Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian

Related Resources

In American Memory

Other Online Resources at the Library of Congress

Other Resources at the Library of Congress

On the World Wide Web beyond the Library of Congress

In American Memory

Other Collections Illustrating the American Indian Experience

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest
This digital collection integrates over 2,300 photographs and 7,700 pages of text relating to the American Indians in two cultural areas of the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest Coast and Plateau. These resources illustrate many aspects of life and work, including housing, clothing, crafts, transportation, education, and employment. The materials are drawn from the extensive collections of the University of Washington Libraries, the Cheney Cowles Museum/Eastern Washington State Historical Society in Spokane, and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.

Omaha Indian Music
Omaha Indian Music features traditional Omaha music from the 1890s and 1980s. The multiformat ethnographic field collection contains 44 wax cylinder recordings collected by Francis La Flesche and Alice Cunningham Fletcher between 1895 and 1897, 323 songs and speeches from the 1983 Omaha harvest celebration pow-wow, and 25 songs and speeches from the 1985 Hethu'shka Society concert at the Library of Congress. Segments from interviews with members of the Omaha tribe conducted in 1983 and 1999 provide contextual information for the songs and speeches included in the collection. Supplementing the collection are black-and-white and color photographs taken during the 1983 pow-wow and the 1985 concert, as well as research materials that include fieldnotes and tape logs pertaining to the pow-wow.

Additional Online Resources at the Library of Congress

Meeting of Frontiers
Meeting of Frontiers is a bilingual English-Russian collaboration. It tells the story of the American exploration and settlement of the West, the parallel exploration and settlement of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and the meeting of the Russian-American frontier in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The narrative sections are illustrated and supplemented by digital reproductions of books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, sound recordings, and early movies. Among the illustrative collections are two that feature photographs of American Indians:

Images of Indians of North America
The Prints and Photographs Division preserves and makes available more than 17,000 pictorial records of Native American people. Most of the images are photographs made between 1860 and 1940. Other material includes drawings, engravings, lithographs, posters, and architectural drawings. An overview of this material and guide to access is available online.

Indian Land Cessions in the United States
United States Serial Set Number 4015 contains the second part of the two-part Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1896-97 by J.W. Powell, Director. It features sixty-seven maps and schedules of treaties and land cessions compiled by Charles C. Royce, with an introductory essay by Cyrus Thomas.

Other Resources at the Library of Congress

In the Prints and Photographs Division

The Prints and Photographs Division Edward S. Curtis Collection consists of more than 2,400 silver-gelatin, first generation prints--some of which are sepia-toned--made from Curtis's original glass negatives. About two-thirds of these images were not published in the North American Indian volumes and therefore offer a different and unique glimpse into Curtis's work with Native cultures. Acquired by the Library of Congress through copyright deposit, the dates on the images reflect date of registration, not when the photograph was actually taken. Arranged in twenty-two groups (LOTs), primarily on the basis of geographical location, most of the photographic prints are 5"x7" although nearly one hundred are 11"x14" and larger. Although the Prints and Photographs Division does not hold any of the few existing original glass negatives, reproductions of the photographic prints can be made from the Library's copy negatives. Many Curtis images can be viewed in digitized form in the Prints and Photographs Division online catalog. In addition to a search screen, the catalog provides extensive information about the Edward S. Curtis Collection, including a biographical sketch, information about how to order reproductions, rights information, and a bibliography. Also available are a selection of images with historical context and a Tribe Index. For each tribe, the index links to a record for the relevant LOT; a further link enables one to view any of the items from the LOT that have so far been cataloged online and digitized.

In the Rare Book and Special Collections Division

The Library of Congress holds a complete copy of The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis.

On the World Wide Web beyond the Library of Congress

Photography of American Indians
Richard Throssel: Photographer of the Crows. (American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming)
Richard Throssel was a contemporary and colleague of Edward Curtis. This site contains sixteen images depicting individuals and scenes from southeastern Montana.

Hannah and Richard Maynard. (British Columbia Archives)
Database of about 110,000 photographs taken by Hannah and Richard Maynard in British Columbia during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Some are of American Indians and Indian cultural artifacts. A keyword search using the term "Indian" retrieves more than 3000 images.

Photography Collection. (Denver Public Library)
A selection of historic photographs (about 70,000) from the collections of the Denver Public Library Western History/Genealogy Department and the Colorado Historical Society. Current on-line collection contains images and catalog records of Native Americans, pioneers, early railroads, mining, Denver and Colorado towns.

Benedicte Wrensted: An Idaho Photographer in Focus. (Idaho Museum of Natural History)
A site describing Benedicte Wrensted's photographic portraits of Indians from southeastern Idaho taken in 1890s-1910s. The site provides about 30 sample photographs. Includes notes on "Reading Historical Photographs," which contrast poses used for Euro-Americans and Native portrait subjects. Some of Wrensted's photographs were used in the Handbook of the North American Indian.

Reading Photographs. (William Hammond Mathers Museum)
An illustrated essay exploring some of the potential uses of photographs as documents through an examination of the Wanamaker Collection of American Indian photographs at the William Hammond Mathers Museum in Bloomington, Indiana. Provides an extensive description of the history of photographic documentation of Indian life, including use of studio props and manipulation techniques. Includes bibliography.

Photographic Resources Guide to the North American Collection. (Peabody Museum, Harvard University)
Includes online finding aids and some sample images. The archival collection (not online) totals about half a million photographs of field work from around the world.

Native American Photographs: Nineteenth Century Images From The Collections. (Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford)
An introductory description to the collection of Native American photographs (with about 20 sample images) held at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England.

Women Photographers and the American Indian. (Women in Photography Archive)
Bibliography and some biographical descriptions of thirteen women who photographed Indian life in the late 19th and early 20th century. Some sample photographs. Text from Rendezvous 28:1&2 (Fall/Spring 1992/3).

Adam Clark Vroman. (University of California, Riverside)
Photos of Southwest missions, and some portraits of American Indians.

Native American Collection. (University of Utah)
Includes a list of 121 photographs, with only a few sample images online. Most of the photographs are copies of originals in the Smithsonian Institution.

Edward Curtis (PBS American Masters Series)
Biographical material and lesson plans to supplement the documentary film "Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indians," by Anne Makepeace, which premiered in the PBS "American Masters" series on April 23, 2001.

Dawn of a New Day (Arizona State University Libraries, Department of Archives and Manuscripts)
A photographic exhibition organized from six archival collections. Five individuals and one family who worked and sometimes lived among American Indians donated historical images that reveal cultural forces at work during the first half of the 20th Century.

Gallery of the Open Frontier (The University of Nebraska Press in conjunction with the National Archives)
Largely drawn largely from the collections of the National Archives, this web exhibit and database indexes over 23,000 images of life west of the Mississippi up to 1917. Work by individual photographers and government agencies, including over 2,500 photographs from records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Indian Peoples of the Northern Great Plains -- Online Image Database (Montana State University et al)
Includes photographs, ledger drawings, and other sketches of Plains Indian cultures from: the library collections of three Montana State University campuses ( Bozeman, Billings, and Havre); the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman; and Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, Montana. The digital collection was created in consultation with Native Americans, educators, librarians, and historians.

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