The collection consists of photographs relating to American Indians, which were submitted to the copyright office of the Library of Congress in and around the early 20th century. Many of the photographs are studio portraits as well as photographs made as part of expeditions and railroad surveys. It includes images of people, dwellings and other structures, agriculture, arts and crafts, burials, ceremonies and dances, games, food preparation, transportation, and scenic views. Some of the photographs were posed to illustrate literary works, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Hiawatha, while others depict paintings or other artwork.
The collection was formed from submissions made to the Library of Congress as part of the copyright registration process. In 1949, arrangements were made to allow the Bureau of American Ethnology to copy the collection and some negatives were made at that time, largely from the Heyn and Matzen photographs. The project was soon abandoned, however, as too large an undertaking for the facilities of the BAE. In 1957-1958, arrangements were begun by William C. Sturtevant of the BAE to transfer all of the photographs from the Library to the BAE.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 59
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Library of Congress Copyright Office photograph collection of American Indians, 1860s-1930s (bulk 1890s-1920s)
In 1965, the Bureau merged with the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology to form the Smithsonian Office of Anthropology, and in 1968 the Office of Anthropology Archives transformed into the National Anthropological Archives.
Photographs and drawings mostly relating to archeological subjects, collected and arranged by Jesse Walter Fewkes for his reference. Subjects include burial mounds, excavations, drawn maps, as well as urns, implements, idols, pottery, and other artifacts found in excavations, and Hopi, Zuni, and Piegan ceremonies and dances. Many of the photographs and drawings were probably made by Fewkes. Publication information is noted on some. The collection also includes newspaper clippings and correspondence.
Photographs were taken in Alabama, Arizona (including Casa Grande, Elden Pueblo, Navajo National Monument, and Wupatki National Monument), Colorado (including Mesa Verde and Montezuma Valley), Florida (including Weeden Island), Illinois (Cahokia Mound), Louisiana, Maryland, Mexico (including La Huasteca Region), Mississippi Valley, New Mexico (including Chaco Canyon, Hawikuh, and Mimbres Valley), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah (including Hill Canyon, McElmo Canyon, and McLean Basin Ruins), Hovenweep National Monument, the West Indies (including Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and Cuba), and West Virginia.
Jesse Walter Fewkes (1850-1930) was a naturalist, anthropologist, and archeologist, and chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology from 1918 to his death in 1928. Fewkes received a Ph.D. in marine zoology from Harvard in 1877, and acted as curator of lower invertebrates at the Museum of Comparative Zoology until 1887. While on a collecting trip in the western United States, he developed an interest in the culture and history of the Pueblo Indians. In 1891, Fewkes became director of the Hemenway Southwestern Archeological Expedition and editor of the Journal of American Archeology and Ethnology, studying and recording Hopi ceremonials. In 1895, he embarked on various archeological explorations for the Bureau of American Ethnology, excavating ruins in the Southwest, the West Indies, and Florida. He was appointed chief of the Bureau in 1918, and played an important role in the creation of Hovenweep National Monument in Colorado and Wupatki National Monument in Arizona.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 4321
Location of Other Archival Materials:
The National Anthropological Archives also holds the Jesse Walter Fewkes Papers (MS 4408), his photographs of excavations in Mesa Verde (Photo Lot 30), his negatives (Photo Lot 86), and other manuscript collections by and related to Fewkes' ethnological research and archeology and his work with the Bureau of American Ethnology.
Correspondence from Fewkes held in the National Anthropological Archives in the George L. Beam papers (MS 4517), the Henry Bascom Collins, Jr. papers, the Anthropological Society of Washington records (MS 4821), the Herbert William Krieger papers, the J.C. Pilling papers, the Walter Hough Papers (in the records of the Department of Anthropology), and the records of the Bureau of American Ethnology.
The Department of Anthropology collections holds several accessions of artifacts collected by Fewkes, including USNM ACC 048761 (relating to Casa Grande excavations) and USNM ACC 050765 (relating to Mesa Verde excavations).
Numbered manuscripts 1850s-1980s (some earlier)
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Jesse Walter Fewkes photograph collection related to archeology circa 1890-1928
Original nitrate negatives are in cold storage and require advanced notice for viewing.