Sensational Portrayals of the Modoc War, 1872–73

Sensational Portrayals of the Modoc War, 1872–73 opens on July 21 at the California Historical Society, in San Francisco, California. The exhibit draws on my book, Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence, for its analysis of newspaper representations of the conflict and I was happy to collaborate with the curators and staff at the historical society.

The exhibition is beautifully curated and is drawn from the California Historical Society’s  collections of vintage photographs, newspapers, and books that often sensationalized the war, including carte de visite portraits by Louis Heller of Modoc Indians in custody following the war and stereographic views by Eadweard Muybridge showing the desolate Lava Beds and picturing non-Modoc Indians reenacting battle scenes for his camera. The exhibition is paired with a second exhibit, Native Portraits, which features contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew in a series of portraits of members of the Klamath, Modoc, and Pit River Paiute tribes.

If you are interested in learning more about the Modoc War and the Klamath, Modoc, and Pit River Paiute people today, I encourage you to attend an event at the historical society on July 28th from 6:00-8:00pm. The Modoc War: A History Examined Through Objects in the Exhibition will feature a conversation between myself and Cheewa James. Using objects from the exhibit we will discuss the background and impetus for the war and provide insights on why this War was monumental, destructive, and historic.

Hope to see you all there!

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