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Review of Wishram Ethnography by Leslie Spier and Edward Sapir

Collection Creator:
Strong, William Duncan, 1899-1962  Search this
Container:
Box 39
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1931
Collection Restrictions:
The William Duncan Strong papers are open for research.

Access to the William Duncan Strong papers requires and appointment.
Collection Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Collection Citation:
William Duncan Strong papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
William Duncan Strong papers
William Duncan Strong papers / Series 7: Manuscripts of writings / 1931:
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/nw3b1b227ce-0fa3-468f-8a4e-e865cce1ce73
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-naa-1974-28-ref578

Ed Brady collection of photographs of Native Americans

Collector:
Brady, Ed  Search this
Publisher:
Keystone View Company  Search this
Pacific Photo Company (Salem, Or.)  Search this
Names:
Atkinson, James  Search this
Photographer:
Johnston  Search this
Moorhouse, Lee, 1850-1926  Search this
Potts, E.  Search this
Williams, G.F.  Search this
Extent:
1 Pamphlet
1 Stereograph (silver gelatin)
2 Color postcards
2 Color prints
3 Copy negatives
5 Copy prints
42 Prints (silver gelatin (some on postcard stock))
Culture:
Arctic peoples  Search this
Palouse  Search this
Pueblo  Search this
Umatilla  Search this
Tewa Pueblos  Search this
Indians of North America -- Plateau  Search this
Eskimos  Search this
Sioux  Search this
Wishram  Search this
Taos Indians  Search this
Assiniboine (Stoney)  Search this
American Indians -- Southwest  Search this
Niimíipuu (Nez Perce)  Search this
Omaha  Search this
Indians of North America -- Great Plains  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pamphlets
Stereographs
Color postcards
Color prints
Copy negatives
Copy prints
Prints
Place:
Tesuque Pueblo (N.M.)
Date:
circa 1880-1950
Scope and Contents note:
Ed Brady's collection of photographs and postcards of Native American camps, people, crafts, schools, and dances, as well as agency personnel at various reservations. A majority of the original prints are photographs by Lee Moorhouse, including images of American Indian dwellings, camps, Kate Drexel School, children in cradleboards, and formal and informal portraits. Additionally, there are photographs made by E. Potts at Tesuque Pueblo on November 12, 1924 during the feast day; images are mostly of Tewa people dancing the Buffalo-Deer Dance.

The collection also includes a stereograph depicting Taos people in front of Taos Pueblo, as well as photographic postcards of Omaha men in Walthill, Nebraska, American Indians at a camp in Idaho, Indians at a camp near International Falls, Minnesota, a Navajo camp in Arizona, an elevated view of a camp with numerous tipis, possibly for a rodeo, two Alaskan Eskimo girls, and a reenactment of the Battle of Little Bighorn aftermath. There is also a pamphlet entitled "Old Travois Trails," from 1941, which was possibly originally collected by Dr. W. A. Russell, a doctor for the Fort Peck Agency.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 90-8, NAA Photo Lot 81-39, NAA Photo Lot 89-28
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Photo Lot 81-39 has been relocated and merged with Photo Lot 90-8. These photographs were also collected by Ed Brady and form part of this collection.
Brady also donated Indian police badges to the Department of Anthropology in accessions 343151 and 378681.
Additional photographs by Moorhouse can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 78 and the BAE historical negatives.
The University of Oregon Special Collections holds a large collection of Lee Moorhouse photographs, 1888-1925 (PH036).
Additional photographs published by the Keystone View Company can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in MS 4551, Photo Lot 140 and Photo Lot 90-1.
The University of Washington holds Ed Brady photographs of the Mount St. Helens Eruption (PH Coll 889).
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.

Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Topic:
Schools  Search this
Dance  Search this
Infant carriers  Search this
Pottery  Search this
Sweatbaths  Search this
Dwellings  Search this
Citation:
Photo Lot 90-8, Ed Brady collection of photographs of Native Americans, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NAA.PhotoLot.90-8
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/nw315e363e4-7ffe-4247-81d7-334f164b5846
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-photolot-90-8

Audio Log Sheets

Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution. Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Access to the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections is by appointment only. Visit our website for more information on scheduling a visit or making a digitization request. Researchers interested in accessing born-digital records or audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies.
Collection Rights:
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections. Please visit our website to learn more about submitting a request. The Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections make no guarantees concerning copyright or other intellectual property restrictions. Other usage conditions may apply; please see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for more information.
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 1984 Festival of American Folklife, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 1984 Festival of American Folklife
Smithsonian Folklife Festival records: 1984 Festival of American Folklife / Series 4: The Grand Generation / Audio
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/bk578b4df6f-02a9-405e-a862-6aa4471c5aca
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-cfch-sff-1984-ref1759
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Christopher Cardozo Collection of Edward S. Curtis papers and photographs

