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.
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 all of the photographs from the Library to the BAE.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 59
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Library of Congress Copyright Office photograph collection of American Indians, 1860s-1930s (bulk 1890s-1920s)
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 American Indians, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Photographs relating to American Indian or frontier themes, including portraits, expedition photographs, landscapes, and other images of dwellings, transportation, totem poles, ceremonies, infants and children in cradleboards, camps and towns, hunting and fishing, wild west shows, food preparation, funeral customs, the US Army and army posts, cliff dwellings, and grave mounds and excavations. The collection also includes images of prisoners at Fort Marion in 1875, Sioux Indians involved in the Great Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, the Fort Laramie Peace Commission of 1868, Sitting Bull and his followers after the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890.
There are studio portraits of well-known Indians, including American Horse, Big Bow, Four Bears, Iron Bull, Ouray, Red Cloud, Red Dog, Red Shirt, Sitting Bull, Spotted Tail, Three Bears, and Two Guns White Calf. Depicted delegations include a Sauk and Fox meeting in Washington, DC, with Lewis V. Bogy and Charles E. Mix in 1867; Kiowas and Cheyennes at the White House in 1863; and Dakotas and Crows who visited President Warren G. Harding in 1921. Images of schools show Worcester Academy in Vinita, Oklahoma; Chilocco Indian School; Carlisle Indian Industrial School; Haskell Instittue, and Albuquerque Indian School.
Some photographs relate to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876; World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893; Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, 1903; and Centennial Exposition of the Baltimore and Ohio Railraod, 1876. Expedition photographs show the Crook expedition of 1876, the Sanderson expedition to the Custer Battlefield in 1877, the Wheeler Survey of the 1870s, Powell's surveys of the Rocky Mountain region during the 1860s and 1870s, and the Hayden Surveys.
Outstanding single views include the party of Zuni Indians led to the sea by Frank Hamilton Cushing; Episcopal Church Rectory and School Building, Yankton Agency; Matilda Coxe Stevenson and a companion taking a photographs of a Zuni ceremony; John Moran sketching at Acoma; Ben H. Gurnsey's studio with Indian patrons; Quapaw Mission; baptism of a group of Paiutes at Coeur d'Alene Mission; court-martial commission involved in the trial of Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds, 1877; President Harding at Sitka, Alaska; Walter Hough at Hopi in 1902; and Mrs. Jesse Walter Fewkes at Hopi in 1897.
George V. Allen was an attorney in Lawrence, Kansas and an early member of the National Stereoscope Association. Between the 1950s and 1980s, Allen collected an extensive collection of photographs of the American West, mostly in stereographs, but also including cartes-de-visite and other styles of mounted prints, photogravures, lantern slides, autochromes, and glass negatives.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 90-1
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George V. Allen photograph collection of American Indians and the American frontier, circa 1860-1935
The Mary Harriman Rumsey collection largely consists of photographic prints and lantern slides documenting the Harriman Expedition to Alaska in summer 1899. These depict members of the expedition and Alaskan scenery and people. The collection also includes scenic photographs of Alaska taken by Dora Keen in 1914 and photographs of Blackfeet, Hopi, Apache, and Suquamish Indians made by Edward Curtis in 1900 and 1903.
Scope and Contents:
The bulk of the collection comprises photographic prints, lantern slides, and one map documenting the Harriman Alaska Expedition from May to July of 1899. These photographs were made by members of the expedition, most prominently its official photographer Edward S. Curtis, funder Edward Henry Harriman, and lead scientist C. Hart Merriam. They depict Alaskan scenery, members of the expedition, and Native people and settlements that they encountered. Mary Harriman Rumsey's collection also includes later platinum prints of American Indians made and signed by Curtis (1900, 1903), photographs of glaciers in Alaska by Dora Keen (1914), a photograph of a painting by Charles Schreyvogel (1903), and a photograph of White Pass by Arthur Clarence Pillsbury (1898).
The collection is arranged in three series: photographs relating to the Harriman Expedition; photographs of Alaska that were not made on the Harriman Expedition; and other photographs relating to American Indians. The Harriman series is arranged in a rough chronological order.
Biographical / Historical:
Mary Harriman Rumsey (1881-1934) was an important American philanthropist and the oldest child of railroad tycoon Edward Henry Harriman. In 1901, while studying at Barnard College, she co-founded the Junior League for the Promotion of Settlement Movements (later named the Junior League of the City of New York), which facilitated charitable work by privileged women among New York's impoverished groups. Rumsey's efforts lead to the establishment of the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. in 1921. Additionally, Rumsey co-founded Today magazine with her brother Averell Harriman and others, and in 1933 she chaired the Consumer Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration.
