Research and Scholarship at MU

March 2010 - Holy Rosary Mission - Red Cloud Indian School Digital Image Collection expanded to 1000 images. Begun in 2006, this collection documents the visual history of Red Cloud Indian School and the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in western South Dakota and Nebraska.

At Chief Red Cloud's request, Jesuits in 1888 founded the school with support from the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity. Formerly known as Holy Rosary Mission, Red Could School has since developed into a two-campus K-12 school system, which has also served as the headquarters for the Catholic Church on the 3,500 square-mile reservation. In 1977, Marquette began to receive the school's historical records as its official archival repository. However, the transfer of the bulk of the photographic images, now totalling approximately 80,000 items, did not begin until 2006.

boy scouts religious sister and students in beaded buckskin dresses

Work on the digital collection began two years later, and since then, it has grown continuously. The images provide a small but representative sampling of the entire photographic holdings. Because most of the images were acquired with limited identification, preparing them for public use has required painstaking research by Marquette archives staff. In so doing, invaluable assistance has been received from Red Cloud alumni, general researchers, and the archives staff of the Deutsche Provinz der Jesuiten Archiv (Munich), the Holy Name Province Archives of the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity (Denver), and the Midwest Jesuit Archives (St. Louis).

The images, which date from the 1860s to 2000, provide important visual documentation on the history of the school and western South Dakota. Notable topical areas include:

basketball game

Questions about the collection may be addressed to Mark G. Thiel, Archivist, Special Collections and University Archives, (414) 288-5904 or via e-mail to