Edward S Curtis
(1868 - 1952)
Born in 1868 near Whitewater, Wisconsin, Edward Sheriff Curtis was to become one of America’s premier photographers and ethnologists. When the Curtis family moved to Port Orchard, Washington in 1887, Edward’s gift for photography led him to an investigation of Native Americans living on the Seattle waterfront. His photograph, Homeward, won Curtis the highest award in a photographic exhibition contest. Having become well-known for his work with Indigenous Americans, Curtis participated in the 1899 Harriman expedition to Alaska as the lead photographer. He then accompanied George Bird Grinell, editor of Forest and Stream, on a trip to northern Montana. The Two witnessed the deeply sacred Sundance of the Piegan and Blackfoot tribes. Traveling on horseback, with their pack horses trailing behind, they stopped at the precipice. Below them, the view of the valley floor opened up in front of them with over a thousand teepees – an awesome sight to Curtis. This event would transform his life and inspired him to create The North American Indian. Consisting of over 700 large portfolio images, over 1500 volume-size images, and over 7000 pages of text, The North American Indian is a part of American history in both its imagery and its creation.