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Lower Eastern Shore Native American History: Representation and Misappropriation of Native Identity

SC2014.007 Race Related Postcards

SC2014.007 Race-Related Postcards

These 28 race-related postcards, some of which are dated, depict African Americans and Native Americans illustrated in different manners. Six postcards depict Native Americans and 22 depict African Americans, all of which represent common stereotypes and racist imagery.

SC2018.025a Native Americana Postcards

These 23 postcards depict various tribes and scenes of Native Americans from the early 1900s to the 1920s. Tribes range from Hopi to Blackfoot, among others, and illustrations feature both individual leaders and groups of people.

SC2013.073 Native American Trade Cards

These three trade cards for circa 1880s products show racist depictions of Native American people.

Who are the Improved Order of Red Men?

The Improved Order of Red Men is one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the United States. The group was made up of members from the Sons of Liberty and Sons of St. Tamia, which were patriotic groups that split because of differences. In 1834 they began using the name Improved Order of Red Men. Their rituals and regalia are modeled after those assumed by white men of the era to be used by Native Americans. Despite the name, the order was formed solely by, and for, white men. Since the original members of the group were said to have been part of the historical Boston Tea party where they dressed as Native Americans, they have continued with this tradition. 

2015.021 Improved Order of Red Men, Fruitland, 1932-1960

Improved Order of Red Men, Fruitland records documents the chapter out of Fruitland, Maryland, Tribe 149. There are photographs and newspaper clipping of the members of the group. 

2009.091 Improved Order of Red Men (Berlin, Md.) records, 1900s

The Improved Order of Red Men contains the certificate of the ratification of the resolutions of respect brought forth by the Order of the Red Men to the White Eagle Chapter from Berlin, Maryland. The certificate was sent in memory of John Bethards.

2008.093 Benjamin Franklin Kennerly papers

The Benjamin Franklin Kennerly papers document the extensive business background of one of Salisbury, Maryland’s mayors. Correspondences and receipts, as well as ledgers and checkbooks, record the personal and business interactions of a small-town businessman at the beginning of the twentieth century. Correspondence and receipts dated after his death, created by his family members and business partners, provide insight into the elongated process of receiving life insurance and selling off businesses. The papers also include family photographs, advertisements, and other business notes and materials. The papers date from 1868-1982 and include modern publications referencing B. F. Kennerly and subjects he found interesting.

Artifacts Utilizing Native American Imagery

Wicomico High School jacket

Nabb Research Center, 2013.045.002.

Wooden Nickel

Political coin, "Wooden Nickel" on front of coin, on reverse, "Stephen Scott Crockett for June 7 Maryland Democratic 1980 Convention, Delegate May 13. Nabb Research Center, 2014.035.010.


Rotary International flag with gold fringe from Utica, New York - "gateway to the Adirondacks" and "land of the Iroquois, Nabb Research Center, 2017.013.103.


Native American figure wearing a feather headdress, Nabb Research Center, 2017.020.030.


Painted wall hanging featuring the Wicomico County seal, Elmore D. Page Collection, Nabb Research Center, 2013.022.096.

2014.030 Indian Chant Records

Wicomico High School Indian Chant records were produced by the high school's English Department, 1962-1964 and includes short stories, poetry and art produced by students to give examples of their individual characteristics, creativity and talents.

SUA-003 James Welsh Press Kits

The Nabb Center has a wealth of film press kits. Press kits typically contain background information about the film and its stars, posters and other advertising aids, black and white still photographs, and other related materials. 

Some press kits on films that include Native American characters or focus on Native American culture include: 

  • Pocahontas (1995)
  • Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981)
  • Dances with Wolves (1990)
  • Smoke Signals (1998)
  • Last of the Mohicans (1992)
  • Geronimo: an American Legend (1993)

There may be additional press kits regarding films related to Native American characters and culture within the collection. To search for another film visit the Finding Aid.

Improved Order of Red Men Collections

Red Men's Club

Photograph of the Red Men's Club, Salisbury, MD June 12, 1919, Nabb Research Center, WHSS199.

Red Men's Club

Photograph of the Red Men's Club, Salisbury, MD June 12, 1919, Nabb Research Center, WHSS343.


Fraternal order regalia, Improved Order of Red Men, Nabb Research Center, WHS2009.362.

SC2013.026 Reports of the Improved Order of Red Men (South Berwick, Maine), 1901-1906

These reports of the Improved Order of Red Men document the activities of the secret fraternity's "tribe" in South Berwick, Maine. The Improved Order of Red Men used Native American rituals, organization, and phrases with each other, which is evident in these reports. The reports primarily provide information about the names of inductees, active members, retirees, and suspended members, but also offer insight into the ways in which the organization functioned.

2013.088 Sidney and Elsie Northam papers

The papers of Sidney and Elsie Northam document their life in Snow Hill, Worcester County, Maryland from 1941-2013 with the bulk of the material dating from 1995-2005. Materials include correspondence between Sidney and Elsie from a 1958 trip to Washington State, Elsie’s daily journal entries with regard to her life as well as the weather and the Northam News, which Elsie wrote to keep friends and family informed on their activities. Also included are photographs, a family tree and print images of Snow Hill. Also included in the collection are a series of photocopies of the business correspondence, receipts and ledgers of Sidney Northam’s grandfather, James Adkins. Adkins was a blacksmith in Newark, Maryland from 1899-1917. Note: Adkins photocopies were created by Sidney Northam in the late 1990s.