This collection consists of 43 photographic prints of Native American peoples from throughout North America. Dating from 1882 to 1913, the images in this collection document a variety of Native American communities and events, including the U.S. Indian Congress which took place at the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska. Photographers include Frank A. Rinehart, Adolph F. Muhr, and Roland W. Reed, as well as a series of images by an unknown photographer who also documented American Indian life.
Scope and Contents:
The Frank A. Rinehart and Roland W. Reed photograph collection consists of 43 photographic prints of Native American peoples at the turn of the twentieth century. Dating from 1882 to 1913, the images in this collection document a variety of Native American communities and events, including the U.S. Indian Congress which took place at the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska. This exposition, also referred to as the 1898 World's Fair, was held in Omaha, Nebraska from June through October, 1898. Attending the U.S. Indian Congress at the fair were over 500 American Indian delegates representing more than 35 Native communities from throughout the United States.
In addition to the Rinehart and Muhr 1898 photographs are also a number of staged portrait images created by Roland W. Reed in the early decades of the twentieth century. Traveling throughout the U.S. West and Canada, Reed photographed Native communities ranging from Minnesota to Montana and Canada, and extending to Arizona in the Southwest U.S.
This collection also consists of 18 photographs contemporary to those of Rinehart and Reed, dating approximately 1882 – 1904. The photographer(s) of these images is unknown. Although specific communities are not identified, many images appear to portray Northern Plains and Central Plains American Indian peoples.
This collection is arranged into three series, organized by photographer, and then regionally by location or culture group. Series 1: Frank A. Rinehart photographs, Series 2: Roland W. Reed photographs, Series 3: Unknown photographer
Biographical / Historical:
Frank A. Rinehart (ca. 1862-1928) was born in Illinois, opened a photography studio in Omaha, Nebraska in 1885 or 1886, and is best known for his work as the official photographer of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in Omaha. In addition to portrait photographs of Native American delegates attending the U.S. Indian Congress of 1898, Rinehart as official exposition photographer also documented the broader exhibits and events that took place at the 1898 Omaha World's Fair.
Adolph R. Muhr (ca. 1858-1913) worked as Frank A. Rinehart's assistant at the 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, creating a photographic record of the events and attendees. While Rinehart documented many of the outdoor sham-battles, dance scenes, and other events related to the U.S. Indian Congress, Muhr was responsible for the majority of the posed delegate portraits. Muhr in later years worked with photographer Edward S. Curtis in Seattle, until Muhr's death in 1913.
Roland W. Reed (1864-1934) was born in Wisconsin, and is best known for traveling widely throughout the western United States and Canada, photographing Native American communities. Having apprenticed with photographer Daniel Dutro in 1890s Montana, Reed later ran photography studios in both Ortonville and Bemidji, Minnesota in the early 1900s. Over the next few decades he continued to document the lives and cultures of Native peoples, opening photography studios in Kalispell, Montana in 1909, and later in San Diego, California in 1915. Many of Reed's photographs are clearly staged, representing romanticized and stereotyped images of what Reed believed Native American life to be. He died in Colorado in 1934.
The NMAI Archive Center collections also include an album of 18 photographic prints of Frank A. Rinehart's U.S. Indian Congress images: U.S. Indian Congress of the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition photograph album, NMAI.AC.118.
This collection was donated by the Dakota County Historical Society, South St. Paul, MN, in 2013.
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition (1898 : Omaha, Neb.) -- Photographs Search this
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Frank A. Rinehart and Roland W. Reed photograph collection, NMAI.AC.289; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.