Now available: “A Very Correct Idea of Our School”: A Photographic History of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School

Belated announcement: my latest book is now available for purchase on Amazon (price: $18). You should buy it and read it. And then then buy more copies and give them away. Not because it will make me rich (which it will not), but because the history of the Carlisle Indian School should be better known.

Here’s the official blurb:

From its beginning, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (1879-1918) was documented in photographs. The photographic record of the school was used to share with the wider world the progress and perceived successes of its process of assimilating Native American children and young adults, transforming them into “civilized” members of mainstream white American society. In their time, the images served their intended purposes: to promote the school, to create a brand, to aid in fundraising, and to capture a narrow perspective on student life. Today’s viewers look at these photographs with different eyes, possessing greater knowledge and understanding of what Carlisle really represents to different audiences. The Carlisle Indian School: A Photographic History traces the history of the school through these images, exploring how photography can inform a basic understanding of what Carlisle meant to the culture of its time, and give an indication of the legacy it left for its students and their descendants, and for American culture today. Drawing on the latest scholarship and rich in images, this volume is a visually powerful introduction to the complex history of the first federally-managed off-reservation boarding school for Native Americans in the United States.

This book was a labor of love for me, and I’m proud of it. Although I chose to self-publish through Amazon’s service, it’s been reviewed and vetted by many experts on the school’s history, so I’d say it’s as good as you’d get from a scholarly press and at a much lower price. (Although the formatting of the notes and the copyediting is another matter.)

And, although I’m proud of it, I am very much aware that it’s not perfect. New information is continually coming to light because of the fine work of the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center, and although it’s been reviewed by many knowledgeable people, I’m sure there are aspects that could be improved. That’s another advantage of self-publishing–I can easily make updates when needed. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, please send them to me at




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