Elizabeth Conrad Hickox
Karuk Territory, California
|Died||July 19, 1947|
|Known for||Native American basketry|
|Spouse(s)||Frank Merrill, Luther Hickox|
Elizabeth Conrad Hickox (1872/5–July 19, 1947) was a Wiyot master basket weaver and was considered one of the finest basket-weavers of her time. Her baskets differ from other Lower Klamath baskets through her own unique use of shape, technique, color scheme and design.
Elizbeth Conrad Hickox's birth year has been given as 1872 and 1875. Hickox's mother was Wiyot and her father, European-American. It was reported that Hickox's mother, Polly, had been abducted by her later husband, Charles Conrad. When Elizabeth was in her teens, she married Frank Merrill (Karuk), and they had two children together, Jessie and Bruce. She later married Luther Hickox in 1895. Luther Hickox owned a gold mine, was a part owner of a sawmill and later became a justice of the peace. The couple enjoyed a high social status among the Karuk people, as well as financial security.
Hickox used various materials to weave her baskets including grape root twining, white bear grass (Xerophyllum tenax), dyed Woodwardia fern, black maidenhair fern and dyed porcupine quills. She tended to use the fern Adiantum aleuticum, a dark material in contrast to the porcupine quills dyed yellow with Letharia vulpina. The choice to mostly use dark materials contrasted with the yellow was her own choice, and not subject to marketplace demands. Between 1911 and 1934, she made about five baskets a year.
Hickox and her daughter, Louise, weaved and sold their baskets to Grace Nicholson, who continued to buy their work even during the Great Depression. Though Hickox was Wiyot, Nicholson marketed her baskets as "Karuk" because they lived in the Karuk area. Before Hickox met Nicholson, she had already chosen to create fine-art baskets. After Nicholson stopped purchasing baskets in 1934, Hickox continued to weave "for pleasure, utility and gift-giving."
In 2020, the art of Hickox was exhibited in the exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Hickox died on July 19, 1947.
Elizabeth Hickox's baskets can be found in numerous public collections, including the following:
- Autry Museum of the American West (Southwest Museum of Los Angeles)
- Denver Art Museum
- Field Museum of Natural History
- National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art,
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.
- Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University
- University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
- "Elizabeth Hickox lidded baskets - Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian - George Gustav Heye Center, New York". nmai.si.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-04.
- Marvin Cohodas (1999). Phillips, Ruth B. (ed.). Unpacking culture : art and commodity in colonial and postcolonial worlds. University of California Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-520-20797-1.
- Delia Sullivan, Heritage Capital Corporation, 2009, Heritage Auctions American Indian Art Auction Catalog #6029, Dallas, TX, Retrieved August 25, 2016, see page 42
- Cohodas 1999, p. 150.
- Cohodas 1997, p. 83.
- Cohodas 1997, p. 89.
- Cohodas, Marvin (2009). Heritage Auctions American Indian Art Auction Catalog #6029, Dallas, TX. Heritage Auction Galleries. p. 42. ISBN 9781599673875.
- Rentz, Erin. "Elizabeth Hickox (Wiyot/Karuk, 1875–1947), lidded baskets". Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian. Smithsonian. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Cohodas 1999, p. 157.
- Marks, Ben (1 July 2014). "How Railroad Tourism Created the Craze for Traditional Native American Baskets". Collectors Weekly. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Cohodas 1999, p. 158.
- Cohodas 1997, p. 110.
- "Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists | Smithsonian American Art Museum". americanart.si.edu. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
- Cohodas 1997, p. 111.
- Cohodas 1999, p. 152.
- "LRMA Collection and Programs". Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Cohodas 1999, p. 153.
- "Two Women: The Native Basket Weaver and the 'Curio' Dealer". Inside the Peabody Museum: March 2012. Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University. 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- Cohodas, Marvin (1997). Basket Weavers for the California Curio Trade: Elizabeth and Louise Hickox. The University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0816515182.
- Cohodas, Marvin (1999). "Elizabeth Hickox and Karuk Basketry". In Phillips, Ruth B.; Steiner, Christopher B. (eds.). Unpacking Culture: Art and Commodity in Colonial and Postcolonial Worlds. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520207974.
- Yohe, Jill; Greeves, Teri (2019). Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists. University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0295745794.
- Elizabeth Hickox Treasure Basket (video)