Gateway to Montana's Artistic Legacy

Exhibit Archives

The Call of the Mountains  
The Artists of Glacier National Park

June 27 to October 12, 2002

Cutbank River, by Ted Marble
Cutbank River by Ted Marble 
from book Call of the Mountains

Shadow Catchers

Turn-of-the-century box cameras were hauled on horseback by photographers as tough and hardy as any cowboy or guide. 
Roland Reed, Ted Marble, T. J. Hileman, George Grant, F. Jay Haynes, Gordon Mettler, and Malcolm McCay captured changing times and eternal landscapes.

T. J. Hileman (1882 - 1945) T. J. Hileman is known as the one photographer most closely associated with Glacier National Park. For many years he produced and sold countless photographs from his commercial shop. Not only did he capture impressive scenic images, but he documented the visits of important individuals to the area. Like Kiser, Hileman's photographs were reproduced on countless postcards and in brochures, periodicals and books. Tomar Jacob Hileman was born on November 6, 1882 in Marienville, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Effingham School of Photography in Chicago. In 1911, he moved to Kalispell, Montana and opened his own portrait studio in the Alton Pearce Building. He met Alice Georgeson, and in 1913 they were wed in Glacier Park, exchanging vows near Bridal Falls on McDonald Creek. The Kalispell Bee wrote: "the union was under decidedly romantic and unusual circumstances ... the first couple to have been married in Glacier Park." Hileman began his association with the Great Northern shortly after arriving in Montana, moving his bulky camera equipment by packhorse over scant trails. An exceptional climber, "Mountain Goat Hileman" as he was called, often perched precariously on narrow ledges to capture just the right moment on film. In 1925 Hileman signed a contract with the Great Northern for $125 a month. As its official photographer, he was required to take photos of visiting dignitaries and tour groups. Hileman retained the copyright on his scenic photographs, but his employer could purchase copies for 35 cents per print. The railroad sent him on nationwide promotional tours that included visits with publishers and newspaper editors. Since his images were distributed throughout the country, Hileman soon became quite a celebrity. Enjoying his role as "good-will ambassador," the gregarious Hileman was a guest at such events as baseball games, and automobile and horse races. In 1926, Hileman opened photo-finishing labs in Glacier Park Lodge and Many Glacier Hotel. Tourists appreciated being able to drop off film in the evening and pick up their prints the next morning. He sold $4,000 worth of prints, allowing him to build a home on Flathead Lake in 1931. This was accomplished despite the Depression and the reduction of his salary to $25 a month during the difficult economic times. Tourism dropped with the onset of World War II, and with his wife in poor health, Hileman sold his studios in Kalispell and the Park to work out of his home. In June 1943, a stroke paralyzed his entire left side and his career with the Great Northern was over, although he continued to receive $25 a month in appreciation for all his past fine work. On March 13, 1945 Tomar Hileman died at his home on Flathead Lake. In 1985, the Glacier Natural History Association purchased over one thousand of Hileman's nitrate negatives. The Association also owns 32 of Hileman's photographic albums containing more than 2000 prints. These treasures remain a lasting tribute to Glacier's most prolific photographer.

Fred H. Kiser (1878 - 1955) Fred H. Kiser is acknowledged as one of the most successful commercial photographers between the turn of the century and the First World War. Born in Grand Island, Nebraska, Kiser moved to Portland, Oregon where his parents ran the Columbia Beach Hotel and Nursery. Fred became interested in photography, and with his brother Oscar, established "Kiser Brothers, Photographers." A 1903 exhibition of his Crater Lake photographs brought Kiser his first public recognition. Kiser's stunning images, using an imaginative hand-colored-in-oil process, earned him rave reviews. Two years later he was honored as the official photographer of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exhibition in Portland, Oregon. That same year, Louis Hill became president of the Great Northern Railway and began searching for artwork to promote Glacier. Hill discovered the Kiser exhibition and immediately appreciated Kiser's striking photographs of mountain scenery. Kiser was hired as the official photographer of the Great Northern Railway, and for six years spent his summers in Glacier. Soon, his images were reproduced in brochures, books, periodicals, and as postcards. Some were released in beautiful hand-colored portfolios richly showing scenes from Glacier. After Kiser's association with the Great Northern ended, he returned to photographing Crater Lake. There, he built his studio in 1921, and became it's official photographer. With the onset of the Depression his business took a serious downturn, causing Kiser to seek seclusion in Los Angeles. He died in Newport Beach, California in March of 1955. Kiser's Glacier Park images provided early visual documentation of the Park. He hoped to inspire Americans to preserve their scenic treasures, and was optimistic that his photos would: "... forever be considered a reminder to future generations that regardless of industrial and agricultural demands, ... there must be, always, a certain number of citizens who will exert their strength, their endeavors and their influence to the conservation of God Given Beauty for the benefit of posterity."