In 1899, Mary Harriman was among the Harriman family members who accompanied the Harriman Alaska Expedition. Originally planned as a bear-hunting trip for the family, the expedition, was funded by Edward Henry Harriman and organized with the help of ethnographer and naturalist Clinton Hart Merriam. The party of accomplished scientists, naturalists, photographers, artists, and writers cruised from British Columbia to Siberia and back on a private ship, the SS George W. Elder, in June and July of 1899. The scientists' findings were published in the thirteen-volume Harriman Alaska Series, and Harriman also paid the expedition's official photographer, Edward S. Curtis, to compile souvenir albums from the over 5,000 photographs made during the course of the expedition.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives, University of Washington Special Collections, and Library of Congress have photo albums relating to the Harriman Alaska Expedition. The SI Archives also holds the Harriman Alaska Expedition Collection and photogravure plates from the Harriman Alaska Series.
NMAI holds photogravure plates and proofs made from Edward Curtis's later photographs and Frederick Dellenbaugh's expedition notes in the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation records. The National Anthropological Archives also holds Curtis photographs and papers.
The following materials were also part of Mary Harriman Rumsey's estate, gifted to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, in 1934. Where possible, their current locations have been noted.
33 artifacts, most of which were likely collected in Alaska by the Harriman Alaska Expedition, are now housed in the NMAI object collection (catalog numbers 18/6460 - 18/6494)
A set of Harriman Alaska Expedition books, probably now in the Cornell University Libraries
4 phonograph records
A bundle of botanical specimens
This collection was donated as part of the estate of Mary Harriman Rumsey to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, in May 1934.
Access to NMAI Archive 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: email@example.com).
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to firstname.lastname@example.org. For personal or classroom use, users are invited users to download, print, photocopy, and distribute the images that are available online without prior written permission, provided that the files are not changed, the Smithsonian Institution copyright notice (where applicable) is included, and the source of the image is identified as the National Museum of the American Indian.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Mary Harriman Rumsey Collection of Harriman Alaska Expedition Photographs, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
This collection was processed with funding from the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Includes: 1) Eskimo man with harpoon. Undated. 2) Man running at seal seals in rookery. July 7, 1892. 3) Natives fishing and drying fish. Undated. 4) Man clubbing seals. Undated. 5) Eskimo whaling and walrus camp, Icy Point, Arctic Ocean, Alaska. Lookout created of drift logs. 1891. 6) Interior or Stick Indians spearing fish in the canon of th Fraser River. 1891. 7) Fishing from kaiaks. 1872. 8) View of settlement and fishing trap. Undated. 9) Aleutians striking humpback whales: off Akootan Island, Bering Sea. Undated. 10) Aleutians sea-otter hunters in camp, Tigalda, Aleutian Chain. 1891. 11) Europeans clubbing and skinning seals. 1891. 12) Man with clubs on edge of rookery, St. Paul Island. 1891. 13) Fishing from kaiaks, Captains Harbour. 1872. 14) Seal rookery. 1872. 15) Dropping an Aleutian sea Otter hunting Party of A---tanak Island. 1892.
Titles: "Antelope Hunt from a Navaho Drawing, New Mexico;" "Pomo Indian Basket, California;" "Apache Devil Dancer from an Indian Painting, Arizona;" "Pueblo Turtle Dancers from an Indian Painting, New Mexico;" "Eskimo Mask, Western Alaska;" "Blanket Design of the Haida Indians, Alaska;" and "From an Indian Painting on Elkskin, Great Plains."
NAA MS 4883
The Word "Siegriest" appears on all the posters; it is perhaps the name of the artist who did the silk-screen posters.
For comments and corrections on this set of drawings (especially those published in George Phebus' book) cf. National Anthropological Archives Correspondence File, June, 1976; Arthur O. Roberts letter of April 2, 1976 to W. Sturtevant forwarded to National Anthropological Archives, June 1976.
Graphite, ink, crayon and watercolor on paper.
Found summer, 1967 in Smithsonian Institution Department of Anthropology storage; transmitted to National Anthropological Archives by George Phebus, Processing Lab, February, 1972. (Catalog Number 260,447, Accession Number 51,115, transferred from U. S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Education, January 27, 1910.)
This collection consists of two color woodblock prints and eight crayon/pencil drawings made by Inuit residents of Cape Dorset in Nunavut territory, Canada, circa 1966. The prints and drawings depict traditional Inuit subjects, including birds, bears, fish and hunting scenes.
Biographical / Historical:
Cape Dorset is an Inuit community located on Dorset Island in the Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut, Canada. Since the 1950s, Cape Dorset, often called the "Capital of Inuit Art," has been a center for Inuit artists, especially in the areas of drawing, printmaking, and carving.
Identified as Eskimo from Cumberland Gulf on USNM cat. card number 168,997.
Pencil drawings on thin white paper
Apparently received as gift from Captain John Spicer, Groton, Connecticut through O. T. Mason, USNM, September 11, 1894, along with Eskimo lamp and fire making apparatus (USNM Accession number 28,480). Drawings are not referred to in accession papers.
The original glass plate is available for inspection if necessary in the Archives Center. A limited number of fragile glass negatives and positives in the collection can be viewed directly in the Archives Center by prior appointment.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.