American Indian Drawing by John White (Wife of an Indian werouwance or chief of Pomeiooc, and her daughter)

Source: The American drawings of John White, 1577-1590, with drawings of European and oriental subjects, Joyner Rare Oversize NC 242.W53 H8

Indian woman and young girl.

Indian woman and young girl.

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:

The image shown below is a drawing ca. 1585 by the English adventurer John White. White joined the group of colonists who came to North Carolina under the patronage of Sir Walter Raleigh. His drawings are the only surviving sixteenth century watercolors of the people, places, animals, and things that he discovered in “Virginia”. After just staying in the New World about fourteen days, White returned to England. There is some evidence that his original sketches were further enhanced with coloring later in England. The original watercolors were purchased by the British Museum in the mid-nineteenth century and were reproduced here in 1964 in a joint publication by the Museum and the University of North Carolina Press. A number of White’s original watercolors are currently on loan from the British Museum and are on display from October 2007 until January 2008 in an exhibit in the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, North Carolina along with the Joyner Library copy of Thomas Hariot’s A Brief and true relation of the new found land of Virginia, London, 1588.

In the drawing the girl shows her mother a small dressed doll she is holding along with her necklace which appears to be of copper or gold. Both of these items were rather expensive items for a child and it may be an attempt on the part of White to show the riches that the children of the New World owned. The mother displays facial, neck and arm tattoos as well as a decorated apron. She holds in her right arm several necklaces a gesture which Thomas Harriot noted was “particular” to this tribe of Native Americans. In her left hand she holds a gourd which was used to carry water. Kim Sloan, Curator of British Drawings and Watercolours at the British Museum, notes that by carrying this gourd White shows that even the wife of a chief was not free from some of the more routine tasks of the community. Other members of the community are depicted in various tasks in the other watercolors in the book.

Paul Hulton and David Beers Quinn,The American drawings of John White, 1577-1590, with drawings of European and oriental subjects.London and Chapel Hill, the Trustees of the British Museum and the University of North Carolina Press, 1964. 2 v., illus. (part colored), 40 cm. Joyner Rare Oversize NC 242.W53 H8 Purchase 1964 State Funds.

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Secotan

Source: Admiranda narratio, fida tamen, de commodis et incolarvm ritibvs Virginiae . . . , Joyner Rare F229.B78 1590

Staff Person: Maury York

Description:
This engraving depicts the Native American village of Secotan, located somewhere along the Pamlico River, at the time of Walter Raleigh’s 1585-86 colonization effort. Two important members of this colony were scientist Thomas Harriot and John White, a talented artist. Before leaving the area for his return to England, White made sketches of Indians that he later rendered in handsome watercolor paintings. In 1588, Harriot published A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, which described portions of the coastal region of North Carolina and its inhabitants. Two years later, Theodor de Bry published this work along with a series of copperplate engravings based on the watercolors by John White. Editions appeared in English, French, German, and Latin. Recently Joyner Library, with the help of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, acquired a copy of the 1590 Latin edition of Harriot’s important text.

This image is particularly important because it reveals much about the agricultural practices of the Native Americans. Note the platform in the corn field used to scare away hungry birds!

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Admiranda narratio, fida tamen, de commodis et incolarvm ritibvs Virginiae ... Anglico scripta sermone à Thoma Harriot

Admiranda narratio, fida tamen, de commodis et incolarvm ritibvs Virginiae ... Anglico scripta sermone à Thoma Harriot

The book, part of Joyner Library’s Rare Book Collection, is available for use in the Special Collections Department’s Search Room.

Ada Delutuk Blackjack

Source: Inglis Fletcher Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #21

Ada Blackjack and her son.

Ada Blackjack and her son.

Staff Person: Martha Elmore

Description:
Ada Delutuk was an Eskimo born in Alaska in 1898 who was raised from the age of about ten by missionaries in Nome. By 1921 she was divorced from Jack Blackjack and had temporarily placed her sick child Bennett in an orphanage while she tried to earn a living as a seamstress. At this same time, Vilhjalmur Stefansson was putting together an arctic expedition to Wrangel Island which was located 200 miles northeast of Siberia and 400 miles northwest of Alaska. Ada Blackjack and several Eskimo families were recruited to help the four members of the expedition: Allan Crawford, Lorne Knight, Fred Maurer, and Milton Galle. When it came time for the ship Silver Wave to depart on September 9, 1921, Ada Blackjack was the only Eskimo who showed up to accompany the expedition. Despite misgivings, she sailed with the four men.

