The collection consists of photographs relating to Native Americans, 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.
Collection is organized alphabetically by copyright claimant.
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 a set of the photographs from the Library of Congress to the BAE.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 59
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.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Photo Lot 59, Library of Congress Copyright Office photograph collection of Native Americans, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
This collection includes prints and copy negatives taken by Edward H. Boos in approximately 1906 throughout Montana. The cultures depicted include Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke), Salish (Flathead), and Kootenai (Kutenai) communities.
Scope and Contents:
This collection is currently unprocessed.
Prints include P04069-P04073, P12777-P12781. Copy negatives include N21582, N35215, N36870.
Arranged by catalog number.
Biographical / Historical:
Edward Boos was born in Kentucky on April 1, 1877. While he was in grade school, his family moved to Helena, Montana. He attended the University of Montana at Missoula in 1896 but did not complete a degree. In that same year, Boos began working as a freelance correspondent for several newspapers in the Missoula area. During the summer of 1897, Boos accompanied the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps on its experimental overland trip from Fort Missoula to St. Louis, Missouri to prove bicycles could replace horses for troop transport and reconnaissance. The company traversed 1,900 miles over difficult terrain and through taxing weather conditions. As they traveled, Boos wrote accounts of the expedition that were published by the Daily Missoulian, newspapers along the route, and national and international newspapers.
After the Bicycle Corps expedition, Boos continued to produce photographs for western Montana newspapers. Around 1900, he purchased his own camera, and began photographing people and landscapes in the Missoula and Flathead valleys. Boos was particularly interested in documenting life among the Kootenai, Salish and Pend'Oreille families of the Flathead Reservation. Between the spring and fall of 1905, he conducted a series of photographic portrait sessions at various sites across the reservation. According to a 1935 newspaper story, Boos developed many of these photos at night under a canvas cover so that he could share the portraits directly with his subjects.
In 1906, Boos accepted an advertising manager position with the Missoula Mercantile Company (MMC) and married Annie Hammond, cousin of MMC co-owner Andrew Hammond. While accepting this position marked the end of his newspaper contributions, Boos continued to periodically take photographs of the Missoula and Flathead Lake areas as a hobby. Boos remained with the Missoula Mercantile Company for the next thirty-one years. In September 1935, an "Indian Jubilee" celebration was held in St. Ignatius, Montana. This event was the first public exhibition and print sale of Boos' Flathead Reservation portraits. Boos died of a heart attack on September 26, 1937.
Biographical note adapted from the entry "Edward H. Boos photographs, circa 1900-1908" on Archives West, Orbis Cascade Alliance.
Gift of Annie Boos, 1937. [P12777 - P12781]
Access to NMAI Archives 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: email@example.com).
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Edward H. Boos photographs from Montana, image #, NMAI.AC.153; National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center, Smithsonian Institution.