Creator:
Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952  Search this
Names:
Harriman Alaska Expedition (1899)  Search this
Former owner:
Cardozo, Christopher  Search this
Extent:
12.5 Linear feet
Culture:
Acoma Pueblo  Search this
Apache  Search this
Assiniboine (Stoney)  Search this
Niitsitapii (Blackfoot/Blackfeet)  Search this
Sicangu Lakota (Brulé Sioux)  Search this
Tsitsistas/Suhtai (Cheyenne)  Search this
Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke)  Search this
Duwamish (Dwamish)  Search this
Hopi Pueblo  Search this
Hupa  Search this
Klamath  Search this
Jicarilla Apache  Search this
Kootenai (Kutenai)  Search this
Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl)  Search this
Diné (Navajo)  Search this
Oglala Lakota (Oglala Sioux)  Search this
Coast Salish  Search this
Taos Pueblo  Search this
San Ildefonso Pueblo  Search this
Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo)  Search this
Wishram  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
circa 1899-1930
Summary:
The collection comprises Edward S. Curtis original and copy negatives, prints, and photogravures relating to the Harriman Alaska Expedition and Curtis's 20 volume publication, the North American Indian (NAI), as well as ephemera and one gold-tone of Fort Lapawi.
Scope and Contents:
The Christopher Cardozo collection of Edward S. Curtis papers and photographs primarily relate to Curtis's opus, the North American Indian, and also the 1899 Harriman Alaska Expedition. Papers in the collection include promotional ephemera for the NAI as well as articles by Curtis and others. Photographic material includes original and copy negatives, prints, two Harriman Alaska Expedition souvenir albums, and one gold-tone of Fort Lapawi.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged in two series: 1. Papers; and 2. Photographs and photogravures.
Biographical / Historical:
Edward Sherriff Curtis (1868-1952) was an American photographer famous for his photographs of the indigenous peoples of North America. His work was highly influential in shaping a sympathetic yet romantic view of cultures that he and many others believed to be "vanishing." Over the course of 30 years, Curtis visited more than 80 Native American communities and published his photographs and ethnographies in the twenty-volume North American Indian (NAI) (1907-1930).

Curtis was born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, to Ellen and Johnson Curtis in 1868. In about 1874, his family moved to a farm in Cordova, Minnesota. At a young age, Curtis built a camera, and it is possible that he may have worked in a Minneapolis photography studio for a time. In 1887, Curtis and his father moved West and settled on a plot near what is now Port Orchard, Washington, with the rest of the family joining them the following year. When Johnson Curtis died within a month of the family's arrival, 20-year-old Curtis became the head of the family.

In 1891, Curtis moved to Seattle and bought into a photo studio with Rasmus Rothi. Less than a year later, he and Thomas Guptill formed "Curtis and Guptill, Photographers and Photoengravers." The endeavor became a premier portrait studio for Seattle society and found success in photoengraving for many local publications. In 1892, Curtis married Clara Phillips (1874-1932) and in 1893 their son Harold was born (1893-1988), followed by Elizabeth (Beth) (1896-1973), Florence (1899-1987) and Katherine (Billy) (1909-?). Around 1895, Curtis made his first photographs of local Native people, including the daughter of Duwamish chief Seattle: Kickisomlo or "Princess Angeline." Curtis submitted a series of his Native American photographs to the National Photographic Convention, and received an award in the category of "genre studies" for Homeward (later published in volume 9 of the NAI). In 1896, the entire Curtis family moved to Seattle, which included Curtis's mother, his siblings Eva and Asahel, Clara's sisters Susie and Nellie Phillips, and their cousin William Phillips. Most of the household worked in Curtis's studio along with other employees. Curtis became sole proprietor of the studio in 1897, which remained a popular portrait studio but also sold his scenic landscapes and views of the Seattle Area. Curtis also sent his brother Asahel to Alaska and the Yukon to photograph the Klondike Gold Rush, and sold those views as well. Asahel went on to become a well-known photographer in his own right, primarily working in the American Northwest.

Curtis was an avid outdoorsman and joined the Mazamas Club after his first of many climbs of Mount Rainier. On a climb in 1898, Curtis evidently met a group of scientists, including C. Hart Merriam, George Bird Grinnell, and Gifford Pinchot, who had lost their way on the mountain, and led them to safety. This encounter led to an invitation from Merriam for Curtis to accompany a group of over 30 well-known scientists, naturalists, and artists as the official photographer on a maritime expedition to the Alaskan coast. Funded by railroad magnate Edward Harriman, the Harriman Alaska Expedition left Seattle in May of 1899, and returned at the end of July. Curtis made around 5000 photographs during the trip, including photographs of the indigenous peoples they met as well as views of mountains, glaciers, and other natural features. Many of the photographs appeared in the expedition's 14 published volumes of their findings.

