Sakakawea, by Bruno Zimm

Sakakawea by Zimm"Sakakawea," by Bruno Louis Zimm

Created for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition,
St. Louis World's Fair, 1904

Bruno Zimm (1876-1943) was a sculptor and an architect who worked in the neoclassical style that was popular at the end of the 19th century. He studied under Augustus Saint Gaudens (1848-1907), the most prominent American sculptor of the late 19th century. So far as is known, this statue, which was cast of a material called staff–a mixture of plaster and fiber over a wooden frame–is no longer in existence.

The handsome young Shoshone girl carries little Jean Baptiste not on a cradleboard but in the Hidatsa Indian manner, wrapped in a buffalo robe, facing forward over her mother's shoulder. The Hidatsas–Lewis and Clark knew them as Minitaris–were farmers as well as hunters, and their women were responsible for raising corn, beans, and so forth. Babies were carried this way so the sun wouldn't be in the infants' eyes when their mothers bent over to pull weeds or harvest vegetables.

This photograph, taken by the artist, was printed as the frontispiece to John C. Luttig's Journal of a Fur-Trading Expedition on the Upper Missouri 1812-1813, edited by Stella M. Drumm (St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society, 1920).