Edward Sheriff Curtis

The Native American Portraitist

Born on a Wisconsin farm in 1868, Edward Sheriff Curtis became fascinated with photography early, building his own camera around the age 10. As a teenager his family relocated to Seattle, where he photographed Princess Angeline (aka Kickisomlo), the daughter of the Duwamish chief Seattle, after whom the city was named. Curtis recognized his life's calling as a documentarian of Native American cultures and quickly joined expeditions to Montana and Alaska to do just that.

In 1906, Curtis was approached by the financier J.P. Morgan about funding a project on the indigenous people of the continent. They planned a 20-volume series called The North American Indian, from which the images below are culled. He received no salary for the project, which lasted more than 20 years, during which he created an estimated 40,000 images of over 80 tribes. A photographer turned ethnologist, he also made thousands of recordings of native language and music, and transcribed oral histories.


Apsaroke, 1908


Sioux, 1907


Apache, 1910


Tewa, 1906


Apsaroke, 1908


Cheyenne, circa 1900


Siksika, circa 1910


Arikara, 1907


Wishham, 1911


Jicarilla, 1904


Hopi, circa 1900


Apache, 1905


Hopi, 1922


Koskimo, 1914


Apsaroke, 1908


Zuni, 1926


Nakoaktok, 1914


Qagyuhl, 1914


Qahatika, 1907


Hesquiat, 1916


Nez Perce, 1899


Tewa, 1922


Navajo, 1904


Kwakwaka'wakw, circa 1905


Apsáalooke, 1908


Apsaroke, 1908


Qagyuhl, 1914


Nakoaktok, 1914


Kwakiutl, 1914


Nunivak, 1928


Qagyuhl, 1914


Kwakiutl, 1914


Navajo, 1904


Papago, 1907


Piegan, 1900


Piegan, 1900


Kalispel, circa 1905


Kwakiutl, 1914


Piegan, circa 1900


Wishram, 1911


Nez Perce, 1911





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Mar 05, 2017 15:57:00

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