In 1900, Curtis accompanied Grinnell to Montana for a Blackfoot Sundance. Here, Curtis made numerous photographs and became interested in the idea of a larger project to document the Native peoples of North America. Almost immediately upon returning from the Sundance, Curtis set off for the Southwest to photograph Puebloan communities. By 1904, Curtis had already held at least one exhibit of his "Indian pictures" and his project to "form a comprehensive and permanent record of all the important tribes of the United States and Alaska that still retain to a considerable degree their primitive customs and traditions" (General Introduction, the NAI) had taken shape and already received some press coverage. With his fieldwork now increasing his absences from home, Curtis hired Adolph Muhr, former assistant to Omaha photographer Frank Rinehart, to help manage the Seattle studio.

In 1904, Curtis was a winner in the Ladies Home Journal "Prettiest Children In America" portrait contest. His photograph of Marie Fischer was selected as one of 112 that would be published and Fischer was one of 12 children selected from the photographs who would have their portrait painted by Walter Russell. Russell and Curtis made an acquaintance while Russell was in Seattle to paint Fischer's portrait, and not long afterwards, Russell contacted Curtis to make photographic studies of Theodore Roosevelt's children for portraits he would paint. Curtis subsequently photographed the entire Roosevelt family, and developed a social connection with the President. Several important outcomes came of this new friendship, including Roosevelt eventually writing the foreword to the NAI, as well as making introductions to influential people.

Key among these introductions was one to wealthy financier John Pierpont Morgan, in 1906. After a brief meeting with Curtis during which he viewed several of Curtis's photographs of Native Americans, Morgan agreed to finance the fieldwork for the NAI project for five years, at $15,000.00 per year. It was up to Curtis to cover publishing and promotion costs, with the publication being sold as a subscription. In return, Morgan would receive 25 sets of the 20-volume publication. The ambitious publication plan outlined 20 volumes of ethnological text, each to be illustrated with 75 photogravure prints made from acid-etched copper plates. Each volume would be accompanied by a companion portfolio of 35 large photogravures. With high-quality papers and fine binding, a set would cost $3000.00. 500 sets were planned. Under Morgan, the North American Indian, Inc. formed as body to administer the monies. Also around this time, Frederick Webb Hodge, Director of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology, agreed to edit the publications.

Curtis then began more systematic fieldwork, accompanied by a team of research assistants and Native interpreters. In 1906, Curtis hired William E. Myers, a former journalist, as a field assistant and stenographer. Over the years, Myers became the lead researcher on the project, making enormous contributions in collecting data and possibly doing the bulk of the writing for the first 18 volumes. Upon meeting a new community, Curtis and his team would work on gathering data dealing with all aspects of the community's life, including language, social and political organization, religion, food ways, measures and values, and many other topics. (See box 2 folder 1 in this collection for Curtis's list of topics.) Curtis and his assistants, especially Myers, brought books and papers to the field relating to the tribes they were currently concerned with, and often wrote from the field to anthropologists at the Bureau of American Ethnology and other institutions for information or publications. In addition to fieldnotes and photographs, the team also employed sound recording equipment, making thousands of recordings on wax cylinders. Curtis also often brought a motion picture camera, although few of his films have survived.

The first volume of the NAI was published towards the end of 1907. Already, Curtis was encountering difficulty in finding subscribers to the publication despite great praise in the press and among those who could afford the volumes. Curtis spent progressively more of his time outside the field season promoting the project through lectures and in 1911, presenting his "Picture Musicale"—a lecture illustrated with lantern slides and accompanied by an original musical score—in major cities. After the initial five funded years, only eight of the twenty volumes had been completed. However, Morgan agreed to continue support for the fieldwork and publication continued.

Starting in 1910, Curtis and his team worked among the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nation on Vancouver Island, and in 1913 began to develop a documentary film project featuring the community in Alert Bay. In 1914, Curtis produced the feature-length film, In the Land of the Headhunters. The film showcased an all-indigenous cast and included an original musical score. Screened in New York and Seattle, it received high praise. However after this initial success, it did not receive the attention Curtis had hoped for, and resulted in financial loss.

Meanwhile, Curtis's prolonged absences from home had taken a toll on his marriage and in 1919 Clara and Edward divorced. The Seattle studio was awarded to Clara, and Curtis moved to Los Angeles, opening a photography studio with his daughter Beth and her husband Manford "Mag" Magnuson. Daughters Florence and Katherine came to Los Angeles sometime later. Curtis continued with fieldwork and promotion of the project, and in 1922 volume 12 of the NAI was published. Also in 1922, Curtis was accompanied during the field season in California by his daughter Florence Curtis Graybill, the first time a family member had gone to the field with him since the Curtis children were very small.

