Wenona's Leap, Lake Pepin, Mississippi River, 1851

Not on Viewexpand_more

This meticulous landscape is Seth Eastman's illustration for a story interpreted and then published by his second wife, Mary Henderson Eastman. In Mary’s version, young Wenona’s parents wanted her to marry Chaskè, a good hunter, but she loved another. One day, while her friends hunted porcupines along the shores of Lake Pepin along the Mississippi, they watched her jump off a cliff; this work depicts the moments before her leap. As Mary recounted in “The Maiden’s Rock; or, Wenona’s Leap”: “She was there indeed, loudly and wildly singing her dirge, an invocation to the Spirit of the Rock, calm and unconcerned in her dangerous position, while all was terror and excitement among her friends below her.”

Wenona's Leap, Lake Pepin, Mississippi River
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 13
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

Zoom in on the left to the detail you'd like to save. Click 'Save detail' and wait until the image updates. Right click the image to 'save image as' or copy link, or click the image to open in a new tab.