Photographs made by Ellsworth Price Bertholf in Siberia. Most document his trip by sledge from Irkutsk to Yakutsk, Okhotsk, and Ola. Subjects include sleds and other means of transportation, towns, reindeer herds, and people that Bertholf encountered along the way including Cossacks, Russians, Tunguses, Yakuts, and Chukchi at Anadyr.
Also included in the collection is a photograph of Chuckchi that may not relate to Bertholfʹs trip. Instead, it may concern the work of Sheldon Jackson, who used Bertholf's photographs in his 1901 report on the introduction of domestic reindeer into Alaska. There is also a photograph made in Osaka, Japan, that depicts a man making sand pictures, as well as a letter from Romyn Hitchcock, dated September 28, 1894, that describes the image.
Ellsworth Price Bertholf (1866-1921) was Captain-Commandant of the United States Revenue Cutter Service. Influential in the creation of the United States Coast Guard, Bertholf worked primarily in and around the Alaskan coast. He began his career as a shipʹs officer with the United States Revenue Cutter Service, graduating from the service's school in 1887. After two years, he received commission as a third lieutenant and became the first Revenue Cutter Service officer to attend the Naval War College.
After years of service on ships stationed near Alaska, Bertholf joined the Alaska Overland Expedition in 1897. Between January and July 1901, Bertholf traveled across northern Siberia at the request of Sheldon Jackson and the Bureau of Education in Alaska. Under orders from the Bureau, he purchased and delivered herds of reindeer from Ola to the Alaskan Inuit people for their use. During a second expedition, Bertholf bought reindeer from the Tunguse people of the Okhotsk Sea region and again transported them to the Inuit people. In 1902, Bertholf was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his heroic relief efforts during the Overland Relief Expedition, in which he helped rescue 275 trapped whalers near Nelson Island.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 130
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Microfilm of photographs made by Sheldon Jackson in relation to the reindeer program are held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot R81-13. The originals are in the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.