Native American Object Recovery Effort | Wisconsin Historical Society

Native American Object Recovery Effort

Recovery Effort

In the late 1990s, the Wisconsin Historical Society experienced a major theft of objects from its Native American ethnographic and archaeological collections. The Society has collaborated with "Antiques Roadshow" in an effort to recover these objects. Listed below are the artifacts the Society wishes to find. Perhaps with your help, some of these items may be returned.

Photographic documentation exists for only a handful of the missing objects. Unfortunately photography was not always a routine step in the cataloging process. Nearly all of the many thousands of museum objects belonging to the Society are now documented through photography.

If the number on an object in your possession matches a number and brief description as noted below, please contact Scott Roller by email or by calling 608-263-3574.

Antiques Roadshow

These objects were featured in an episode of "Antiques Roadshow." Watch the episode.

Objects with Photographic Documentation

Catlinite pipe with lead inlay

Catalog number: 1919.1389 (original catalog number: A4294; Hamilton #2214)
Museum catalog card (likely quoting from Hamilton records) states: Leaded catlinite peace pipe, length 6 1/2", height 3 1/2" from Crow Creek, Dakota. Presented to Dr. Louis Falge of Manitowoc, Wis. by Chief Yellow Hand. Henry Hamilton purchased from Falge. 14 oz. Gift of Henry Pierpoint Hamilton, 1919

Antler implement, engraved

Catalog number: 1919.1468 (original catalog number: A4373; Hamilton #559)
Museum catalog card (likely quoting from Hamilton records) states: Engraved deer horn, presented by Frank Canright, May 29, 1893. Mr. Canright states that some 25 years ago, when a boy he was at play in his father's garden in the city of Manitowoc and saw the gardener spade this implement up and throw it aside. He cleaned it with a brush and has kept it in his possession ever since. Length 11 1/2". Gift of Henry Pierpoint Hamilton, 1919

Indian doll, female

Catalog number: 1943.148
Museum catalog card states: Doll 15 inches long. Cloth body. Face buckskin. Coarse hair, long braids tied with buckskin. Beaded eyes, nose, and mouth, colored cheeks. Two long strands of beads around neck. Heavily beaded blue and white strip forms arms and top of waist. Fringe of buckskin at ends of strip. Beaded band as belt. Beads on long skirt, fringe at bottom. Beaded strip on legs, beaded moccasins. Gift of Mrs. Edith M. West, 1943

Neckband, Winnebago (Ho-Chunk)

Catalog number: 1950.6459 (original catalog number: E1970)
Museum catalog card states: Neck band, beadwork, 15” long. Donated by Mrs. Frank C. Ramsdale, Madison, Wisconsin, Jan. 27, 1936.

Bear claw necklace, Potawatomi

Catalog number: 1954.1479 (original catalog number: E1699)
Museum catalog card states: Necklace, green glass beads, brass beads, beaded pendant, bear claws. From Forest County, Wisconsin. Purchase from Dr. A. Gerend, 1930

Scalp lock

Catalog number: 1954.1499 (original catalog number: E779)
Museum catalog card states: Scalp lock, formerly the property of Chief Spoon Dekorah. Purchased from Dr. Paul Radin, Black River Falls, Wisconsin, Dec. 3, 1913.

Shell ornament, Chippewa (Ojibwe)

Catalog number: 1954.1524 (original catalog number: E118)
Museum catalog card states: Shell ornament with beaded decorations. From Wisconsin. Gift of Chief Me-dire-as-sung, 1908

Moccasins, Dakota Sioux

Catalog number: 1954.1997,A (original catalog number: E1198)
Museum catalog card states: Pair of moccasins, red, white, blue on blue beadwork. 10 1/4" long. Purchased of a trader [by Robert B. Lang?] about 1880. Gift of Robert B. Lang, 1919

Pipe stem, Chippewa (Ojibwe)

Catalog number: 1961.249.3A
Museum catalog card states: Wood stem (a), 19" long. Carved sheep's head, turtle, and elk's head near bowl. Bands of mallard feathers and quillwork and horsehair on stem. Originally in Heye Foundation Collection. Illustrated in M.P.M. [Milwaukee Public Museum] Bulletin Vol. 17, plate 178, but with different bowl and attached eagle feathers. West says pipe is Ojibwa of Sioux origin (p. 248, part 1). Note: Pipe bowl (1961.249.3) remains in Wisconsin Historical Museum collection. Gift of Michael Kosenski, 1961

Pouch, Blackfoot

Catalog number: 1961.258.3
Beaded leather pouch and beaded leather strap. Pouch beaded on both sides with yellow, green, blue, and red beads. Strap decorated with white, blue, and yellow beads. Pouch is 6" x 9". Said to be Blackfoot. Bought by donor at Glacier Park in 1924. Gift of Elsa Fauerbach, 1961

Shirt, Crow

Catalog number: 1968.35.1
Museum catalog card states: Man’s shirt of red blanket cloth with selvage along the bottom. Pink, blue, yellow, green and white beadwork strips down the sleeves and across the shoulders. Buckskin fringe along shoulders and down sleeves. Purchased from Michael J. Means, Akron, Ohio, 1967.

Objects without Photographic Documentation

The majority of missing objects lack photographic documentation, but may be recognized if their catalog numbers remain on them. These numbers usually were written directly on the object, or in the case of textiles, written or typed on fabric tags sewn to the items.

Objects are listed in order by their most recent catalog number, starting with 1919. Numbers in parentheses are older catalog numbers assigned to these artifacts. Artifacts that have only "A" numbers can be found at the end of the list.

