Photographs mostly commissioned and collected by personnel in the Bureau of American Ethnology. Most of the photographs are studio portraits of Native Americans made by the Bureau of American Ethnology and Smithsonian Institution, possibly for physical anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka. There are also photographs made by Truman Michelson among the Catawba tribe, copies of illustrations and drawings, and various images of archeological sites and artifacts.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 87-2M, USNM ACC 42191
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Original negatives for many photographs in this collection held in the National Anthropological Archives in the BAE historical negatives.
Additional Michelson photographs held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 13, Photo Lot 24, MS 2139, and MS 4365-c.
Additional Hillers photographs held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 14, Photo Lot 24, Photo Lot 28, Photo Lot 40, Photo Lot 143, Photo Lot 83-18, Photo Lot 87-2N, Photo Lot 90-1, Photo Lot 92-46, and the BAE historical negatives.
Additional Jackson photographs held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 24, Photo Lot 37, Photo Lot 40, Photo Lot 60, Photo Lot 93, Photo Lot 143, Photo Lot R82-10, Photo Lot 87-2P, Photo Lot 90-1, Photo Lot 92-3, the records of the Department of Anthropology, and the BAE historical negatives.
Additional Smillie photographs held in the National Museum of American History Archives Center in the Frances Benjamin Johnston and Thomas W. Smillie Glass Plate Negatives and in Smithsonian Institution Archives SIA Acc. 05-123.
Additional Gardner photographs held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 24, Photo Lot 80-18, Photo Lot 87-2P, Photo Lot 90-1, and the BAE historical negatives.
Associated busts and molds held in the Department of Anthropology collections in accession 42191.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Indians of North America -- Southern states Search this
Photographs documenting Iroquois people made circa 1897-circa 1937 on and near the Six Nations Reserve by J.N.B. Hewitt, linguist with the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology.
Scope and Contents note:
Hewitt's photos primarily depict Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Oneida, and Tutelo peoples. There are also a few images of Iroquois houses and other structures, Hewitt's mask collection, and Onondaga Chief John Buck and family, Seneca Chief John Arthur Gibson and family, Cayuga Chief James Jamieson and family, and Cayuga-Seneca Chief Simeon Gibson. Most of the photographs were taken during several trips between 1897 and 1937, on and near the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario (Oshweken, Deseronto, and Brantsford), and New York (Niagara Falls, Nedrow, and Syracuse).
For Photo Lot 155 Hewitt's original arrangement and numbering has been maintained. The order of the photographs does not follow the chronology that they were taken; for instance there are often several photographs of an individual that were clearly made in different years. The original negatives also represent a variety of film and camera types.
The arrangement and numbering for MS 4596, established at an unknown time, was maintained.
J.N.B. (John Napoleon Brinton) Hewitt (December 6, 1859-October 14, 1937) was a linguist and ethnographer who specialized in Iroquoian and other Native American languages. Born on the Tuscarora Reservation near Lewiston, New York, his mother was of Tuscarora, French, Oneida, and Scottish descent. His father's heritage was English and Scottish, but he was raised in a Tuscarora family. Hewitt spoke English growing up, but when he left the reservation to attend schools in Wilson and Lockport, he learned to speak the Tuscarora language from other students. Hewitt grew up planning to become a physician, like his father. However, the course of Hewitt's interests changed when, in 1880, he was hired by Erminnie A. Smith of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of Ethnology (now the Bureau of American Ethnology) as an assistant ethnologist tasked with collecting myths among the Iroquoian tribes of New York. He continued this work from 1880-1884, and then was briefly employed by the Jersey City Railways Co. (1884-1885) and Adams Express Co. (1885-1886). Upon Smith's death in 1886, Hewitt returned to the BAE to continue her work, remaining employed there until his death.
Over the course of his career, Hewitt became the leading authority on the organization of the Iroquois League and the ceremonials, customs, and usages of the tribes composing it. He acquired an intimate knowledge of the languages of the League, including a speaking knowledge of Mohawk and Onondaga, and also became acquainted with several Algonquian dialects. On February 28, 1914, in recognition of his services in preserving for posterity a knowledge of the history and ethnology of the Iroquoian people of New York state, he was awarded the Cornplanter medal for Iroquois Research.
Additionally, he was a founder of the American Anthropological Association and an active member of the Anthropological Society of Washington and the American Museum of Natural History, serving as both treasurer (1912-1926) and president (1932-1934) of the latter. Hewitt also contributed over one hundred articles for the Handbook of American Indians (Bulletin 30) and published the two volume Iroquoian Cosmology (1903 and 1928).