Captured: North American Indian Photographs by Edward Curtis   Leave a comment

In 1906, American photographer Edward S. Curtis was offered $75,000 to document North American Indians. The benefactor, J.P Morgan, was to receive 25 sets of the completed series of 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs entitled The North American Indian. Curtis set out to photograph the North American Indian way of life at a time when Native Americans were being forced from their land and stripped of their rights. Curtis’ photographs depicted a romantic version of the culture which ran contrary to the popular view of Native Americans as savages.

Born in 1868 in Wisconsin, Curtis moved with his father to the Washington territory in 1887 where he began working at a photography studio in the frontier city of Seattle. Curtis began work on his series in 1895 by photographing Princess Angeline, the daughter of Chief Sealth and published the first volume of The North American Indian in 1907. The last volume wasn’t published until 1930. In more than three decades of work documenting Native Americans, Curtis traveled from the Great Plains to the mountainous west, and from the Mexican border to western Canada to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska.

Below are selected images of the Native American way of life chosen from The Library of Congress’s Edward S. Curtis Collection. Some were published in The North American Indian but most were not published. All the captions are original to Edward Curtis.

 

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

1

Title: Sioux chiefs. Date Created/Published: c1905. Summary: Photograph shows three Native Americans on horseback. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

2

Title: Ready for the throw–Nunivak. Date Created/Published: c1929 February 28. Summary: Eskimo man seated in a kayak prepares to throw spear. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

3

Title: The mealing trough–Hopi. Date Created/Published: c1906. Summary: Four young Hopi Indian women grinding grain. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

4

Title: The scout in winter–Apsaroke. Date Created/Published: c1908 July 6. Summary: Apsaroke man on horseback on snow-covered ground, probably in Pryor Mountains, Montana. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

5

Title: At the old well of Acoma Date Created/Published: c1904 November 12. Summary: Acoma girl, seated on rock, watches as another girl fills a pottery vessel with water from a pool. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

6

Title: Mizheh and babe. Date Created/Published: c1906 December 19. Summary: Apache woman, at base of tree, holding infant in cradleboard in her lap. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

7

Title: On the Little Big Horn. Date Created/Published: c1908 July 6. Summary: Horses wading in water next to a Crow tipi encampment. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

8

Title: When winter comes. Date Created/Published: c1908 July 6. Summary: Dakota woman, carrying firewood in snow, approaches tipi. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

9

Title: A burial platform–Apsaroke. Date Created/Published: c1908 July 6. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

10

Title: The Oath–Apsaroke. Date Created/Published: c1908 November 19. Summary: Three Apsaroke men gazing skyward, two holding rifles, one with object skewered on arrow pointed skyward, bison skull at their feet. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

11

Title: Drilling ivory–King Island. Date Created/Published: c1929 February 28. Summary: Eskimo man, wearing hooded parka, manually drilling an ivory tusk. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

Captured: Edward Curtis Photographs

12

Title: Drying meat. Date Created/Published: c1908 November 19. Summary: Two Dakota women hanging meat to dry on poles, tent in background. Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, Curtis (Edward S.) Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/captured/2010/11/15/north-american-indian-photographs-by-edward-curtis/2551/

 

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