Antonio, Chief of the Igorrotes

Dublin Core


Antonio, Chief of the Igorrotes


Philippine Reservation, Department of Anthropology at the 1904 World's Fair


By Kimberly Sheehy 

The Igorots were among one of the largest tribes that Taft had sent to the World’s Fair. The image of Antonio, Chief of the Igorot people, displays him using a typewriter.1 The use of the typewriter disrupts the fairgoers ideology of what Filipinos should be like. The photograph showcases a Filipino man dressed in traditional clothing, while using a typewriter, which disrupts the narrative that Filipinos were uncivilized. Capturing the use of a typewriter allows for Filipinos to display contradictions that were put in place at the St. Louis World’s Fair. People from the Philippine Islands were imported to be apart of the human exposition at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. This action was under the guidance of William Howard Taft, civil governor of the Philippine Islands and future secretary of war for the United States.2 Taft’s goal was to showcase the savage-like qualities that he saw in the Filipino people; and to exploit their culture.3 The fair portrayed the Filipinos as uneducated and uncivilized, which provided an adequate platform for their mistreatment. The need for American imperialists to showcase their racial superiority was a main feature of the St. Louis World’s Fair. People from the Filipinos were subjected to imperialist mistreatment because of the way that the United States government had depicted Filipino cultures. The St. Louis World’s Fair was created to showcase the benefits of colonialism, and was done as a way to celebrate America’s expanding international powers. American imperialists wanted to demonstrate their superiority over Filipinos, to showcase their growing colonial strength, by forcing tribes to perform rituals and daily activities. 

1Antonio, Chief of the Igorrotes. Photograph by Jessie Tarbox Beals. Photograph.
2Kramer, Paul. "Making Concessions: Race and Empire Revisited at the Philippine Exposition, St. Louis, 1901-1905." Radical History Review 73, no. 74 (1999): 75-114.
3Kramer. Taft wanted to display his government authority over the Filipino people through forcing them to be apart of the human exposition at the St. Louis World’s Fair.
4LeRoy, James A. "The Philippines and the Filipinos." Political Science Quarterly 21, no. 2 (June 1906): 288-318.
5LeRoy discusses how the Filipino people were being forced to change due to America’s colonial influence


Jessie Tarbox Beals




Jessie Tarbox Beals , “Antonio, Chief of the Igorrotes,” History Corps, accessed April 20, 2018,