Curtis continued to push the project and publications along, yet never without financial struggle and he picked up work in Hollywood as both a still and motion picture photographer. John Pierpont Morgan, Jr., continued to provide funding for the fieldwork in memory of his father, but with the various financial upsets of the 1910s and 1920s, Curtis had a difficult time getting subscribers on board. In 1926, Myers, feeling the strain, regretfully resigned after the completion of volume 18. Anthropologist Frank Speck recommended Stewart Eastwood, a recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, to replace Myers as ethnologist for the final two volumes.

In 1927, Curtis and his team, along with his daughter Beth Curtis Magnuson, headed north from Seattle to Alaska and Canada on a final field season. Harsh weather and a hip injury made the trip difficult for Curtis, but he was very satisfied with the season's work. The party returned to Seattle, and upon arrival Curtis was arrested for unpaid alimony. He returned exhausted to Los Angeles, and in 1930 the final two volumes of NAI were published without fanfare. Curtis spent the next two years recovering from physical and mental exhaustion. Beth and Mag continued to run the Curtis studio in LA, but for the most part, Curtis had set down his camera for good. With the NAI behind him and his health recovered, Curtis pursued various interests and employment, eventually, settling down on a farm outside Los Angeles. he later moved in with Beth and Mag. Curtis died at home in 1952.

Sources Cited Davis, Barbara. Edward S. Curtis: the life and times of a shadowcatcher. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1984. Gidley, Mick. The North American Indian, Incorporated. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Christopher Cardozo (1948-2021) was a major collector and dealer in Edward S. Curtis photography.
Related Materials:
The National Anthropological Archives holds additional Curtis papers and photographs in NAA.2010-28, the Edward S. Curtis papers and photographs, MS 2000-18, the Edward Curtis investigation of the battle of Little Bighorn and Photo Lot 59, the Library of Congress copyright prints collection.

The Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University holds Curtis's wax cylinder audio recordings from 1907-1913.

The Braun Research Library at the Autry Museum of the American West holds the Frederick Webb Hodge papers (1888-1931), which contain substantial correspondence from Curtis. The Braun also holds a small amount of Curtis papers and photographs, including some of Curtis's cyanotypes.

The Getty Research Institute holds the Edward S. Curtis papers (1900-1978), which include the original manuscript scores for the Curtis Picture Musicale and film In the Land of the Headhunters.

The Palace of the Governors at the New Mexico History Museum holds original Curtis negatives pertaining to the southwest.

The Pierpont Morgan Library holds the Edward S. Curtis papers (1906-1947), which contain the records of the North American Indian, Inc., as well as Curtis's correspondence to librarian, and later library director, Belle Da Costa Greene. The library also holds a large collection of Curtis's lantern slides, used in his Picture Musicale.

The Seattle Public Library holds correspondence of Curtis to Librarian Harriet Leitch (1948-1951), pertaining to his career.

The Seaver Center for Western History Research at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History holds collection GC 1143, which contains Curtis's field notes as well as manuscript drafts for the North American Indian.

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian holds NMAI.AC.080, the Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs, as well as NMAI.AC.053, the Mary Harriman Rumsey collection of Harriman Alaska Expedition photographs.

The University of Washington Libraries Special Collections holds the Edward S. Curtis papers (1893-1983). Additionally, the Burke Museum holds papers and photographs of Edmund Schwinke, which relate to Curtis's work with the Kwakwaka'wakw community.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Julie Cardozo in 2022.
Restrictions:
Viewing of the photographic negatives requires advance notice and the permission of the Photo Archivist.

Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Identifier:
NAA.2022-12
See more items in:
Christopher Cardozo Collection of Edward S. Curtis papers and photographs
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/nw36944a23c-3be7-4086-bab0-4696f3aab866
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-2022-12

Man (Wishram) dip netting in river. Published as the Fisherman--Wishram

Collection Creator:
Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952  Search this
Extent:
1 Glass negative (original negative)
Container:
Box G4
Type:
Archival materials
Photographs
Glass negatives
Collection Restrictions:
Viewing of the photographic negatives requires advance notice and the permission of the Photo Archivist.

Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Collection Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Identifier:
NAA.2022-12, Item x3030
See more items in:
Christopher Cardozo Collection of Edward S. Curtis papers and photographs
Christopher Cardozo Collection of Edward S. Curtis papers and photographs / Series 2: Photographs and photogravures / North American Indian / Volume 8
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/nw346ed1436-c593-4102-b7d6-26e174e9c46a
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-naa-2022-12-ref58

Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs for The North American Indian

Photographer:
Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952  Search this
Extent:
96 Photomechanical prints (photogravure proofs)
184 Printing plates (copper printing plates)
Culture:
Twana  Search this
Hoh  Search this
Walla Walla (Wallawalla)  Search this
Wishram  Search this
Suquamish  Search this
Skokomish  Search this
Quinault  Search this
Quileute  Search this
Apache  Search this
Tolowa  Search this
Hupa  Search this
Hopi Pueblo  Search this
Squaxon  Search this
Mewuk (Miwok)  Search this
Achomawi (Pit River)  Search this
Klamath  Search this
Yurok  Search this
Kumeyaay (Diegueño)  Search this
Cayuse  Search this
Northern Paiute (Paviotso)  Search this
Santa Ysabel (Santa Isabela) Diegueño  Search this
Kalispel (Pend d'Oreilles)  Search this
Salish (Flathead)  Search this
Spokan  Search this
Yakama (Yakima)  Search this
Sahnish (Arikara)  Search this
Numakiki (Mandan)  Search this
Pikuni Blackfeet (Piegan)  Search this
Tsitsistas/Suhtai (Cheyenne)  Search this
Sicangu Lakota (Brulé Sioux)  Search this
Niimíipuu (Nez Perce)  Search this
A'aninin (Gros Ventre)  Search this
Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke)  Search this
Tsuu T'ina (Sarcee)  Search this
Kainai Blackfoot (Kainah/Blood)  Search this
Denésoliné (Chipewyan)  Search this
Cree  Search this
Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo)  Search this
San Ildefonso Pueblo  Search this
Tewa Pueblos  Search this
A:shiwi (Zuni)  Search this
Kewa (Santo Domingo Pueblo)  Search this
K'apovi (Santa Clara Pueblo)  Search this
Laguna Pueblo  Search this
Jemez Pueblo  Search this
Serrano  Search this
Washoe (Washo)  Search this
Kutzadika'a (Mono Paiute)  Search this
Kupangaxwichem (Kupa/Cupeño)  Search this
Piipaash (Maricopa)  Search this
Diné (Navajo)  Search this
Oglala Lakota (Oglala Sioux)  Search this
Quechan (Yuma/Cuchan)  Search this
Hualapai (Walapai)  Search this
Akimel O'odham (Pima)  Search this
Tohono O'odham (Papago)  Search this
Mojave (Mohave)  Search this
Niuam (Comanche)  Search this
Wichita  Search this
Ponca  Search this
Osage  Search this
Yokuts  Search this
Chukchansi Yokuts  Search this
Southern Mewuk (Southern Miwok)  Search this
Wailaki  Search this
Pomo  Search this
Wappo  Search this
Maidu  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photomechanical prints
Printing plates
Photogravures
Photographs
Date:
1899-1927
circa 1980
Summary:
The Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs for The North American Indian include photogravure printing plates and associated proofs made from Curtis photographs and used in the publication of The North American Indian volumes 1-9 and 12-19. The bulk of the images are portraits, though there are also images of everyday items, ceremonial artifacts, and camps.
Scope and Contents:
The collection comprises 183 photogravure plates (101 folio and 82 octavo) and 96 associated proofs used in the printing of The North American Indian volumes 1-9 and 12-19. The original photographs used to make the photogravures were made circa 1903-1926 and the photogravure plates were made in 1907-1930. The bulk are portraits, though there are also images of everyday items, ceremonial artifacts, and camps. About half of the proofs in the collection are originals used for Curtis's publication, though the collection also includes proofs made in the process of later publication by the Classic Gravure Company (circa 1980). Vintage proofs include handwritten notes, likely made by Curtis Studio employees in Seattle and Los Angeles. Many of the photogravure plates do not have matching proofs; in particular, there are no proofs for the octavo plates.
Arrangement:
The plates and proofs are arranged by the volume of The North American Indian in which they were published. They are described in this finding aid by the caption and plate number with which they were published.
Biographical / Historical:
Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) was an American photographer best known for his monumental and now-controversial project, the twenty-volume publication The North American Indian. Here he sought to document in words and pictures the "vanishing race" of American Indians.

Born in Wisconsin in 1868, Edward Curtis grew up on his family's farm in Le Sueur County, Minnesota, from 1874 to 1887. In 1887, he and his father Johnson Curtis settled on a plot near what is now Port Orchard, Washington, and the rest of the family joined them the following year. When Johnson Curtis died within a month of the family's arrival, the burden of providing for his mother and siblings fell to 20-year-old Edward, and Edward set out to do so through his photography. In 1891, Curtis moved to the booming city of Seattle and bought into a joint photo studio with Rasmus Rothi. Less than a year later, he formed "Curtis and Guptill, Photographers and Photoengravers" with Thomas Guptill; the enterprise quickly became a premier portrait studio for Seattle's elite. In 1895, Curtis made his first "Indian photograph" depicting Princess Angeline, daughter of the chief for whom Seattle had been named. The following year he earned his first medal from the National Photographic Convention for his "genre studies."

