Beaded Shoulder Bag

Seminole Tribe of Florida


c. 1840

Beads, cloth

Overall: 26 9/16 × 16 13/16 × 1 3/16 in. (67.5 × 42.7 × 3 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Stephen A. Lister, Class of 1963



Place Made: United States, North America


19th century

Object Name

Personal Gear: Bag

Research Area

Native American

Not on view


A Seminole woman made this intricate shoulder bag from European beads acquired through complex trade networks with white settler communities. Lacking a needle narrow enough to sew the individual beads onto the bag, she stitched around the pre-strung beads to create her intricate design. Likely worn by a close male relative, the time she dedicated to creating this bag demonstrates her care.  

A Native American man wears a similar bag in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s version of Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware; however, he is far from the center and barely outlined in the lower right of Leutze’s study. After the American Revolution, the newly formed US Government refused to recognize the sovereignty of tribal nations, including the Florida Seminole. The US Army attempted, but ultimately failed, to forcibly remove the Florida Seminole from their unceded homelands. 

Comparative illustration at bottom of label (detail of figure at far left, in the boat):
Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware (detail), 1851, oil on canvas, 149 x 255 in (378.5 x 647.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897.

From the 2022 exhibition Historical Imaginary, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

Film Studies 42.23, Travelers and Tourists, Heidi Denzel, Spring 2023

History 63.02, Reading Artifacts: The Material Culture of Science, Whitney Barlow Robles, Spring 2023

Exhibition History

Historical Imaginary, Luise and Morton Kaish Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 17, 2022-June 4, 2023.

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