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J. W. "Duke" Wellington slide collection

Identifier: Ayer-Modern-MS-Wellington

Notice of Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials

This collection contains content identified by the library as Culturally Sensitive to Indigenous People(s): Slides and descriptions of Assiniboine and Gros Ventres (Atsina) dances and ceremonies. For more information please see the Newberry Library’s policy on Access to Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials.

Scope and Content of the Collection

Copies of Wellington's collection of color 35 mm. slides, and accompanying narratives, essays, and slide captions, documenting Assiniboine and Gros Ventres (Atsina) dances and ceremonies at the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana, where he served as BIA superintendent, 1947-1954. Ceremonies photographed include the Assiniboine Fool Dance (July 1952) and Sun Dance (1952), the Assiniboine and Gros Ventres Social Dances (ca. 1950), the Gros Ventres Feathered Pipe and Bundle Opening (Summer 1952), and the Sacred Flat Pipe Bundle (1952). There are numerous photographs of and extensive commentary by Al First Sound (Fool Dance), Frank Wheeler (Sun Dance), His Right Thumb, Iron Man II, and Jessie Blue Sky (Feathered Pipe Bundle Opening), and The Boy (Sacred Flat Pipe). There also are slides Wellington took of the Gros Ventres warrior Red Whip's war bundle and an essay he wrote regarding the same. Some of Wellington's essays were written as late as 1975.


  • Creation: approximately 1950-1975



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The J. W. "Duke" Wellington slide collection is open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The J. W. "Duke" Wellington slide collection is the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of J. W. "Duke" Wellington

Montana native and Bureau of Indian Affairs official, 1940-1972.

Born in Harlotown, Montana, J. W. "Duke" Wellington received a degree in agricultural education from Montana State University in 1929. For ten years he was a vocational education teacher and coach in Montana public high schools. In 1932 Wellington went to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs as an agricultural instructor at the Stewart Indian School in Carson City, Nevada, and later became BIA supervisor of livestock and farming for seventeen western states. In 1947, Wellington was appointed superintendent of the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy reservations, where he remained until 1954. He then served as superintendent at the Standing Rock Reservation at Fort Yates, North Dakota until 1956 when he suffered a heart attack. Afterwards Wellington was superintendent of the Indian school at Wahpeton, North Dakota, a position from which he retired in 1972.

Wellington married Mabel Morton in 1932 and they had one child, Barbara.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)


Copies of color 35 mm. slide sets, slide captions, and commentaries documenting Assiniboine and Gros Ventre ceremonies performed at the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Montana, approximately 1950-1952, prepared by J. W. "Duke" Wellington, who was Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent at the reservation, 1947-1954.


Organized by ceremony, with commentaries and captions preceding slides.

Collection Stack Location

3a 57 5


Gift of J. W. Wellington, 1982.

Processed by

Martha Briggs, 2002.

Inventory of the J. W. "Duke" Wellington slide collection, approximately 1950-1975
Martha Briggs
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States