Walter McClintock (1870 - 1949) Walter McClintock was born in 1870 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His education at the private Shadyside Academy was followed by graduation from Yale in 1891. Five years later, President Grover Cleveland selected a group of conservation-minded individuals to travel to northwestern Montana for the purpose of establishing a national policy on land preservation, and one of them was McClintock. Billy Jackson, who was one quarter Blackfeet, and Jack Monroe led the group. Afterwards, McClintock returned with Jackson to the annual Sun Dance ceremony gathering. There he met Chiefs White Calf, Running Crane, Little Plume and Little Dog - all traditional Blackfeet leaders. After the Sun Dance, he returned to Jackson's cabin in East Glacier, and stayed until autumn, often visiting his new friends at the nearby Blackfeet camps. Such experiences forever changed McClintock's life. He became so well respected that Mad Wolf ceremonially adopted him, and Chief White Calf later bestowed on him an Indian name. Their friendship was mutually beneficial -- Mad Wolf knew McClintock would help in dealing with the white man, in turn, through copious notes and photographs, he was able to document a vanishing way of life. An astute observer, McClintock put together a series of lectures on the Blackfeet, enhanced by lantern-slides of his beautiful photographs. He presented them to enthusiastic American and European audiences. In 1907, Theodore Roosevelt warmly welcomed McClintock to the East Room of the White House, where he was introduced to cabinet members, Supreme Court judges, and diplomats from around the world. The Old North Trail, or Life, Legends and Religion of the Blackfeet Indians, published in 1910, is a landmark study into the center of the Blackfeet world. Its 539 pages explored their ceremonial customs and spiritual beliefs, McClintock's adoption into the tribe, and current issues facing the Blackfeet. The Old North Trail contains dozens of photographs taken by the author, and eight full-color illustrations skillfully painted by McClintock. Other books on the Blackfeet followed. For his outstanding efforts, The United States Geological Survey named the first peak along the continental divide north of Cut Bank Pass, Mount McClintock. While his residence remained in Pittsburgh, McClintock traveled each summer during the 1930s and 1940s to Glacier National Park. During the winter months he was busy lecturing at both Yale and Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. He authored several leaflets on American anthropology, published by Southwest Museum. In addition to his extensive writings on the Blackfeet, McClintock's collection of photographs depicting Blackfeet life (now stored in the two institutions named above) is regarded as the most comprehensive records of any Indian people. In 1937, McClintock reflected: "... forty years ago, when the old generation of primitive Blackfoot Indians was still alive, I had unusual opportunity for study and observation by living in their camps. ... Always I had cameras and notebooks, and made records of everything as I went along. I was introduced into the innermost circles of the tribe and became intimately associated with their camp life ... when I first went among them, their country was still in its natural beauty and richness, before devastation by our white civilization."

Roy E. "Ted" Marble (1883 - 1938) Ted Marble grew up in Big Rapids, Michigan and first passed through Glacier country with his family on their way to Leavenworth, Washington. Captivated by the region, he knew he would someday return. Marble studied the art of photography, and in 1913 was hired by the Great Northern Railway. Marble made his home just outside the west entrance of Glacier. His first studio was a tent, but he was later given a cabin next to the Lewis Hotel at Lake McDonald to use for processing his photographs. Marble, 5' 3" and 110 pounds, carried a large format camera weighing over 30 pounds everywhere he went. The intrepid photographer trekked across precipitous mountain trails and through rough terrain in order to capture the essence of the Park. He was able to obtain a commercial permit from the U. S. Government, allowing him to: "develop and print Kodak films for tourists in Glacier National Park." For many years, Marble remained relatively unknown. This was due in part to the fact that the Great Northern Railway would not permit him to sell his own photographs in the Park, and prior to 1919, he received no credit for most of his photographs appearing in its publications. Although Marble's images appeared in Mary Roberts Reinhart's book, Through Glacier Park, he was not listed as a contributor. During World War I, Marble enlisted at Fort Wright, Spokane. He was transferred to Rochester, New York where he spent several months studying at the Eastman Kodak School. In October 1918, he was sent to France to serve in the photographic department of the Army Air Services. After his discharge the following June, Marble returned to work for the Great Northern Railway, and at last began to receive recognition for his photographs. Marble hoped to increase his visibility by opening his own studio, and in 1923 began operating out of the old First National Bank building in Whitefish, Montana. There, he sold photographs of regional landscapes and local inhabitants. Returning to West Glacier in 1932, he built a darkroom and studio next to his cabin on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. A whimsical legend evolved around one of his best-selling items -- a postcard of the infamous fur-bearing trout. This postcard was still being printed and sold by the thousands after his death. The alleged fish lived in Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park. The water in this lake "was so cold that nature has taken care of her own by providing the fish with a thick coat of fur." The hoax actually originated as a gag for a Great Northern convention. Jim Hicken, Great Northern dispatcher in Whitefish, came up with the idea and Bob Mills, publicity man for the Railroad, embellished the story. An unnamed taxidermist fit a trout with a gopher skin and Marble photographed it. It's been a Montana classic ever since. On July 22, 1938, 55 year-old Ted Marble died from heart complications caused by tuberculosis. In 1963, his estate donated 500 of his negatives to Glacier National Park. A park official praised him stating, "Ted Marble was appreciably instrumental in interpreting and documenting the beauty and splendor of the Crown of the Continent, and these priceless images serve as a pictorial cross-section of life at Glacier during his career."

