The Laughing Waters Three Miles Below the Falls of St. Anthony, 1849-1855

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This view of Minnehaha Falls illustrated the poem “The Laughing Waters” by Seth Eastman’s second wife, Mary Henderson Eastman. In a picturesque touch, a windblown hunter juts over the water. There was a market for sentimental verse and romantic adventure in the mid-19th century -- think Longfellow’s 1855 tale of star-crossed lovers Hiawatha and Minnehaha by the shores of Gitche Gumee. Mary capitalized on the seeming exoticism of Native life, having collected Dakota stories “during her sojourn in the wilderness,” as one critic put it. This picture was reproduced along with Mary’s writings in an 1852 book called "The Iris: An Illuminated Souvenir."

The Laughing Waters Three Miles Below the Falls of St. Anthony
Artist Life
Accession Number
James J. Hill (St. Paul, 1838-1916); his estate; James Jerome Hill Reference Library St. Paul (by 1921-1994; sold October, to MacMillan); W. Duncan MacMillan, Wayzata (1994-d. 2006); the W. Duncan and Nivin MacMillan Foundation (2006-2014; given to MIA)
Catalogue Raisonne
Seth Eastman: A Portfolio of North American Indians 9
Curator Approved

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