained some organization, his filing system was idiosyncratic and oftentimes random. During processing, original order and topical headings (for the most part) were retained. This order proved to be ineffective in terms of intellectual accessibility to the records and prompted a re-organization, alphabetizing, and an indexing of the series and the folder titles to facilitate access and usability while retaining the original order of the boxes on the shelves.
Processing: Jennifer Flint, Chandra Powell, and Mark White, all graduate students, first began processing this collection in the summer of 1997, supervised initially by Mike Leslie, Curator of Ethnology. In the fall of 1997, Mark White became the principal processor under the supervision of Charles E. Rand, Director of the Research Center. Silberman topical terms or "series" were retained as well as the original order of the files which were housed for the most part in filing cabinets. Preservation photocopying of clippings was undertaken and clippings discarded. Photographic materials included with documentary materials were removed and rehoused in containers of photographic materials. Separation sheets cross-reference the photographic materials with the documentary materials. A preliminary biography and container list were created by the Director in May and June 1998. The present finding aid including indexed container list was completed in January 2001.
The Arthur & Shifra Silberman Native American Art Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Arthur & Shifra Silberman Native American Art Collection, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.