The Frank C. and Clara G. Churchill collection includes photographic negatives, photo albums, lantern slides, journals, scrapbooks and other documents created and compiled by the Churchills over the course of Frank's career as a special agent and Indian Inspector for the Department of the Interior between 1899 and 1909. Initially assigned as a revenue collector to the Cherokee Nation and later as an Indian Inspector reviewing boarding schools, Frank's assignments took him all over the United States including Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma), Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, California, Florida, North Carolina and Alaska. During this time the Churchills visited over 80 different Native communities shooting photographs and taking notes.
Scope and Contents:
The Frank C. and Clara G. Churchill collection includes 1430 photographic negatives, 29 photo albums containing 3710 photographic prints, 325 lantern slides, and 3 linear feet of journals, scrapbooks, and other documents created and compiled by the Churchills over the course of Frank's career as a special agent and Indian Inspector for the Department of the Interior between 1899 and 1909.
Series 1: Photographs in Indian Territory (Oklahoma): Muskogee, Tahlequah, Sulphur Springs and Other Assignments, 1899-1903, includes 11 photo albums and 357 negatives from Frank Churchill's original assignment as revenue collector to the Cherokee Nation. Locations include Indian Territory (Oklahoma) [bulk], Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Missouri. The Native communities visited and photographed in this series include— Oklahoma Cherokee, Oklahoma Muskogee (Creek), Quapaw, Osage, Miami, Wyandotte [Oklahoma], Tsitsistas/Suhtai (Cheyenne), Winnebago [Nebraska], Eastern Shawnee [Quapaw Agency, Oklahoma], Ponca, Chaticks Si Chaticks (Pawnee), Oto, Sioux [Crow Creek], Kaw (Kansa), Chickasaw, Modoc, Kiowa, Choctaw.
Series 2: Photographs in the Southwest and Midwest: Arizona, New Mexico, Califonia, Minnesota and Wisconsin, 1903-1907, includes 9 photo albums and 832 negatives from Frank Churchill's assignment as an Indian Inspector. Because the Churchills visited some of the same locations on multiple occasions, it has been hard to date some of the negatives. For that reason, all the negatives made in the Southwest have been included in this series, though there are two photo albums with Southwest photographs included in Series 4. Locations in this series includes Arizona, New Mexico, California, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Native Communities visited and photographed in this series include—A:shiwi (Zuni), Diné (Navajo), Acoma Pueblo, Akimel O'odham (Pima), Cahuilla, Chemehuevi, Cochiti Pueblo, Hopi Pueblo, Isleta Pueblo, K'apovi (Santa Clara Pueblo), Kumeyaay (Diegueño), Laguna Pueblo, Luiseño (Luiseno), Mescalero Apache, Mojave (Mohave), Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo), Picuris Pueblo, Piipaash (Maricopa), Puye Pueblo, Quechan (Yuma/Cuchan), San Carlos Apache, Taos Pueblo, Tohono O'odham (Papago).
Series 3: Photographs in Alaska and Oregon, 1905-1910 (bulk 1905), includes four photograph albums and 71 negatives from Frank Churchill's appointment as special agent, by President Roosevelt, to investigate the condition of the school & reindeer service and other affairs in Alaska in the summer and fall of 1905. Two of the albums were not made by the Churchills. The first of these (Box 20) includes photographs by William Hamilton and the second (Box 21) includes photographs by W. T. Lopp. Locations in Alaska include St. Lawrence Island, Nuwukmiut/Point Barrow, Teller, Diomedes Islands, Nome, Kotzebue, Wrangell, Port Clarence Bay, Unalaska Island and Baranof Island. There are a number of photographs aboard the U.S. Cutter "Bear" and aboard the mailboat "Georgia." Native communities photographed include—Yuit (Siberian Yup'ik), Inupiaq (Alaskan Inupiat Eskimo), Bering Strait Inupiaq [Diomedes], Alutiiq (Pacific Eskimo), Tlingit.
