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Catalog Data

Flaherty, Robert Joseph, 1884-1951  Search this
1 Print (platinum)
13 Prints (possibly aquatint)
Arctic peoples  Search this
Eskimos  Search this
Indians of North America -- Subarctic  Search this
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
circa 1914-1922
Scope and Contents note:
Photographs relating to Eskimos that were part of a set made in connection with Robert Joseph Flaherty's documentary, Nannook of the North. They consist primarily of portraits of Eskimos, as well as images of a kayak in Hudson Bay, an Eskimo in the ice fields, and a close up image of a husky.
Biographical/Historical note:
Robert Joseph Flaherty (1884-1951) was born in Iron Mountain, Michigan, and spent his childhood traveling with his family to the mining regions in Michigan, Minnesota, and Canada. Formally educated at Upper Canada College and Michigan College of Mines, he mostly studied geology and engineering subjects. After leaving the Michigan College of Mines and marrying Frances Hubbard, Flaherty settled in Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), working as a surveyor and prospector across Canada. His father introduced him to Sir William Mackenzie, who was building a trans-Canada railroad (now the Canadian National Railway), and Mackenzie commissioned Flaherty to study the Nastapoka Islands. During this expedition (1910-1911), Flaherty developed a relationship with the Great Whale Inuit Camp. He completed three more expeditions (1911-1912, 1913-1914, and 1915-1916) for Mackenzie, during which he took numerous photographs and filmed the Inuit during his later expeditoins to Baffin Island and Belcher Islands. In 1920, Flaherty met Captain Thierry Mallet of Revillon Freres and convinced him to support a filmmaking expedition to the company's sub-arctic fur trading post, Port Harrison on Cape Dufferin. By the 1920-1921 expedition to Port Harrison (Inukjuak), Flaherty was focusing almost exclusively on film documentation, and most of his photographic work appears oriented toward the production of the film. Ultimately, Flaherty produced the first commercially successful feature length documentary film and the pioneering ethnographic film, Nannok of of the North (1922).
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 90-17
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Columbia University's Rare Book and Manuscript Library holds the Robert Joseph Flaherty papers, 1884-1970.
Material relating to Flaherty held in the Archives of American Art in the Lotte Jacobi Place printed materials and the Preservation and utilization of documentary film footage shot by Robert Flaherty of John Howard Benson : typescript, 1978.
The collection is open for research. Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Photo Lot 90-17, Robert Joseph Flaherty photographs of Eskimos, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives