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
Photographs of various subjects, including portraits of Native Americans made from negatives by the Bureau of American Ethnology and United States National Museum. Depicted individuals include Lamar Richards (also known as Ostin, Tonkawa) and Grant Richards (also known as Sentele, Tonkawa); Turning Hawk, Crow Dog, Spot Tail, Red Leaf, and White Thunder. There are also images of Shuswap people dressing hides; Smohalla and Sokulk followers at Priests Rapids, Washington; and Native Americans around a campfire at Fort Marion, Florida.
Additionally, there are photographs of St. Columba's Church, White Earth Reservation, Minnesota; Otoe Industrial School; a chapel at the Cheyenne Mowerʹs place, with Mower's son; a sketch of Fort Cummings, New Mexico; buildings and a mound at Charleston, West Virginia; the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City; an American Indian camp with hides drying; Native Americans dragging brush in preparation of a medicine lodge; and a wood engraving of a Dakota Ghost Dance, taken from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper.
Photographers include William Dinwiddie; De Lancey W. Gill; Sumner W. Matteson; Thomas William Smillie; Cross, of Hot Springs, South Dakota; and C. C. McBride.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 66F
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Additional photographs by Dinwiddie can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 14, Photo Lot 60, Photo Lot 78, Photo Lot 89, Photo Lot 141A, Photo Lot 144, Photo Lot 80-18, the BAE historical negatives, and the Herbert William Krieger Papers.
Additional Gill photographs held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 14, Photo Lot 33, Photo Lot 65, Photo Lot 70, Photo Lot 85, Photo Lot 79-4, Photo Lot 87-2P, and Photo Lot 90-1.
The National Museum of the American Indian Archives holds the Sumner W. Matteson collection of photographs, negatives and lantern slides.
Additional Smillie photographs held in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 60, Photo Lot 79, and the BAE historical negatives. The Archives Center, National Museum of American History also holds the Frances Benjamin Johnston and Thomas W. Smillie Glass Plate Negatives.