Cherokee Nation celebrates life, photography of Jennie Ross Cobb

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/15/2020 11:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Cherokee National History Museum is celebrating the life and photography of Cherokee Nation citizen Jennie Ross Cobb in an exhibit that opened Oct. 13. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
“Through the Lens: The Photographic Legacy of Jennie Ross Cobb” is open to the public at the Cherokee National History Museum. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee National History Museum is celebrating the life and photography of Cherokee Nation citizen Jennie Ross Cobb in an exhibit that opened Oct. 13.

Cobb was the great-granddaughter of Principal Chief John Ross and took up photography while she was a student at the Cherokee National Female Seminary in Tahlequah.

“Through the Lens: The Photographic Legacy of Jennie Ross Cobb” is open to the public at the Cherokee National History Museum.

The exhibit showcases Cobb’s work from 1896 to 1906 and reveals a glimpse of life in Indian Territory in the decade before Oklahoma statehood.

“At a time when photography as a hobby was just being introduced, Jennie Ross Cobb captured unique moments that are refreshingly relatable for their time,” Krystan Moser, CN cultural collections and exhibits manager, said. “Her candid photos showcase what life was like for affluent Cherokees in the late 19th century, including young people eating watermelon on a hot summer day, female seminary students laughing at a joke we will never hear, and a young boy beaming with pride as he carries a dead turkey, presumably to be served for his family’s dinner.”

Among Cobb’s photographs are those of Hunter’s Home, the only surviving antebellum plantation in Oklahoma, from the years her family lived there. She later served as the first curator of Hunter’s Home after it was purchased by the state for preservation, and her photos played a vital role in the home’s restoration and eventual use as a living history museum.

The Cherokee National History Museum is located the former Cherokee National Capitol building. It housed the tribe’s executive, legislative and judicial offices until 1906 and was most recently home to the CN District and Supreme courts until 2018. 

The museum opened in 2019 and shares the CN history and culture within 4,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space that features Cherokee lifestyle from pre-European contact through the Trail of Tears and the revitalization of the tribe after the American Civil War. It is located at 101 S. Muskogee Ave.

CN museums are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, including museum operations, call 1-877-779-6977 or visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.

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