11 March 2010

Caleb & Joel Went to Harvard, 1665 - Final Print

click image for larger view


Japanese woodblock (moku hanga)
Paper size: 14.5" x 20.5" (37 x 52 cm)
Image size: 11.5" x 17.75" (29.2 x 45 cm)
5 shina plywood blocks
7 hand-rubbed impressions
Paper: Nishinouchi
Edition: 8

It's impossible to know from this vantange point whether Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck and Joel Iacoombs, the first two Native students to attend the Harvard Indian College, felt honored to be there or if they felt resistance, as Native Americans felt in the late 1800s when they were removed from their families and placed in government-run boarding schools. What we do know is that as early as the 1640s Puritan missionaries like John Eliot were establishing Indian "praying towns" in Massachusetts. Indians in praying towns dropped their Indian names and adopted English names (like "Caleb" and "Joel"), cut off their long hair, and wore English clothing.

The story of Caleb and Joel was forgotten once the Harvard Indian School was torn down in the 1690s, but in 1970 the Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP) was established and the story was rediscovered. In a 1997 ceremony in Harvard Yard, sponsored by HUNAP, a plaque was unveiled marking the spot of the ancient Indian College. The plaque reads:

"Near this spot, from 1655 to 1698, stood the Indian College. Here American Indian and English students lived and studied in accordance with the 1650 Charter of Harvard College calling for 'The Education of the English and Indian Youth of this Country."


Elizabeth Seaver said...

What a fascinating story. It is wonderful how you have brought it into the light and given it flesh and faces.

Ellen Shipley said...

This is amazing.

Ellen Longo said...

This final print just breaks my heart. There is so much truth of expression on their faces - I've seen those expressions many times on Native American faces, the sad, submissive innocence.

Lesshalynn said...

I am a Master's student of Art History at the University of Nebraska. I am interested in this image and using it in a presentation about Native American education during the colonial era. Is there a way to contact you for more information?

Annie B said...

Hi Lesshalynn. If you scroll up to the top right hand side of this blog you see the blog author profile, and directly under that it says "Links." The first link says "My Web Site." Go there and you'll find my contact info.

Debbie Reese said...


Today, I posted a review of Caleb's Crossing, by Brooks. Someone wrote to me, telling me about your site. Hence, here I am.

I have a question. Can you say something about why you chose to depict Caleb and Joel shirtless?

Annie B said...

Hi Debbie,
I don't think of them as shirtless in this depiction. They are wearing Pilgrim garb -- you can see the white collars around their necks -- as they would have worn at Harvard College. I wanted to make the Pilgrim garments look thin and diaphanous, not fully their own. The way to make it look transparent was to show their bodies underneath.
Thanks for visiting my site.