Series 4: Photographs in Arizona, Utah, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota, Florida and Miscellaneous, 1907-1909, includes five photograph albums and 163 negatives from Frank Churchill's assignment at Indian Inspector. Because the Churchills visited some of the same locations in the Southwest (Arizona and Utah) on multiple occasions, it has been hard to date some of the negatives. For that reason, all the negatives made in the Southwest have been included in Series 3. Locations include Arizona, Utah, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota and Florida. Native communities visited and photographed include-Diné (Navajo), Hopi Pueblo, Kaibab Paiute, Quechan (Yuma/Cuchan), Eastern Band of Cherokee, Pikuni Blackfeet (Piegan), Wahpetonwan Dakota [Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe], Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Seminole. There is restricted material in Box 23 (Album P23380).
Series 5: Non-Native Photographs: Colorado Vacation, Lebanon, New Hampshire, and other Materials, 1898-1913, includes four photograph albums from vacations and other visits made by the Churchills unrelated to Frank's activities as Indian Inspector.
Series 6: Manuscripts: Journals, Documents and Scrapbooks, 1880-1928 (bulk 1899-1909), includes three linear feet of materials arranged in three subseries. Subseries 6.1, Clara Churchill, includes 16 journals, 12 scrapbooks and various other manuscript materials written and accumulated by Clara Churchill during their travels. Many of the journals include personal writings as well as several photographs that are duplicated in the photograph albums. The journals and scrapbooks encompass the full range of the Churchills' travels and include notes from Indian Territory, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast, Plains and Alaska. Subseries 6.2, Colonel Frank C. Churchill, includes official documents around Churchill's assignments as well as the reports Frank submitted back to the Secretary of the Interior (Box 41 and 42). Subseries 6.3, Churchill Museum and Miscellaneous, includes catalogs and other notes related to the large collection of Native American objects amassed by Frank and Clara. Clara also collected other items such as shells, minerals, and sand.
Series 7: Lantern Slides for Lectures, 1899-1909, includes 325 hand colored glass lantern slides. These were made by the Churchills from existing negatives and used for lectures. Lantern slides #1-#121 include views photographed in Alaska in 1905. Sldes #122-#325 include an assortment of views from Oklahoma (Indian Territory), Nebraska, Montana, Minnesota, California, Arizona and New Mexico photographed between 1900 and 1909.
The Frank C. and Clara G. Churchill collection has been arranged in seven series by material type and then chronologically. The first five series are then divided into subseries by "Photo Albums" and "Negatives." These include--Series 1: Photographs in Indian Territory (Oklahoma): Muskogee, Tahlequah, Sulphur Springs and Other Assignments, 1899-1903; Series 2: Photographs in the Southwest and Midwest: Arizona, New Mexico, California, Minnesota and Wisconsin, 1907-1907; Series 3: Photographs in Alaska and Oregon, 1905-1910 (bulk 1905-1905); Series 4: Photographs in Arizona, Utah, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota, Florida and Miscellaneous, 1907-1909; Series 5: Non-Native Photographs: Colorado Vaction, Lebanon, New Hampshire, and other Materials.
Series 6: Manuscripts: Journals, Documents and Scrapbooks, 1880-1928, is arranged in three subseries. Subseries 6.1: Clara G. Churchill, Subseries 6.2: Frank C. Churchill, and Subseries 6.3: Churchill Museum and Miscellaneous. Series 7: Lantern Slides for Lectures, 1899-1909, is arranged in orginal number order from the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College.
Biographical / Historical:
Frank Carroll Churchill was born August 2, 1850 to Benjamin P. Churchill and Susanna Thompson in West Fairlee, Vermont. Frank was educated at Thetford Academy in Thetford, VT and worked as a clerk for D.C. Churchill & Co. in Lyme, NH between 1869-1870. Between 1870 and 1877, Churchill was employed by H.W. Carter as a wholesale merchant in Lebanon, New Hampshire. During this time, Churchill met Clara Corser Turner and they were married on June 11, 1874.
