In his 1978 biography of Grace Carpenter Hudson, Searles R. Boynton refers to the artist as "the best in California," praising her life-long dedication to depicting the Pomo children of Northern California. During her lifetime (1865-1937), Hudson's work traveled to museums, world fairs, and expositions across the United States. The purpose of this research is to assert that Hudson's work is evidence of, and a response to, turn-of-the-twentieth-century Euro-Americans' hopes that the American Indian child could be "redeemed," or "saved," from their "savage" or "undomesticated" past. Additionally, this paper aims to convince the reader of the significance of Hudson’s art as it marks an implicant, although paramount, shift in the history of representation of the American Indian child. To accomplish these tasks, it will be necessary to investigate artwork featuring the American Indian child produced before and after Hudson, the artist’s early influences, along with the artist's own work and words. Based on these sources, this thesis attempts to identify how viewers can understand the popularity of Hudson's work as a point of transference that existed between representation and reality during a period of the simultaneous rejection and resurrection of the American Indian. Through a process of perpetuating ideologies, the manipulation of the studio, subject, and space, and modernist influences regarding Indigenous peoples, the work that Hudson produced is emblematic of a time in which the larger American public was more interested in the proliferation of Euro-centric ideals than the preservation of American Indian life and culture.



College and Department

Humanities; Comparative Arts and Letters



Date Submitted


Document Type





American Indian, American Indian Children, Pomo, Pomo Tribe, California American Indian, Grace Carpenter Hudson, American Art, American Indian Imagery, Post- Colonialism