The Frost Trade Bead Collection
In 1848, Stephen Allen Frost, a 28-year old
merchant, set out from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with pack horses
and perhaps a small wagon to peddle beads and broadcloth among the
Plains Indians as an itinerant merchants. This enterprise lasted
longer than that of other traders because of his business acumen
and that of his son, Dan, and their personal longevity.
Stephen A. Frost & Company beads
were made in Venice, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The collection of
71 bead sample cards and beaded Native American objects were
donated to the Illinois State Museum in 1941.
The ISM is has created an online photo gallery of this
The narrative accompanying the digitized collection
features short biographies of Stephen Frost and his son, a
description of the bead trade with Native Americans, and
descriptive captions of eleven beaded objects.
a reading list and Web sites on beading and Native Americans.
Activities for students and
teacher lesson plans are hands-on crafts of millefiori
bead-making with polymer clay, loom beading with seed
beads, and sewn seed beads on cloth.
This narrative and gallery expand the already rich
Illinois-specific Native American Web modules of the Museum