Photographs depicting Native American baskets and portraits of Native Americans with whom C. Hart Merriam worked, as well as scenic views and images of animals and plants, mostly in California. Many of the photographs were made by Merriam himself or his daughter Zenaida Merriam Talbot. In addition, Merriam collected photographs from other researchers and photographers, including J. S. Diller, John Peabody Harrington, Henry Wetherbee Henshaw, and O. E. Meddaugh. There are also images acquired from the Boysen Studio of Yosemite and photographs of Mark Twain, John Muir, basketmaker Maggie James, and Merriam's family.
Clinton Hart Merriam (1855-1942) was a Columbia University-educated physician who worked as a naturalist, including as head of the Biological Survey for the US Department of Agriculture. He joined the Harriman Alaska Expedition as a zoologist in 1899. In 1910, he left the USDA and began to conduct research among California tribes. Financed by Mary W. Harriman and the E. H. Harriman Fund administered by the Smithsonian, he researched tribes' vocabularies, history, mythology, crafts (particularly basketmaking) until about 1936. His resarch was assisted by his daughter, Zenaida, who took photographs and painted glass slides for him. Merriam served as President of the Anthropological Society of Washington in 1920-1921.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 74-27
Additional information supplied by Marvin Shodas.
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Merriam's notes held in the National Anthropological Archives in MS 1563 and in the Smithsonian Institution Archives in SIA Acc. 12-264.
Additional photographs by Merriam held in the National Museum of American Indian Archives in the Mary Harriman Rumsey Photograph Collection and the Harriman Alaska Expedition Photograph Collection.
Correspondence from Merriam held in the National Anthropological Archives in MS 4558, the Department of Anthropology records (Manuscript and Pamphlet file), Bureau of American Ethnology records, J.C. Pilling Papers, Ales Hrdlicka Papers, and Jesse Logan Nusbaum Papers.
The Bancroft Library at University of California, Berkeley holds the C. Hart Merriam Papers, C. Hart Merriam Collection of Native American Photographs (prints corresponding to negatives in this collection), and C. Hart Merriam pictorial collection.