Clara G. (Turner) Churchill was born December 16, 1851, to Colonel Francis H. Corser and Sarah Hook (Perkins) Corser. Colonel Corser and his wife died young, and Clara was adopted by George and Abby H. Turner of Concord, New Hampshire.
In 1877, in association with William S. Carter, Frank Churchill opened the business "Carter & Churchill" which was in this business for 21 years. Churchill held various political offices from 1879-91. He served as chairman of the Republican town committee of Lebanon and of the Republican State committee in 1890 and 1891. He served on the staff of Governor Natt Head in 1879 and 1880, with the rank of Colonel. He was chairman of the New Hampshire delegation at the Republican National Convention which nominated President Harrison and represented the Fourth District in the Executive Council in 1889-1890 during the administration of Governor David. H. Goodell.
In 1899 Frank was appointed revenue inspector for the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory and was later appointed a special agent for the Interior Department to formulate a system of public schools in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and across the Southwest. In 1905, he was appointed special agent, by President Roosevelt, to investigate the condition of the school & reindeer service and other affairs in Alaska and was reappointed Indian Inspector between 1905-1909. In 1909, Churchill resigned due to failing health and died November 5, 1912. Clara accompanied Frank on all his travels between 1899 and 1909 (see below chronology for full details) maintaining journals and writing articles for publication in "WHAT." Clara was also a painter, producing watercolors and hand-painting many of the photographs she and Frank made on their travels. Following Frank's death, Clara maintained their collection of Native artifacts and photographs in their home in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Clara died April 16, 1945, bequeathing the full collection to Dartmouth College.
Frank Churchill's assignments as Special agent and Indian Inspector from 1899-1909 took him all over the United States including Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma), Missouri, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, California, Florida, North Carolina and Alaska. During this time the Churchills visited over 80 different Native communities. For more details, see the chronology below.
Travels in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) and other assignments, 1899-1903
1899, June 29 -- Churchills arrive in Muskogee, Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
1899, July-October -- Visit to Fort Gibson, Tahlequah, Sallisaw, and Vinita (Indian Territory/Oklahoma). Visit to Noel and South west City, Missouri. Visit to Chelsea and Coffeyville, Kansas. Visit to Fort Smith, Arkansas.
1899, November -- Visit Tahlequah while the Cherokee Nation legislature was in session.
1899, December -- Travel in Colorado.
1900, March -- Return to Muskogee and Fort Gibson.
1900, Sept 17-Oct 5 -- Dawes Commission in Vinita.
1901, Mar-Apr 3 -- Visit to the Quapaw Agency, Wyandotte Reservation and school, Modoc reservation and the town of Miami.
1901, April -- Visit to Denison, Texas. Visit to Checotah, Eufaula, South McAlester (Choctaw nation).
1901, Summer -- Visit to Pawhuska, Osage Nation.
1901, October -- Visit to Tishomingo, seat of government of the Chickasaws.
1902, January -- Trip to the Chickasaw Nation Visit to Anadarko, Indian Agency of the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache, Fort Sill, Wichita Mountains, and Lawton.
1902, May -- Frank is dispatched to Sioux City, Iowa.
1902, July -- Visit to St. Paul, Minnesota and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, (Chippewa Falls). Frank is sent to Sulphur Springs, Texas, to author a report.
1902, August -- Churchills return to Muskogee, IT.
1902, September-October -- Trip to White Eagle, Ponca Agency for a month. Visit to Otoe school, Pawnee School, Shawnee, Sac and Fox reservations.
1902, November-December -- Visit to Crow Creek Agency.
1903, January -- Return to Sulpher Springs, Texas.
1903, March -- Visit to Pawhuska, Osage Nation.
1903, April -- Visit to Colorado.
1903, May-October -- Visit to 23 towns in Oklahoma (IT) with the Secretary of the Interior.
Travels in New Mexico, Arizona and California, 1903-1905
1903, November -- Frank receives orders to proceed to Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico.