Object List

1919.37 (A3348)
Copper knife
1919.539 (A3516)
Projectile point
1919.886 (A3862)
Projectile point
1919.901 (A3877)
Projectile point
1919.981 (A3956)
Projectile point
1919.982 (A3957)
Projectile point
1919.1103 (A4078)
Copper axe
1919.1222 (A4197)
Copper bracelet
1919.1386 (A4291)
Bone figurine
1919.1389 (A4294)
Catlinite pipe with lead inlay, Sioux
1919.143 (A4335)
Stone platform pipe, restored
1919.1468 (A4373)
Antler implement, engraved
1919.1473 (A4378)
Bone projectile point, barbed
1919.2213 (A5637)
Double-bitted stone axe
1919.2589 (A6095)
Iron projectile point
1919.259 (A6096)
Iron projectile point
326 Jewel projectile points
1919.2624.14-28 (A13015)
15 Jewel projectile points
1927.36 (A8965)
Flint blade
1927.44 (A8967)
Projectile point
1927.46 (A8967)
Projectile point
1927.47 (A8967)
Projectile point
1927.48 (A8967)
Projectile point
1927.52 (A8967)
Projectile point
1927.56 (A8968)
Quartzite blade
1927.66 (A8970)
Quartzite projectile point
1927.291 (A8993)
Notched triangular projectile point
1927.299 (A8993)
Notched triangular projectile point
1927.519 (A8998)
Flint projectile point
1927.57 (A9004)
Lead turtle
1927.576 (A9009
Stone pendant
1927.661 (A9067)
Slate birdstone
1927.674 (A8967)
Fluted projectile point
Doll, Native American female
1945.521 (H13078)
Cane with totem figures, Northwest carvings
Rawhide case, Plains Indian
Headdress ornaments, pair of horns, carved wood
Knife Sheath, Cheyenne
German silver button, Menominee
German silver button, Menominee
1950.6470,A (E1565)
Pair of silver earrings, heart-shaped, HoChunk
Beaded shoulder strap with pouch cover, HoChunk
Scalp lock ornament (necklace?), Sioux
Rawhide rattle, green paint, impressed face, face, Santee
Beaded bag, Plains Indian
Yarn bag, Northern Wisconsin
Fiber bag, Great Lakes
Yarn bag, Northern Wisconsin
Holster, solid beading, Sioux
Charm bag, beaded, Great Lakes
Charm bag, beaded
Charm bag, Great Lakes
Charm bag, underground panther design
Lacrosse racket, Northern Wisconsin
1954.1479 (E1699)
Necklace, bear claw, Forest County, Potawatomi
1954.1524 (E118)
Shell ornament with beaded decoration, Ojibwe
1954.1668 (E1160)
Iron projectile point, Oneida
1954.1708 (E1181)
Knife sheath, Cree
1954.1727 (E1847)
Tomahawk pipe stem with file marks, Sauk/Fox
1954.1881A (E1214)
Bear claw from medicine pouch, HoChunk
1954.1901 (E482)
Paint pouch, Arapaho
1954.1902 (E483)
Paint bag, Arapaho
1954.1928 (E1220)
Medicine pouch, Sioux
1954.1931 (E723)
Knife sheath, Sioux
1954.1954 (E1263)
Paint pouch, Sioux
1954.1957 (E1263)
Paint pouch, Sioux
1954.1972 (E61)
Pouch, pipe and tobacco, beadwork, quill and buckskin fringe,
1954.1985 (E1183)
Pipe bag, Sioux
1954.199 (E1179)
Awl case, beads on buckskin, Santee
1954.1997,A (E1198)
Pair of beaded moccasins
1954.2018A-D (E1167)
2 buckskin bags containing red paint and 2 bone applicators
1954.2128 (E544)
Ring, silver, double heart ornamentation, Fox
1955.173 (E1326)
Carved wood bird, Acoma
8 Arrows, Ottawa
1955.1084A (E286)
Sinker, fish-shaped, ivory
1955.1091 (E272)
Pipe, carved slate pipe with four animal figures, Northwest Coast
Pipe stem, Sioux
Pair of gloves, Shoshone
1956.124 (A2520)
Brooch, silver, with “RC” touchmark and stamped design
Pair of moccasins, buckskin, beaded, Sioux
Pipe bag, Sioux
Beaded knife sheath, Sioux
Pipe stem, Ojibwe
Bandolier bag, beaded, Blackfoot/Plains Indian
Pipe bag, beaded buckskin, quill fringe, Plains
1966.68.182 (A7311)
Ladle, undecorated with broken rim, Anasazi
1966.68.351 (A6920)
Pottery vessel, cup
Doll, Sioux
Doll, Sioux
Peyote bracelet with stylized peyote button, Kiowa
1968.98.8A (H3084)
Armband, silver, Great Lakes
Armband, silver, Great Lakes
Pipe stem
Paint pouch, Apache
Pouch, beaded, Potawatomi, 1870s
Pottery vessel from Allamakee Co., Iowa
Vase, black on whiteware, Anasazi
Pottery vessel, jar or olla, indented ware, Anasazi
Pottery vessel, jar or olla, coiled and indented ware, Anasazi
Pottery vessel, bowl, decorated black and red ware, Anasazi

Contact Us

If you have an object marked with a number, please check to see if it matches a number on the list below. Some objects have more than one catalog number because at some point they were re-cataloged; be sure to check both numbers on the chance that one or the other matches the number on an object you have.

If the number on an object in your possession matches a number and brief description as noted below, please contact Scott Roller by email or by calling 608-263-3574.