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
Contents: Personal letters to Major Powell, January 22, 1883 and April 20, 1883, urging his assistance in her Iroquoian studies. 4 pages. (2 microframes) each. Typed extracts by W. N. Fenton from Smith letters in Peabody Museum, Harvard, to Mrs A. L. Boardman, about Mrs Smith's Iroquoian field work; also extracts from obituaries of Mrs Smith (d. June 8, 1886). 6 pages.
NAA MS 440-b
Manuscript 440-b, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Recorded in Schedule of John Wesley Powell's Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages 1880 in J. N. B. Hewitt's handwriting. This contains most of the same material as Manuscript Number 373, but the orthography is different, and this vocabulary contains more words and lacks most of the grammar found at the end of Manuscript Number 373.
Recorded in Schedule of John Wesley Powell's Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages 1877 in J. N. B. Hewitt's handwriting. Last 12 pages are titled, "Grammatical Construction of the Seneca Dialect." The final page is the Lord's Prayer in Seneca with no English.
Recorded in schedule of John Wesley Powell's Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages 1880 in Hewitt's handwriting except title page. The Lord's Prayer in Oneida with a literal English translation appears on pages 228-229, and the final 9 pages are titled, "Conjugation of the Verb."