This collection includes photographs made by Huron H. Smith during his ethnobotanical studies among Native communities in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota between 1921 and 1924. These include photographs made among the Menominee (Menomini), Minnesota Chippewa [Mille Lacs and Leech Lake], Lake Superior Chippewa [Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin], Ho-Chunk (Winnebago), Sac and Fox (Sauk & Fox) on the Mesquakie Indian Settlement in Tama, Iowa.
Scope and Contents:
This collection includes 26 photographic prints (11 copy negatives) made by ethnobotanist Huron H. Smith during field work for the Milwaukee Public Museum in 1921-1924. Many of the photographs are portraits of Native community members wearing traditional outifts or demonstrating local plant use, such as mat making.
Six photographs are from Smith's 1921-1922 trip to the Menominee (Menomini) reservation in Wisconsin. These include portraits of John Valentine Satterlee, Smith's guide and interpreter, and the Satterlee family. There are also as well as several restricted photographs of a Menominee cemetery and of the Menomini Spirit Rock. Seven photographs are from Smith's 1923 trip to the Meskwaki (Sac and Fox (Sauk & Fox)) Reservation in Tama, Iowa. These include portraits of William Davenport, Charles Keosatok and wife Qua-tau-che, White Breast and his family, and doctor John McIntosh (Kepeosatok). There are also several restricted images of Sac and Fox (Sauk & Fox) cemeteries.
Eleven photographs are from Smith's 1923-1924 trips to the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in Wisconsin, working among the Lake Superior Chippewa, and to the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Reservations in Minnesota, working among the Minnesota Chippewa. Images made in Lac de Flambeau include portraits of Big George Skye, John White Feather (We-bu-ju-o-no-kwe) and wife Na-Wa-Que Go-Kwe, We hre-gu-o-no-kwe, Chief A-mi-kons and wife Pa-ma-ju-o-no-kwe, and Maxiwika [Ho-Chunk (Winnebago)]. Also included are scenic views of a Lac De Flambeau village and a view shot during a Lake Superior Chippewa community dance. Images made in Minnesota include portraits of John Smith, Young Duck and Ajoybenais. There is also a photograph of the balsam Wigwam used by Huron Smith in Leech Lake and a restricted image of a Minnesota Chippewa cemetery. There is also a portrait of Stockbridge Mahican woman Harriet Quinney also taken in 1923.
Some of these photographs were included as illustrations in Smith's articles "Ethnobotany of the Menominee Indians," "Ethnobotany of the Meskwaki Indians," and "Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians" in the Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee.
The copy negatives were created by the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation (NMAI's predecessor museum) during a photo conservation project in the 1960s.
Physcially arranged by catalog number. Intellectually arranged chronologically by community and then catalog number.
Biographical / Historical:
Huron Herbert Smith was born in Danville, Indiana in 1883. After receiving degrees from De Pauw and Cornell Universities he served as assistant curator of Botany at the Field Museum of Natural History from 1907 and 1917. In 1917, Smith began working at the Milwaukee Public Museum as head of the Botany Department. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Smith conducted studies on the use of plant by Native American communities in Wisconsin and surrounding states. This research was supported by then-Museum director Samuel Barrett and anthropologist Alanson Skinner. Smith's ethnobotanical studies began on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin (1921-1923), and were followed by trips to the Meskwaki (Sac and Fox (Sauk & Fox)) Reservation in Tama, Iowa (1923), the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in Vilas County, Wisconsin and the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota (1923-1924), the Potawatomi bands in Forest County, Wisconsin (1925), the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) south of Wisconsin Rapids (1928), and the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin (1929).
Smith's work came to a sudden end with his death in 1933 as the result of an automobile accident. At the time of his death, four manuscripts had been published (Smith 1923, 1928, 1932, 1933), one was in process and published in 1998 by Kindscher & Hurlburt, and field notes remained for a sixth on the Oneida.
For more information on Huron Smith see the Milwaukee Public Museum's website on their Ethnobotany collections: http://archive.mpm.edu/research-collections/botany/online-collections-research/ethnobotany.
A large collection of Huron H. Smith photographs and field notes can be found in the Milwaukee Public Museum Archives.
Gift of Charles Schoewe in 1932.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org). Several photographs have been restricted due to cultural sensitivity.