CARLISLE SCHOOL PROMOTIONAL POSTER
Showing an Indian (left) transformed into a gentleman (right), his simple tipi replaced by a fine house, this promotional poster boasts of the success of the United States Indian School in Carlisle. As a federal institution, the survival of the school depended on the goodwill of Congress and the American public, and no one understood this better than Carlisle's Superintendent, Richard H. Pratt. Much effort was taken to generate favorable publicity for the school. The "before" and "after" photos of Pratt's Indian prisoners at Fort Marion in Florida had helped bolster his claim to have civilized them, and most of the native students who arrived at Carlisle in its early years became the subjects for such images of transformation. Much of what we know of the school is due to the thousands of striking photos taken over its thirty-nine years.
John Nicholas Choate, the first photographer Pratt employed, gained national recognition for his pictures of Carlisle's early years, and numerous other photographers followed, including Choate's apprentice, John Leslie, a Puyallup Indian student.