The collection consists of photographs depicting Ute and Paiute Indians, mostly informal portraits, with some individuals holding baskets, bow and arrows, and rifles. The photographs may have been made on a Powell expedition. Many of the prints are the same as those normally used to make stereographs, and the mounts appear to be pages removed from an album.
John K. Hillers (1843-1925) immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1852. He spent almost twenty years photographing American Indians and the landscape of the Indian Territories, California, the Southwest, and the Southeast, largely for the Bureau of American Ethnology and the United States Geological Survey. He began work on the Survey as a boatman on John Wesley Powell's second expedition down the Colorado River in 1871. He soon became the assistant, and then the main photographer (1872) for the expedition. From 1879 to 1900, Hillers served as the first staff photographer of Powell's Bureau of Ethnology, and in 1881 he took pictures for the United States Geological Survey.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 87-2N
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Additional photographs by John K. Hillers can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 14, Photo Lot 24, Photo Lot 28, Photo Lot 40, Photo Lot 143, Photo Lot 83-18, Photo Lot 90-1, Photo Lot 92-46, and the BAE historical negatives.
The National Anthropological Archives holds Powell's inventory of photographs made on expeditions 1871-1875 (MS 1795-c).
The National Anthropological Archives holds Hillers's diary from 1871-1872 and 1874, 1875 (MS 4410).
The National Archives and Records Administration and the New York Public Library also hold Hillers photographs of Utes and Paiutes.
The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Duke University, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at University of California at Berkeley, University of Oregon, Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley, and Southern Methodist University also hold photographs by Hillers.
Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology photograph collections, undated
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Photo lot 87-2N, John K. Hillers photographs of Ute and Paiute Indians, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
MS 819-b Comparative vocabulary of "Mohave on the Colorado river at Ft. Mohave;" "Payute of southern Nevada" (northern Paiute); Indians of Inyo and Mono Counties, Calif." (southern Paiute) and "Kauvuya" (Kawia)