Abram (Abe) Cohn: Jewish Agent for Dat-So-La-Lee and Her Magnificent Indian Baskets

Abram (Abe) Cohn 

Abe Cohn with Dat-So-La-Dee Basket in Carson City, Nevada, #WS0200

Abe Cohn with a Dat-So-La-Lee Basket in Carson City, Nevada, #WS0200

Values Codes  I – E – L


Abram (Abe) Cohn was born in California, in 1859.

His parents were Harris and Lotte Cohn.


Along the way . . . 

In 1882, Abe Cohn and his family moved to Carson City, Nevada.

Harris Cohn opened a general merchandise store called The Emporium, which was managed by his son, Abe Cohn.

Abe Cohn is responsible for helping to promote Indian basketry as an American Art form.

In the 1880’s, Abe developed an interest in Indian baskets and began to sell them at The Emporium, renamed Cohn’s Emporium.

By 1895, the store only sold Indian art and curios.

Abe Cohn was the patron of Dat-So-La-Lee (also known as Louisa Keyser), the Washoe Indian basket maker whom he considered to be “the greatest weaver in the history of basketry.”  

Abe “discovered” her talents while she was working for his family as a housemaid.

Dat So La Lee

Dat So La Lee

Between 1900 and 1925, Abe Cohn’s wife, Amy Cohn, wrote articles and gave lectures publicizing Dat-So-La-Lee’s artistry.

They also cataloged every basket she made.

Dat So La Lee Big Basket

Dat So La Lee Big Basket

Abe Cohn took Dat-So-La-Lee to the Great Chicago Exposition of 1893, where her Art Baskets were a tremendous hit.

Abe Cohn built a house for Dat-So-La-Lee at the corner of Proctor and Division Street, in Carson City, where it still stands.

Dat-So-La-Lee Baskets #WS7896

Dat-So-La-Lee Baskets, #WS7896

Today, a large Dat-So-La-Lee basket is worth well over $1,000,000.

The Los Angeles Natural History Museum displays one.

The museum of the Nevada Historical Society in Reno displays over a dozen of these beautiful baskets.



Abe Cohn was a member of Carson Masonic Lodge No. 1, the Knights of Pythiasand the Fraternal Order of the Eagles.



Abe Cohn married Clarisse Amy Lewis (known as Amy), in 1891, in San Jose, California.

Amy Cohn died in 1919.

In 1920, Abe Cohn married Margaret Jones.


Abe Cohn died, in 1934, in Carson City, Nevada. 

He is buried in the Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson City.

Dat-So-La-Lee died in 1925, and is buried in the Stewart Cemetery in Carson City, Nevada.



  • “Abram Cohn of Carson City, Nevada: Patron of Dat-So-La-Lee; Nevada,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 15/4.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Abram Cohn: First Indian Art Patron of Dat-So-La-Lee,” Western States Jewish History 41/4.

Samantha Silver is curator of this Abe Cohn exhibit.