Roland Reed (1864 - 1934) Roland Reed was born in Omro, Wisconsin, ten miles from the birthplace of Edward Curtis. While still a teenager, he took a job on a railroad crew in Canada where he first worked with native American people. By 1890 he was experimenting with crayon and pencil drawings of Indians and landscapes. In 1893 Reed met Daniel Dutro, a professional photographer in Havre, Montana. Reed recalled, "I knew that if I could master this seemingly easy way of making pictures, I would have no trouble getting all the Indian pictures I wanted." Roland Reed was soon furnishing the news department of the Great Northern Railway with publicity photos of Indians. He left in 1897 to photograph the Alaskan gold rush for the Associated Press. Reed returned to Montana for awhile before starting his own successful studio in Minnesota. Starting in 1910, Reed kept a studio in Kalispell, Montana where his work caught the eye of famous writer and guide James Willard Schultz. He was invited to come along with Schultz and several of his Blackfeet friends and photograph them in Glacier National Park. Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park was published in 1916 with 24 photographs by Roland Reed. His photos symbolically linked them with Glacier despite the fact that from historic times the Blackfeet preferred living and hunting on the plains instead. This association was an immediate commercial success, and pleased Louis Hill of the Great Northern Railway, who felt that romanticizing the park was good for the tourist business. The Blackfeet were encouraged to camp each summer in front of the East Glacier Lodge, and were paid to greet visitors arriving on the Great Northern. Ten years later, Reed's photos adorned the pages of Enchanted Tales of Glacier by Agnes Laut, a travelogue promoted by the Great Northern Railway -- with stories about James Willard Schultz, Charles M. Russell, and John L. Clarke. The book was quite popular, and provided Reed with more national exposure. Reed diligently critiqued every image he took and in a good year might only release twelve photographs. Nonetheless, he made a comfortable living from studio sales and publishers' royalties. Shortly before he died in 1934, Reed lamented "it was no longer possible to obtain authentic Indian pictures because their historic costumes and accouterments had been sold to the tourists." Contemporaries praised Reed's work for its composition, atmosphere, and authenticity. Although not as well-known as Curtis at the time, Reed's photographs earned numerous awards, including a gold medal for "The Pottery Maker" at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. During Reed's lifetime no comprehensive volume of his photographs was ever published. Only 180 glass negatives were passed on to his heirs, and his diaries, journals, and notes did not survive.

Norman Forsyth (1869-1949) Norman Forsyth's specialty was the stereoscopic photograph, popularized in the early twentieth century. Produced by taking two photos of the same scene from slightly different angles, the resulting stereoscopic photographs were viewed, one by each eye, giving the illusion of a single three-dimensional object. In 1896 Forsyth entered Nebraska Wesleyan University. After receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1901, he spent the next six summers in Yellowstone National Park as a stage driver and tourist guide. In his spare time he authored park bulletins and sold his own stereo views. Working as a travel agent and photographer, Forsyth spent his winter months in Butte, also arranging summer tours of Yellowstone National Park. His photos of Butte are themselves a remarkable record of its mining history during the great copper boom. His big break came in 1904 when Underwood and Underwood, manufacturers of stereoscopic views, purchased Forsyth's negatives of Yellowstone National Park. It was then that Forsyth began making trips to Glacier to photograph its people and scenery. From his studio in Butte he sold his stereoscopic photographs in sets of thirty. Most of Forsyth's Glacier photographs were taken between 1902 and 1912, and roughly 50 stereo views of the area were published. His glass negatives were later sold to C. Owen Smithers Photography. Forsyth will always be remembered for his participation in the famous Pablo buffalo roundup south of Flathead Lake that he attended with his friend, Charlie Russell. In a sad chapter of American history, the once-great herds, numbering in the tens of millions, had been wantonly slaughtered, leaving only a few hundred remaining. Michel Pablo had tried in vain to sell his herd to the United States government. In 1907, he struck a deal with Canadian officials to buy his 700 animals for $200,000. Charlie Russell and Norman Forsyth did not want to miss this momentous event, undoubtedly their last chance to see a large herd of buffalo in America. The resulting stereo views that Forsyth took are highly prized today as a lasting record of this unique episode. During the roundup, Forsyth was almost killed by a charging group of buffalo. Charlie Russell later commemorated his ordeal in a painting called A Close Call. At age 61 Forsyth moved to Dillon, Montana. His last photos, including ten spectacular views of Glacier National Park, were published in 1947. That same year he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Never married, Forsyth passed away at a rest home in Dillon on December 15, 1949.

Hockaday Museum of Art
302 Second Ave. East, Kalispell, Montana, 59901

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