Carlisle Indian School Students

This data collection helps to identify students who attended the Carlisle Indian School from 1879 to 1918. Data were collected from periodical publications in the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (CIIS) archive, such as The School News, The Red Man, The Indian Craftsman, and The Morning Star. Many of these publications are now available online in the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center.

History of the Project:

During her time as Professor of Native North American History at Gettysburg College (1985-2002), Dr. Amelia Trevelyan supervised many service learning trips to American reservations. After realizing the location of Gettysburg College, their native hosts often asked for help learning about their relatives who attended the nearby Carlisle Indian School during its 40-year existence. A plethora of personal information was available in the school publications in the archive, but none was accessible in published format or, later, online. As the publications weren’t indexed, it was difficult for relatives and other researchers to find detail about an individual student without spending considerable time in the archive.

Prof. Trevelyan and her students began creating this database as a service project to help relatives of Carlisle Indian School students discover more about their own family histories. College students systematically read the school publications in the archive. For each CIIS student mentioned, they recorded the name, the context in which it appeared, the periodical title, date, and page number. They also recorded references to specific tribes and important tribal leaders.

Each semester, Prof. Trevelyan’s students discussed the data they found. These primary sources were invaluable in helping them understand 19th century racism, government policy, and the sensibilities of native children. Each semester, they added their data to what had been collected before.

Now, at the end of Prof. Trevelyan’s career, the result is a rich dataset of 12,000 entries, easily searchable thanks to its digital nature. These data are available thanks to the diligent work of students in the Arts of Native North America courses and volunteers from Gettysburg College, Principia College, and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, as well as Prof. Trevelyan for facilitating their collection, collation, and distribution.

A Note about the Data:

The spreadsheet contains about 12,000 rows/records. Some Carlisle Indian School students are mentioned many times (Jim Thorpe, for example), while others may never appear in the publications of the school.

Because the data was collected by many college students over many years, the quality and accuracy may vary. Student names often vary in spelling (which may originate from spelling variations in the publications), nicknames are sometimes used, and periodical titles are sometimes recorded in various forms.




Carlisle Indian School Students Database, Amelia Trevelyan