Changes in Lone Star Dietz’s Artwork Style

On Tuesday evening I attended a presentation by the Dickinson College Archives’ Carlisle Indian School Resource Center about their digital scanning project. The handout for this program included cover images of two Carlisle Indian School publications: The Indian Craftsman and The Red Man. They caught my eye because Lone Star Dietz and his bride—he and Angel DeCora had been married a little over a year when the first edition appeared—created and produced the school’s literary magazine. Dietz contributed the artwork and almost all of the cover images. The title of the magazine was changed starting with the second year because of confusion with Stickley’s popular journal The Craftsman.

The differences between the first cover art and that Dietz made for later works was striking. It was similar to a drawing he made for the December 1904 edition Chilocco Indian School’s The Indian School Journal. Although that school claimed him as a student and arranged his transportation to Chilocco, there is no evidence that he actually arrived there. The piece used on the February 1909 magazine might have originally been intended for a Chilocco publication.

The first piece of Dietz’s art to appear in a Carlisle document was on page 3 of the June 19,1908 edition of the school’s newspaper The Arrow. This design was published about the time the school acknowledged Dietz’s elopement with the head of the Native Art Department. The shift in style was likely due to DeCora’s influence. Dietz would never return to the previous style.

The other cover image used of the handout came from a later edition of The Red Man magazine—cover art was often used multiples times across several years. Dietz’s style would evolve but never back to how it was for Chilocco publications.



6 Responses to “Changes in Lone Star Dietz’s Artwork Style”

  1. raycm Says:

    Thanks for the report on the presentation at the Dickinson College Archives Carlisle Indian School Resource Center digital scanning project Mr. Benjey, you are always a wealth of information. So William “Lone Star” Dietz met Angel DeCora at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Exposition I believe, and Lone Star had been commissioned by someone I to do some type of Artwork there. Was it Chilocco that hired him maybe? And I can appreciate both versions of his artwork, but really like the latter the best, the more you look, the more hidden details you see. I wonder how a fellow without any Indigenous blood or upbringing (allegedly) ever saw enough of that culture, to be able to produce the work he did? I have been researching the Carlisle Indian School story hard the past 12 years, largely with the help of the Dickinson College Archives CIIS Resource Center as I’ve been developing a script and a feature film called “CARLISLE”, and the website is up. Your Doctors Lawyers Indian Chiefs has been very useful to me, as well as your blog, so, Thank you. Here is the the website, Hope you like it, and all the best. Ray

    • tombenjey Says:

      If memory serves, the Chilocco superintendent was in charge of the model government Indian school exhibit at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. It would likely have been the exhibit that paid Dietz to make the mosaic out of grains grown at Chilocco. As a child he played with Chippewa children in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. After writing his biography, I became aware of a Lone Star family that lived in the next county north. As county sheriff several years, his father would have had ample opportunity to have a Chippewa woman as a second wife up there. At his trial, the prosecutor asked the Pine Ridge agent if he’d ever seem an Indian that looked like Dietz. The agent said, “No.” When the defense attorney asked if he’d ever seen a white man who looked like Dietz, the agent said, “No.” It’s quite possible for him to have been part Chippewa. I don’t think he ever knew for sure. When the old Sioux warrior One Star took a liking to him and Dietz being a romantic, he likely found being part Sioux more than agreeable.

  2. raycm Says:

    Hi Tom, thanks for the response, that’s the way I’m handling Lone Star, Sylvester Long, and Margaret (Iva) Miller. I can’t say for sure that they didn’t have any native blood in them, and have to assume that like you said, “I don’t think he ever knew for sure”.

    • tombenjey Says:

      I was recently asked about Iva Miller. She told an Indiana Daily Student reporter (when Jim was coaching at IU) that her mother was 1/8 Cherokee, making her 1/16.

  3. raycm Says:

    Hi Tom, I appreciate the confirmation, that is what I am going with, that’s how I have it written. I mean, even Sylvester Long, as well as Lone Star, seem to have had a trace, when it’s all said and done. A question relating to Iva, the records all say that she had an aunt at Carlisle that fudged the records to get her in. I’ve never seen a Grace – Gray Miller listed though? Any thoughts? Iva attended the Mission School in Okmulgee and Chilocco, I’m not sure if the Mission school was Indians only, but Chilocco it seems was. She got in there somehow. One last note on this subject, the folks that swore before a notary that they knew her as an Indian in the Arkansas City Kansas area, would’ve lied under oath as they signed those papers. Anyways, I’m going with she had a trace.

    • tombenjey Says:

      Grace-Gray Miller lived in Arkansas City, Kansas and worked at Chilocco Indian School, which was just over the state line in Oklahoma. I think Grace was Iva’s older sister. She got Iva enrolled at Chilocco after her mother died and her father scooted off to California. Once Iva was in the system, she could transfer to other government schools. The people who swore that she had Indian blood may not have known how much or little she had or that ¼ was needed to enroll in the government schools. Something to keep in mind is that, if a person had one drop of black blood at that time, he or she was considered to be black. The general population may not have known that different rules/laws applied to Indians.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: