Carlisle Indian School Archive, ca. 1910

Value (2010) | $15,000 Auction$25,000 Auction
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GUEST:
My great-aunt, Savannah Beck, went to Carlisle Indian School in the early 1900s. She and two of her brothers and a sister and a cousin all attended the school. As far as I know, she's the only one that graduated, with a degree in practical nursing. My mother inherited them from Savannah's daughter.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so it came through the family.

GUEST:
Came through the family.

APPRAISER:
And you know the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was founded around 1879, and it was basically the first off-reservation boarding school for the Indian families to send their kids to. And what you brought here is phenomenal. I know it's just a small portion of an enormous archive that you have. The key to this whole setup that we put together, as far as I'm concerned, is you have her diploma.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
So right out of the chute, you're putting your provenance stamp on this archive. You're saying, "Hey, this is my family member. "Here's her diploma. She graduated in 1909."

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And we have a wonderful booklet here, which is the commencement exercises for 1909, and all of the printing of these booklets was done right there at the school.

GUEST:
Right, all of the students did the printing for all of the events on the campus.

APPRAISER:
What we have in front of us in these two pictures is an absolute Who's Who of football history. This is a 1903 team photo from the Carlisle team. And over here on this side, that's a picture of probably the most famous football coach in football history. That's Pop Warner.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And he coached that team. And over here on this side, you have a picture of Art Sheldon, one of the most famous people in football history, known for the hidden ball trick.

GUEST:
Exactly.

APPRAISER:
And a photo like this is just incredible. To top that off, you have a photo here of probably the most famous person that ever went to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Jim Thorpe.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Jim Thorpe was probably one of the greatest, not just football players, but athletes in American history. What's wonderful about this is it's a phenomenal photo of him and to add even more to it, on the back, Jim signed this in 1912, and that's to Savannah Beck.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
That's your aunt. And he signs it here, "All-American half back, 1911." It's absolutely incredible. This is a photograph at an early stage of his career autographed by him. This is something you just never, ever see. You know, when you try to give an estimate on something like this, it's virtually impossible to be real accurate with the quantity of material you have, because every piece has a value.

GUEST:
Exactly.

APPRAISER:
Every piece has an historic value. Easily I would estimate this as an archive at auction, with these two pieces obviously being the centerpiece of that collection, at $15,000 to $25,000, at least. And I think I'm being quite conservative when I do that. Because a Jim Thorpe piece like this could sell for $5,000 to $10,000 by itself. Rare, rare stuff. And amazing that it's been kept together for this length of time. I mean, it's just... I'm astounded and I'm really thrilled that you brought it to the Roadshow today.

GUEST:
Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Philip Weiss Auctions
Lynbrook, NY
Appraised value (2010)
$15,000 Auction$25,000 Auction
Event
Washington, DC (August 21, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Material
Paper
October 28, 2013: In the appraisal of Carlisle Indian School football memorabilia, appraiser Philip Weiss gave a very brief description of the mission of the school. Weiss was not inaccurate, but we received an email from a viewer who objected to what she felt was a missed opportunity to expose the controversial history of the Carlisle Indian School and other institutions of its kind.

The topic certainly warrants more attention than can be given here, and we encourage viewers to explore the many books and websites available, a sampling of which are below:

• "The Real All Americans: The Team That Changed A Game, A People, A Nation," by Sally Jenkins. Doubleday, 2007.
• "Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875-1928," by David Wallace Adams. University Press of Kansas, 1995.
• "American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many," by Charla Bear, NPR, May 12, 2008
• "An Indian Boarding School Photo Gallery"

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