In 1899, Edward Curtis joined the Harriman Alaska Expedition as official photographer, a position which allowed him to learn from anthropologists C. Hart Merriam and George Bird Grinnell while documenting the landscapes and peoples of the Alaskan coast. This expedition and the resulting friendship with Grinnell helped to foster Curtis's ultimate goal to "form a comprehensive and permanent record of all the important tribes of the United States and Alaska that still retain to a considerable degree their primitive customs and traditions" (General Introduction, The North American Indian). Curtis made several trips to reservations from 1900 to 1904, including a trip with Grinnell to Montana in 1900 and multiple trips to the Southwest, including the Hopi Reservation. He also hired Adolph Muhr, former assistant to Omaha photographer Frank A. Rinehart, to manage the Curtis studio in his absence, a decision which would prove more and more fruitful as Curtis spent less and less time in Seattle.

In 1906, Curtis struck a deal with financier J. P. Morgan, whereby Morgan would support a company – The North American Indian, Inc. – with $15,000 for five years, by which time the project was expected to have ended. Systematic fieldwork for the publication began in earnest that summer season, with Curtis accompanied by a team of ethnological researchers and American Indian assistants. Arguably the most important member of Curtis' field team was William Myers, a former newspaperman who collected much of the ethnological data and completed most of the writing for the project. The first volume, covering Navajo and Apache peoples, was published at the end of 1907, but already Morgan's funding was incapable of meeting Curtis's needs. Despite heaping praise from society's elite, Curtis spent much of his time struggling to find people and institutions willing to subscribe to the expensive set of volumes. After the initial five years, only eight of the proposed twenty volumes had been completed. Fieldwork and publication continued with the support of J. P. Morgan, but Curtis's home life suffered because of his prolonged absences.

In 1919, Curtis's wife Clara was awarded a divorce settlement which included the entire Curtis studio in Seattle. Exhausted and bankrupt, Edward Curtis moved with his daughter Beth Magnuson to Los Angeles, where they operated a new Curtis Studio and continued work on the volumes; volume 12 was published in 1922. The constant financial strain forced Myers to leave the North American Indian team after volume 18 (fieldwork in 1926) and Curtis made his last trip to photograph and gather data for volume 20 in 1927. After the final volumes were published in 1930, Curtis almost completely faded from public notice until his work was "rediscovered" and popularized in the 1970s.

Curtis's "salvage ethnology," as scholar Mick Gidley describes it, was mildly controversial even during his life and has become ever more so as his legacy deepens. In his quest to photograph pre-colonial Indian life through a twentieth-century lens, he often manipulated and constructed history as much as he recorded it: he staged reenactments, added props, and removed evidence of twentieth-century influences on "primitive" life. Curtis's work continues to shape popular conceptions of American Indians and so, while problematic, his legacy--his vision of American Indian life--continues to be relevant.
Related Materials:
NMAI also holds Edward Curtis photographs documenting the Harriman Expedition (1899) as well as platinum prints and photogravures of the images published in The North American Indian.

The Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Archives holds Edward Curtis prints submitted for copyright (Photo Lot 59) as well as many of his original negatives, photographs, and papers.

Steve Kern donated photogravure plates to the Center for Creative Photography and the Seattle Art Museum at the same time that he donated this set to MAI.
Provenance:
This collection was donated by Steven and Arlene Kern to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, in 1984.
Restrictions:
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: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadcast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Topic:
Indians of North America -- Pictorial works  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photogravures
Photographs
Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs for The North American Indian, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAI.AC.080
See more items in:
Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs for The North American Indian
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sv47bb7e1cf-cd0f-42a1-ac5b-8ee402c1ab8f
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmai-ac-080
Online Media:

Annual Reports

Collection Creator:
Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation  Search this
Collection Director:
Heye, George G. (George Gustav), 1874-1957  Search this
Container:
Box 404, Folder 2
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1921 - 1924
Collection Restrictions:
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: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadcast materials from the collection must be requested from the National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation Records, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation records
Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation records / Series 12: Publications / 12.1: Annual Reports
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sv4fa3c7756-911e-471c-9d6d-53a7a94bf6be
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-001-ref15241
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  • View Annual Reports digital asset number 1