On September 16, 1921, the expedition arrived at Wrangel Island claiming it for Great Britain and the ship departed, leaving them on their own for a year. On August 20, 1922, the ship Teddy Bear left Nome to retrieve the five people and to leave new colonists on Wrangel Island, but the ice pack was unusually thick and they were forced to turn back. Meanwhile the expedition eventually realized that a relief ship wasn’t coming and because game was not as plentiful during the second year, three of the men decided to attempt to cross the ice to Nome via Siberia. They left behind Knight, because he had scurvy, and Ada. Eventually Stefansson was able to find financial support to send another relief ship and they found Ada on August 20, 1923. Knight had died on June 23, 1923, and no sign was ever found of the other three men.

A newspaper clipping (Feb. 27, 1924) showing a photograph of Ada Blackjack and her son, and an excerpt from her Feb. 6, 1924, statement to U.S. Marshal E. R. Jordan, Nome’s chief of police, concerning the expedition can be found in the Inglis Fletcher Papers #21 (finding aid at Manuscript Collection 21). Inglis was a good friend of Stefansson and she befriended Ada in February 1924 and accompanied her on a trip to California from Seattle.

Excerpt from statement of Ada Blackjack to U.S. marshal E. R. Jordan.

Excerpt from statement of Ada Blackjack to U.S. marshal E. R. Jordan.

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Omai

Source: A Voyage Towards the South Pole, Joyner Rare G420/C66/1777

Omai

Omai

Staff Person: Ralph Scott

Description:

The image above is of Omai (ca.1751-ca 1779)

Omai (ca.1751-ca. 1779) was the first Polynesian brought back to England by Captain James Cook (1726-1779) following his 1772-1775 around the world voyage. It was thought by English followers of the Enlightenment that individuals like Omai lived in a “natural state” of the “noble savage.” This idea was first expressed by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1788) in his work The Discourse on Inequality, (1754) in which he argued that civilization had destroyed man’s “natural goodness” and that this was the basis of social inequality. Rousseau noted in his Social Contract (1762), that “Man is born free and is everywhere in chains.” Rousseau’s Enlightenment thinking formed the basis for many tenants that were later expressed in the American Declaration of Independence (1776).

Omai was not the first nor the last person brought by the English back to the Old World. Indians from North Carolina as well as Eskimo families were transported eastward during the 16th through 18th centuries. Omai lived in England from July of 1774 until his return to Raiatea in August of 1777. In England under the guardianship of the Earl of Sandwich (he was from the “Sandwich Islands”), Omai went to balls, operas and the opening of Parliament. He also enjoyed attending parties of shooting, skating, picnicking, and great formal dinners. Several portraits of Omai were made including a famous one by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1712-1792) which was recently on the market for 12.5 million pounds Sterling. Omai was noted by Fanny Burney (1752-1840) to be “a perfectly rational and intelligent man, with an understanding far superior to the common race of us cultivated gentry.” Omai was the author of a number of epistles and poems and he appeared frequently on the London stage as a dramatic character telling the story of his experiences in England and native land. Among his more notable works are Omiah’s farewell to the ladies of London, (1776):

    To beauteous B******, and the courteous C******
    His warmest, chastest, fairest thanks are due;
    Be yours gay days of ease, and nights of pleasure,
    And joys Elysian, flowing without measure.

Omai returned to Polynesia with Cook’s second expedition in 1776/7, where Cook helped Omai build a house on Raiatea. Cook was killed later on in his expedition by the natives and in 1783 when Vice Admiral Sir William Bligh (1754-1817) arrived in Tahiti on the Bounty, he was told that Omai had also died a “few years after Cook had departed.”

The image is from:

Cook, James, 1728-1779 A voyage towards the South Pole, and round the world. Performed in His Majesty’s ships the Resolution and Adventure, in the years, 1772, 1773, 1774 and 1775. London: Printed for W. Strahan & T. Cadell, 1777. 2 v. plates (part folded) ports, (incl. front.) maps (part folded) folded plan. 31 cm.

While there is no special finding aid for this item which is in the Rare Book collection, the item is cataloged in our online catalog under:

Joyner Rare G420 C66 1777