1903, December 9 -- Visit to Zuni, followed by Canyon de Chelly, Hubbell's Ranch, Keams Canyon.
1903, December 21 -- Visit to Hopi Pueblo. Walpi, Polacca Day School, Oraibi, Shumopavi (Shungopavi/Songoopavi), Shipaulovi (Supawlavi) and Mishongnovi (Musungnuvi).
1903, December 28 -- Visit to Fort Defiance.
1904, January -- Travel in New Mexico. Visit to Gallup, Laguna Pueblo, Acomita, Paraje, Acoma, Albuquerque, Isleta Pueblo, Santa Fe, Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo), K'apovi (Santa Clara Pueblo).
1904, February -- Visit to Sacaton, Akimel O'odham (Pima) Reservation and Casa Grande ruins in Arizona.
1904, March -- Visit to Lehi Day School, Salt River Day School, Phoenix Indian School, Gila River Crossing Day School and Maricopa Day School, Arizona.
1904, March 10-26 -- Visit to Fort Mojave and Chemehuevi.
1904, March 30-April -- Visit to Riverside, California, Sherman Institute and Perris School. Side trip to Yuma, Arizona.
1905, January-February -- Visit to Sulphur, IT.
1905, March -- Visit to Mescalero Apache Agency, San Carlos Apache Agency, Geronimo Settlement, Rice Station School at Talkalai.
1905, April 10-20 -- Return to Sherman Institute in Riverside, California. Visit to San Jacinto, Perris, Saboba, Cahuilla, San Manuella (Band of Mission Indians), Coachella, Torres Reservation, Martinez Reservation Day School, Cabazon Reservation, Protrero Reservation and Day School.
1905, April 22-May -- Visit to Temecula, Pechanga Day School, Pala Mission, Campo Reservation, Mission of San Luis Rey, Rincon Day School, Mesa Grande School, Santa Ysabel (Diegueno), Volcan Mountain Day School.
Travels in Alaska, 1905
1905, June -- Frank receives an assignment in Alaska.
1905, July -- Board the U.S. Revenue Cutter "Bear" in Nome. Visit to Reindeer Station in Teller, Cape Prince of Wales, Kotzebue Sound, Cape Thompson, Point Hope and Point Barrow.
1905, August -- Visit to Wainwright Inlet, return to Nome. Visit to Anvil Creek, Gologin (Golovin) Bay, St. Lawrence Island, Pribilof Islands (Seal Islands), St. George, Dutch Harbor and Unalaska.
1905, September -- Board the "Dora" anchored near Belkofski, Cold Bay, Karluk, Afgonak, and Kodiak. Stop in Homer, Seldovia and Seward. Visit to Sitka.
1905, September 28 -- Board the steamer "Georgia" to Juneau and Skagway via Hoonah.
1905, October -- Return to Lebanon, NH.
Travels in Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, California and Utah, 1906-1907
1906, March-April -- Re-assigned to Southwest and arrive in Tucson, Arizona. Visit to San Xavier Mission, Tohono O'odham (Papago) reservation, Casa Grande, Sacaton, Maricopa, Gila Crossing, Salt River and Phoenix schools.
1906, May -- Return to New Mexico to visit Gallup and Zuni Day School.
1906, June -- Visit to St, Paul, Minnesota and the White Earth (Ojibwe) reservation and Wild Rice River School in Boliere.
1906, July -- Visit to Ashland, Wisconsin, Lac Courte Oreilles, Hayward, and Lac de Flambeau (La Pointe Agency.
1906, July-September -- Return to Lebanon, New Hampshire.
1906, September -- Visit to Fond du Lac (Winnebago Lake), Wabeno, and Carter, Wisconsin.
1906, October -- Visit to Phlox, Wausau, Minocqua, Star Lake, Bark River and Wausaukee, Wisconsin.
1906, November-December -- Visit to Keshena (Green Bay Indian School), Menominee Reservation and Ashland, Wisconsin.
1906, December-January -- Stay in Washington, DC.
