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Frank Fiske, Noted Frontier Photographer

6/10/2006:

Tomorrow, noted frontier photographer Frank Fiske was born in southern Dakota Territory in 1883.

In late 1883, his family moved to a ranch north of Pierre. George and Louise (Otter) Fiske gave up ranching in 1888, and he worked as a wagon master at Fort Yates. From 1890 to 1900, Frank attended school at the fort with the Indian children.

When his parents moved to Fort Rice, Fiske stayed at Fort Yates and opened a photography business at age 17. He developed an appreciation for the Sioux culture and became proficient at photographing them. He published The Taming of the Sioux in 1917 and Life and Death of Sitting Bull in 1933.

After military service, Fiske married Angela Cournoyer on his birthday in 1918. Back at Fort Yates, he continued his photography and served as Sioux County auditor and county treasurer. Fiske also operated a studio in Bismarck and worked at the Butler Studio there. He was the last in a significant line of photographers attached to the Missouri River military posts.

Fiske died on July 18, 1952, in Bismarck. His collection of more than 3,600 images was acquired from the Fiske family after his death.

by Cathy A. Langemo