William Stinson Soule, ‘Mow-way (Shaking Hand)’, ca. 1870, Contemporary Works/Vintage Works

Mow-way (or Shaking Hand) was a Kotchateka Comanche chief who surrendered at Fort Bascom in 1869. He wears a large bear claw in his hair.

William S. "Will" Soule (August 28, 1836 – August 12, 1908) made his way west in 1867. At age 29, he was a wounded Civil War veteran looking for a way to improve his health. Upon his arrival at Fort Dodge in Kansas, he clerked in trader John E. Tappin's post store.

When Soule left for the west, he brought along equipment for landscape and portrait photography. He was well acquainted with photography through his employment, after his injury, with a photographic gallery in Chambersburg, PA, which was destroyed by fire in early 1867; and though his brother, John P. Soule, who established the Soule Photographic Company in Boston before the Civil War.

Soule's photograph of a scalping victim taken near Fort Dodge became his first published work. An engraving was made from his photograph, and it appeared in the January 16, 1869 issue of Harper's Weekly.

Soule left Fort Dodge for Camp Supply, Indian Territory, in the spring of 1869, and arrived in Fort Sill, Indian Territory, in late 1869 or early 1870. Soule became the post photographer at Fort Sill where he would remain for six years. Fort Sill was a military headquarters and an agency for several tribes, including the Kiowa, Wichita, and Comanche. Belous and Weinstein, in their book, Will Soule: Indian Photographer at Fort Sill, Oklahoma 1869-1874 (1969), indicate that most of Soule's Indian portraits were taken at or near Fort Sill, and they date them between 1870 and 1874.

Soule returned to Boston in late 1874 or early 1875, and partnered with W. D. Everett in the photographic business. His brother John P. Soule secured copyrights for many of the Indian portraits through the Library of Congress. Will Soule died in 1908.

According to Belous and Weinstein in their book, Will Soule: Indian Photographer at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 1869-1874, 166 paper prints and 69 glass plate negatives have survived. Other repositories with various collections of Will Soule's work are included in the Huntington Library, the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History, the Denver Public Library, and the Bureau of American Ethnology through the Fort Sill Artillery and Missile Center Museum. This collection of photographs was owned by A. A. Hyde of Wichita, a Wichita businessman, philanthropist and inventor of the world-renown ointment, Mentholatum.

Signature: Name and title in period pencil on recto of mount below image.

Belous and Weinstein, Will Soule: indian Photographer at Fort Still, Oklahoma 1869-74, p.106 (for illustration) and p.112 (for information on Mow-way).

About William Stinson Soule

American, 1836-1908, Turner, ME, USA