Eagle of Delight

Hayne Hudjihini (Eagle of Delight)
wife of Oto chief Shaumonekusse

This hand-colored lithograph appeared in an important publication, History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Hayne Hudjihini was one of only eight women whose portraits appeared in this book; by contrast there were 111 men's portraits in it. In the early nineteenth century, when Indians made official visits to Washington, D.C., a government official commissioned their portraits. Men were considered the leaders of the Indian tribes, and thus their likenesses were commemorated in paintings and in the subsequent three-volume book. The loveliness of Hayne Hudjihini, who accompanied her husband, the Oto chief Shaumonekusse, singled her out for inclusion. (From: Charles Bird King, Women in Art)
King's own copy of this portrait was given to the White House in 1962, and hangs in the White House Library.

Hayne Hudjihini or Eagle of Delight
"She was young, tall, and finely formed, her face...was the most beatiful we had met with. Her hair was parted across her forehead, and hung down upon her shoulders. A small jacket of blue cloth was fastened round her shoulder and breast, and a mantle of the same was wrapped around her body."

This was the way an Indian commissioner recalled the Eagle of Delight after he had met her in the 1830s. A decade before, she had accompanied her husband Shaumonekusse, an Oto chief, to Washington where she had captivated McKinney, the President, his cabinet, and just about everyone she met. She was poised and charming, but she was not the sole love of her warrior chief.

The Eagle of Delight was only one of five wives and their husband was getting on in years when the commissioner met him. That day the women were all "pounding corn, or chattering over the news of the day." The old chief, while eating, "took the opportunity to disburthen his heart" to the commissioner.

As he moaned, five women were just too much, even the Eagle of Delight. Their "caprices, and the difficulties which he found in maintaining a proper discipline [made it impossible for him] where there were so many mistresses and but one mister." Unfortunately, no one ever obtained the Eagle of Delight's version of married life to an old man in a tepee with four other women.

McKenney called her "young, and remarkably handsome...." She died of measles after her return to the west.

The portrait is part of Thomas McKenney & James Hall History of the Indian Tribes of North America., Philadelphia: 1837-1844. It can be seen on the McKenney & Hall Oto - Folio Plates page - Click on image above. There is another version of the same portrait on the Octavo Plates page. Under the patronage of Thomas L. McKenney, Commissioner of Indian Trade, artist Charles Bird King produced 143 portraits of Indian dignitaries, visiting Washington, DC, over a 20-year period. See Choncape (an Oto Chief) for the full story of the McKenney-Hall efforts.

And you can purchase a Hayne-Hudjihini poster for $28.50 at Barewalls Art Prints! We are not selling or promoting this product - just thought it was an interesting detail discovered while researching this beautiful woman from our past.

NOTE: This portrait was identified, on this site, as Eagle og Delight, for many years. Obviously this was a typographical error that occurred sometime/somewhere in the past. The Philadelphia Print Shop site featuring the McKenney-Hall images was recently discovered while updating these pages.

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Compiled by: Glenn Welker

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