Published on Thursday, June 15, 2017
Famous eastern Montana photographer Christian Barthelmess directs the German Singing Society of the 22nd infantry at Fort Keogh near Miles City, MT. This photograph courtesy of The Montana Historical Society was taken at a unit picnic at Fort Keogh. The beer kegs and mugs indicate that spirits were high at the time.
Barthelmess was born in Germany and came to the United States at thirteen years old. He was a skilled musician and was a member of the military bands of all the regiments he served on. Barthelmess developed a strong interest in the western frontier and began photographing his time in Eastern Montana.
His pictures are still an important part of many collections including those of the National Museum of Natural History, The Smithsonian, The Montana Historical Society and the Range Riders Museum in Miles City, MT which was established by his son. He photographed all avenues of western life and was one of the first in a movement towards open-air photography.
During excavation work at Fort Keogh on April 10, 1906 Barthelmess was buried in rubble and died. The site was only a few yards away from his prized photographic studio. After Fort Keogh was abandoned by the army in 1908, his grave was moved to the National Cemetery of the Custer Battlefield National Monument in south-eastern Montana.
Photograph courtesy of The Montana Historical Society
Categories: Life Out West, Montana Historical Society