Volume 8

Collection Photographer:
Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952  Search this
Extent:
8 Printing plates
3 Photomechanical prints
Container:
Box 8vo9-8vo10
Box F18-F19
Type:
Archival materials
Photographs
Printing plates
Photomechanical prints
Date:
1909-1910
1899
1905
bulk 1910-1910
Scope and Contents:
This series includes three folio plates and five octavo plates showing bone carvings, beadwork, and portraits of Nimi'ipuu (Nez Perce), Cayuse, Wishram, and Walla Walla (Wallawalla) men and women. It also includes three proofs made by Classic Gravure from plates in the collection.
Collection Restrictions:
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: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Collection Rights:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadcast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Collection Citation:
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs for The North American Indian, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAI.AC.080, Series 8
See more items in:
Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs for The North American Indian
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sv423287e4f-c56f-4aec-8fda-c6e787a76952
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmai-ac-080-ref13

Girl's dress

Culture/People:
Yakama (Yakima)  Search this
Artist/Maker:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
NMAI agent:
Cynthia Chavez Lamar (Cynthia L. Chavez), San Felipe Pueblo  Search this
Seller:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
Object Name:
Girl's dress
Media/Materials:
Cotton cloth, ribbon
Techniques:
Sewn
Dimensions:
64.5 x 86 cm
Object Type:
Clothing/Garments
Place:
Granger; Yakima County; Washington; USA (inferred)
Date created:
2003
Catalog Number:
26/2691
Barcode:
262691.000
See related items:
Yakama (Yakima)
Clothing/Garments
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws68867579c-f35c-40c7-893c-870c5bf5ce61
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_278810
Online Media:

Berry-picking container

Culture/People:
Yakama (Yakima)  Search this
Artist/Maker:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
Donor:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
NMAI agent:
Cynthia Chavez Lamar (Cynthia L. Chavez), San Felipe Pueblo  Search this
Object Name:
Berry-picking container
Media/Materials:
Metal can, rope, commercially tanned leather
Techniques:
Drilled, knotted
Dimensions:
14 x 10.2 x 78.7 cm
Object Type:
Food Gathering and Preparation
Place:
Granger; Yakima County; Washington; USA (inferred)
Date created:
2003
Catalog Number:
26/2701
Barcode:
262701.000
See related items:
Yakama (Yakima)
Food Gathering and Preparation
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6b4ff0a60-e23c-43bc-ad92-938393b7b6d5
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_278820
Online Media:

Basket worn at a woman's waist when digging roots

Culture/People:
Yakama (Yakima)  Search this
Artist/Maker:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
Seller:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
NMAI agent:
Cynthia Chavez Lamar (Cynthia L. Chavez), San Felipe Pueblo  Search this
Object Name:
Basket worn at a woman's waist when digging roots
Media/Materials:
Synthetic fabric, synthetic yarn
Techniques:
Sewn, crocheted, braided
Dimensions:
32 x 30 cm
Object Type:
Bags/Pouches (and parts)
Native Term:
wapaas
Place:
Granger; Yakima County; Washington; USA (inferred)
Date created:
2003
Catalog Number:
26/2702
Barcode:
262702.000
See related items:
Yakama (Yakima)
Bags/Pouches (and parts)
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6a3b22951-742b-4bef-a403-9fbc45f56bbc
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_278821
Online Media:

Basket worn at a woman's waist when picking berries or digging roots

Culture/People:
Yakama (Yakima)  Search this
Artist/Maker:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
Seller:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
Object Name:
Basket worn at a woman's waist when picking berries or digging roots
Media/Materials:
Wool yarn, hemp yarn/twine, deerhide/deerskin
Techniques:
Twined, stitched
Dimensions:
21 x 19.5 x 20 cm
Object Type:
Bags/Pouches (and parts)
Native Term:
wapaas
Place:
Granger; Yakima County; Washington; USA
Date created:
2003
Catalog Number:
26/2959
Barcode:
262959.000
See related items:
Yakama (Yakima)
Bags/Pouches (and parts)
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6883bd8ad-6a46-430c-9ca2-130aff0b1c55
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_279095
Online Media:

Spoon/Ladle

Culture/People:
probably Wasco or Wishram (attributed)  Search this
Previous owner:
Henry Booth, Non-Indian, 1849-1929  Search this
Seller:
Henry Booth, Non-Indian, 1849-1929  Search this
Object Name:
Spoon/Ladle
Media/Materials:
Alder
Techniques:
Carved, chip carved
Dimensions:
24 x 12 x 16 cm
Object Type:
Food/Beverage Serving
Place:
The Dalles; Wasco County; Oregon; USA
Date created:
circa 1870
Catalog Number:
3196
Barcode:
003196.000
See related items:
Wasco
Food/Beverage Serving
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws69f30c2a0-faef-4d34-a940-5d4bd620c0e7
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_3258
Online Media:

Spoon with effigy handle

Culture/People:
probably Wasco or Wishram (attributed)  Search this
Previous owner:
Henry Booth, Non-Indian, 1849-1929  Search this
Seller:
Henry Booth, Non-Indian, 1849-1929  Search this
Object Name:
Spoon with effigy handle
Media/Materials:
Alder
Techniques:
Carved
Dimensions:
18.3 x 11.7 x 10 cm
Object Type:
Food/Beverage Serving
Place:
The Dalles; Wasco County; Oregon; USA
Date created:
circa 1870
Catalog Number:
3198
Barcode:
003198.000
See related items:
Wasco
Food/Beverage Serving
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws61295fc5b-7407-48fc-9452-1c376b454bc5
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_3260
Online Media:

Mnemonic device/record

Culture/People:
Yakama (Yakima)  Search this
Artist/Maker:
Vivian Harrison (StuYat), Yakama (Yakima)/Palouse/Wishram, b. 1945  Search this
Object Name:
Mnemonic device/record
Media/Materials:
Hemp twine/string, glass bead/beads
Techniques:
Braided, lazy/lane stitch beadwork, wrapped
Dimensions:
8.7 x 9.5 cm
Object Type:
Indigenous Knowledge and Records
Place:
Granger; Yakima County; Washington; USA (inferred)
Date created:
2003
Catalog Number:
26/9725
Barcode:
269725.000
See related items:
Yakama (Yakima)
Indigenous Knowledge and Records
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws68b1d034a-66ce-4052-a6b4-12863ca9c341
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_411165

Spoon/Ladle

Culture/People:
possibly Wasco or Wishram (attributed)  Search this
Possible collector:
Richard Coulter Briggs, Non-Indian, 1869-1940  Search this
Previous owner:
Richard Coulter Briggs, Non-Indian, 1869-1940  Search this
Donald Barry, Non-Indian  Search this
Donor:
Donald Barry, Non-Indian  Search this
Object Name:
Spoon/Ladle
Media/Materials:
Mountain sheep horn
Techniques:
Carved, incised
Dimensions:
15.0 x 9.3 x 10.8 cm
Object Type:
Food/Beverage Serving
Place:
Oregon; USA
Date created:
1860-1880
Catalog Number:
27/124
Barcode:
270124.000
See related items:
Wasco
Food/Beverage Serving
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6d071fa10-884b-4a58-af51-4872eb7b94cb
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_415531
Online Media:

Basket bag

Culture/People:
Wishram  Search this
Collector:
Edward Sapir, Non-Indian, 1884-1939  Search this
Seller:
Edward Sapir, Non-Indian, 1884-1939  Search this
Object Name:
Basket bag
Media/Materials:
Vegetal Fiber, cordage
Techniques:
Twined
Object Type:
Containers and Vessels
Place:
South-central Washington; Washington; USA
Catalog Number:
9427
Barcode:
009427.000
See related items:
Wishram
Containers and Vessels
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6bcff41b7-8663-4dc4-b339-f7e6de760888
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_9967
Online Media:

Basket bag

Culture/People:
Wishram  Search this
Collector:
Edward Sapir, Non-Indian, 1884-1939  Search this
Seller:
Edward Sapir, Non-Indian, 1884-1939  Search this
Object Name:
Basket bag
Media/Materials:
Vegetal Fiber, cotton cloth, cordage
Techniques:
Twined, stitched
Object Type:
Containers and Vessels
Place:
South-central Washington; Washington; USA
Catalog Number:
9428
Barcode:
009428.000
See related items:
Wishram
Containers and Vessels
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6fc9608ca-898a-48fd-84d8-9238d1865a0b
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_9968
Online Media:

Basket

Culture/People:
Wishram  Search this
Collector:
Edward Sapir, Non-Indian, 1884-1939  Search this
Seller:
Edward Sapir, Non-Indian, 1884-1939  Search this
Object Name:
Basket
Media/Materials:
Vegetal Fiber, hide
Techniques:
Twined
Object Type:
Containers and Vessels
Place:
South-central Washington; Washington; USA
Catalog Number:
9430
Barcode:
009430.000
See related items:
Wishram
Containers and Vessels
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws61a772e0d-006c-4a58-9b7d-d2e1fa0621fb
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_9970
Online Media:

Basket

Culture/People:
Wishram  Search this
Collector:
Edward Sapir, Non-Indian, 1884-1939  Search this
Seller:
Edward Sapir, Non-Indian, 1884-1939  Search this
Object Name:
Basket
Media/Materials:
Vegetal Fiber, hide
Techniques:
Twined
Object Type:
Containers and Vessels
Place:
South-central Washington; Washington; USA
Catalog Number:
9432
Barcode:
009432.000
See related items:
Wishram
Containers and Vessels
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws60ebc070e-ee8b-497e-8f58-e9cb6195914f
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_9972
Online Media:

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