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Fine condition photograph of Geronimo offered by Scottsdale Auctions & Appraisals
Highlights from The Sgt. Willard M. Burleson Photograph Collection – 6th U.S. Cavalry - From Fort Union, N.M. to Wounded Knee, S.D. – ca. 1887-1891.


SCOTTSDALE, AZ.- Scottsdale Auctions & Appraisals is announcing the upcoming sale of rare western cabinet cards (Boudoir mounts). Some never before seen examples. Auction to be held May 16th 2015 10:00 PST.

The Sgt. Willard M. Burleson Photograph Collection – 6th U.S. Cavalry - From Fort Union, N.M. to Wounded Knee, S.D. – ca. 1887-1891. This historic archive of 19th century photographs offers a rare glimpse into the frontier life of a late Indian Wars soldier, Sgt. Willard M Burleson, Troop G, 6th Cavalry. There are 36 photographs overall, 22 of which are originally inscribed with Burleson’s signature, rank, and his own historical notes, spanning the Apache campaigns of Arizona and New Mexico, to Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

The collection, most of which come from Willard M. Burleson Photograph Collection – 6th U.S. Cavalry - From Fort Union, N.M. to Wounded Knee, S.D. – ca. 1887-1891. Oversize cabinet cards from Nebraska, South Dakota, and the Northwestern Photographic Company were all personally collected and inscribed by Sgt. Willard M. Burleson. The 6th Cavalry was called to combat the “Ghost Dance” ceremony of the Sioux, and traveled by rail to Rapid City, South Dakota, arriving Dec. 9, 1890. Troop G did not participate at Wounded Knee on Dec. 29, 1890, but was part of the campaign that essentially ended the Indian Wars. Nearly 300 Sioux Indians were killed at Wounded Knee, many were women and children, 31 soldiers also lost their lives. This incident, known as the Wounded Knee Massacre, served as a rallying cry for the Native American people for many years.

The collection includes a rare un-published image of Fort Union, N.M., a series related to the attempted capture of the “Apache Kid” an ex-scout who became the Southwest’s most wanted renegade, and a series related to the infamous Wounded Knee campaign. These photographs all have an extremely unique historic provenance, besides the series that were dated, identified, and inscribed by Burleson himself over 120 years ago; there are numerous other Southwestern images from the Burleson Estate. Sgt. Burleson was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1868, and enlisted as a private on May 2, 1886 in 6th Cavalry, Troop G, serving five years. Also enlisting in 1886, General John “Black Jack” Ketchum was serving in 6th Cavalry, Troop L, and participated in the same Apache Campaigns. After his return to Michigan, Burleson attended Medical School and eventually became the owner of the noted Burleson Sanitarium in Grand Rapids, MI., one of the largest sanitariums in the world during that time. In an interesting note, Willard Burleson III, a noted Brigadier-General at the Army’s Mission command Center of Excellence in Leavenworth, Kansas, is directly related to Sgt. Willard M. Burleson."

Other photographs of interest in this group is a Scare, only known “SUN DANCE” CEREMONY IMAGE – ca. 1885; three cabinet cards of the Apache warrior Geronimo, including the rare “Standing Geronimo, Geronimo War Chief Chiricahua Apache ” by A. Frank Randall. These images of Geronimo along with several others of Apache Medicine Man and 40 Horses Apache Maiden all were handed down directly from Randall and are the finest condition examples that have ever been offered at auction.





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