Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Set design ("Daybreak on Ninaistukku") for Act I of Thunderbird
Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893-1958)
Ca. 1916
Tempera on board

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Norman Bel Geddes Database

Job 20, Thunderbird, 1914-1917, 1931

Summary: Bel Geddes spent the summer of 1913 on the Blackfoot Reservation in Montana working for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, furthering a childhood interest in Native American culture and dress. By 1915 Geddes and his first wife, Helen Belle Sneider, had written a four-act play recounting the Blackfoot tribe’s legend of a multi-colored bird that appeared during a storm as a manifestation of thunder.

Thunderbird, with music by Charles Wakefield Cadman, was planned for production at Aline Barnsdall’s Los Angeles Little Theatre but appears to have never been performed.

Hunter Code: DR 45
Hunter Guide: pages 82 and 247


(click image for description)

Box/Location Folder Description
flat file b 1 Scene Renderings --- "Daybreak on Ninaistukku."
flat file b 2 Scene Renderings --- "Mid-day in the Village."
flat file b 3 Scene Renderings --- "Interior of Iakabo's Lodge."
flat file b 4 Scene Renderings --- "Nightfall on Ninaistukku."
theater box 75 b 5 Scene Renderings --- Indian Peace Pipe.
theater box 75 c 1 Costume Rendering --- 'Wakexux'.
theater box 75 j 1a-e Correspondence --- NBG - Charles Wakefield Cadman, Aline Barnsdall, Henriette A. Plante (Mrs.Thunder Cloud), Herbert Coffeen, Mabel Monroe, Jesse Bonstelle, Paul R. Geddes, et al. 1914-1917.
theater box 76 k 1 Script.
theater box 76 k 2 Script with revisions by NBG and H.B. Sneider, annotations by Cadman and Barnsdall.
theater box 76 k 3 Manuscript of story [by Mable Monroe]. Legend by NBG.
theater box 76 k 4 Manuscript of songs by NBG and H.B. Sneider.
theater box 76 o 1 Agreements. Correspondence. Copyright receipt 1915-1917, 1931.
theater box 76 q 1 Source Material --- Clippings about Thunder Cloud.
theater box 76 t 1 Music --- Thunderbird Suite (1917) by Cadman.
theater box 76 t 2 Music --- Los Angeles Symphony program 1916-1917.
theater box 76 t 3 Music --- Reviews of L.A. performance.
theater box 76 y 1 NBG's manuscript notes for the play.
flat box 29 20.1 Painted leather shirt with fringe.
object 20.1 Feather headdress (box is 24 1/4 x 29 3/4 x 24 3/4 inches).
flat box 30 20.2 Blue wool leggings with beadwork.
flat box 31 20.3 Leather chaps with fringe.
flat box 31 20.4-5 Leather arrow quiver with arrow.
flat box 32 20.6-15 Accessories: Two arrow shafts; one velvet pouch; three loose feathers; one bundle of 6 feathers; one stick, possibly a flageolet; one horn; two jewelry pieces, one of which may be a warrior's necklace.

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