Book Reviews: Howling Wolf and the History of Ledger Art

Article excerpt

Joyce M. Szabo, Howling Wolf and the History of Ledger Art, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994, 270 pp., $50.00)

Reviewed by Basil S. Yamey The London School of Economics and Political Science

At the right, an Indian warrior has arrived. He has dismounted from his horse and has a pistol in his hand. At the left, he is seen attacking a person lying on a bed.

What has this to do with accounting or accounting history? The only link, and a tenuous one it is, is that what I have described is the subject matter of a painting made on a page of an account book, the ruled lines in this example helping to unify the two successive scenes. The painting was the production of a Southern Cheyenne artist called Howling Wolf, and was made around the middle or the nineteenth century. It is shown as one of 32 color plates in Professor Szabo's delightfully illustrated book, which also contains 77 black-and-white reproductions.

Professor Szabo explains how it came about that in the nineteenth century artistically inclined Plains Indians began to paint or draw on the pages of account books. They also used other available sheets of paper, such as those of ruled exercise books. …