Photographers: Edward Sheriff Curtis (United Stares, 1868-1952)

Figure 1.--This beautiful Edward Curtis potrait shows a young Native American woman and her papoose. We do not yet know which tribe she is from.

Edward Sheriff Curtis is an American ethnologist and mist claimed photographer of Native American peoples. He was born in Whitewater Minnesota which at the time was the frontier (1868). His father was a minister, farmer, and American Civil War veteran. As a result of his military service, he proved to weak to sucessfuly operated hus farm and Edward grew up in poverty. He left school in the 6th grade. He developed an interest in photography and built a camera. He appreticed as a photographer's assistance in St. Paul (1874). The family moved to Washington state where Curtis worked in photographic studios as a parner. Curtis met and photographed Princess Angeline (c182096), aka Kickisomlo, the daughter of Chief Sealth of Seattle (1895). This was his first portrait of a Native American. The focus of his career quickly changed from operating a photographic studio to creating a photographic record of the vanishing West and Native American people. Important publicatioins began publishing his work. Most of his Native American photographs were taken after the turn-of-the 20th centuy. As an act of serendipity, just as he began his life's work, lithography created the ability to reproduce photographic images in newspapers, magazines, and books. J.P. Morgan provided Curtis with $75,000, a huge amount at the time, to produce a series on Native Americans (1906). The result is a stunning collection of Native American images.


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Created: 7:33 AM 12/24/2015
Last updated: 7:33 AM 12/24/2015