A 1930's photograph of a Cuna Indian Woman of Panama.
04 October 2023

This photograph was purchased from the Estate of E.S. Randolph who was an Engineer on the construction of the Panama Canal in the 1930's. The photograph was taken by Fred McKim in 1936 during a reconnaissance of upper Bayanno River in Panama. The inscription, on the back, reads: Mr. McKim is the only white man that this woman's tribe had ever seen. She resisted all pleas to pose for a picture and is unaware that this one was taken.


9.5" H X 7.5" W

Acquired from
Garage / Yard Sale
For sale
Answered within 2 days
By Delia
Oct 06, 17:18 UTC
Fair Market Value
$200 - $300 USD
Suggested Asking Price $400 USD
What does this mean?

Hi Ralph,

Thank you for contacting Mearto with your appraisal inquiry.
I've not found any previous photos taken by Frederick McKim from this venture in Panama in the 1930s, though I did find a copy of his published findings being advertised in Germany, I believe (https://www.abebooks.com/San-Blas-account-Cuna-Indians-Panama/30913695903/bd).
Though there is a great market for photos of indigenous US tribes, particularly from the 19th Century, I have found very few examples of auction of 20th Century photos and examples of Central and South American cultures. For this reason, and without more convincing evidence to warrant a higher value, I've appraised this conservatively.
Based on the photos and information provided, and subject to examination, this is:

Frederick McKim
"Unidentified Cuna Woman"
Bayano River, Panama, dated 1936
possibly gelatin silver print
9-1/2 by 7-1/2 inches
CONDITION: appears to be in generally good condition
PROVENANCE: Estate of E.S. Randolph; subsequently acquired in a yard sale
$ 200-300*
*represents a fair-market value for auction purposes; retail or asking price may vary.

Please let us know if you have additional items to appraise, or questions/concerns, and thank you again for using Mearto.
~ Delia

Ralph laughter Oct 06, 20:28 UTC

The measurements are of the photo I received. If it has been cropped, I am unable to confirm.

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