1907, February -- Return to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1907, March -- Visit to Santa Fe and various Pueblos (Cochiti, Tesuque, San Ildefonso, Ohkay Owingeh [San Juan], Toas and Picuris).
1907, April -- Return to Albuquerque, visit to Pueblos (Isleta, Laguna, Mesita, Acomita, Paraje, Acoma, Seama).
1907, April -- Visit to Phoenix, Arizona (Phoenix Indian School), Fort McDowell and Salt River Day School.
1907, May -- Visit to Sacaton, Maricopa, Casa Grande, and Yuma, Arizona.
1907, June -- Visit to Riverside (Sherman Institute), and Pomona, California.
1907, June-July -- Travel to Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit Panguitch, Orton, Kanab, Escalante and Marysvale, Utah.
1907, July-August -- Return to Arizona. Visit Flagstaff, Tuba Indian School, as well as Hopi Pueblo (Walpi, Moencopi, and Oraibi).
1907, September-October -- Return to Lebanon, NH.
Travels in North Carolina, Montana and Florida, 1907-1909
1907, October 22 -- Assigned to Cherokee, North Carolina, to make a new roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.
1907, November -- Arrive in Cherokee, North Caolina.
1908, February -- Visit to Robbinsville and Big Cove
1908, April -- Cherokee council meeting regarding Churchill's new roll.
1908, May -- Completes assignment in North Carolina.
1908, June-September -- Return to Washington, DC and Lebanon, New Hampshire.
1908, September-October -- Trip to Montana. Visit to Browning, Blackfeet Reservation, Harlem, Fort Belknap and Fort Peck.
1908, November -- Visit to Spirit Lake (Devil's Lake) and Wahpeton, and Fort Totten, North Dakota.
1908, December -- Visit to Morris, Minnesota.
1909, January -- Trip to Washington, DC for the inauguration of President Taft.
1909, February -- Visit to Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
1909, March-April -- Trip to Florida. Visit to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Gainesville, and St. Augustine.
1909, May -- Visit to Soco Creek and Cherokee, North Carolina.
1909, July -- Return to Lebanon, New Hampshire.
1909, August -- Resignation as Indian Inspector.
A large collection of Native American cultural objects and archaeology bequeathed by Clara Churchill can still be found at the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College.
Frederick Dockstader, former director of the Museum of the American Indian (MAI), Heye Foundation, illegally removed the majority of the photographs (photo albums, negatives) and manuscript material (journals, reports) from the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College in 1955, before depositing them at the MAI. Those materials were officially gifted to NMAI in 2018 by the Hood Museum. Additional materials from the Churchill collection that remained at the Hood Museum (lantern slides, photographs, scrapbooks, journals) were donated in 2020. These materials have been noted in the finding aid.
Access to NMAI Archives 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).
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center. Please submit a written request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The collection contains individual and group portraits of Native American people. Tribal affiliations include Apache, Arapaho, Assiniboine, Delaware, Isleta, Kickapoo, Mescalero Apache, Navajo, San Carlos Apache, Sioux, Taos, and Tohono O'odham. There are also includes images of weavers, dancers, tipis, Canyon de Chelly, Taos Pueblo, and Taos cemetery, as well as a self-portrait of Gary Auerbach. Also included is one autostereoscopic multidimensional platinum print. Additionally, the collection contains Auerbach's book, We Walk In Beauty, which pairs the portraits with excerpts of interviews that Auerbach conducted with the individuals, and promotional materials including exhibit announcements and catalogs.
The collection is organized into two series: 1. Photographs, and 2. Printed material.
Following a career as a chiropractor, Gary Auerbach became a professional photographer in 1991. Concerned about the long-term permanence of his photographs, Auerbach taught himself the platinum printing process. From 1992 to 2003, Auerbach made portraits of a number of Native American people, also asking each individual a series of biographical questions. He published the photographs and short biographies in his book, We Walk in Beauty.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 2004-13
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Photo Lot 2004-13, Gary Auerbach portraits of Native American people, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution