Today, the American Antiquarian Society is launching a new illustrated inventory featuring photographs of Native Americans from our graphic arts collection. This collection of 225 photographs spans from 1859 to 1910 and makes available photographs of members of thirty-nine tribes. The collection was compiled as a resource decades ago, long before the creation of the Society’s online catalog, and represents just a fraction of the resources documenting Native people in AAS collections. Information on other holdings can be found on our resources page.
The new inventory includes many studio portraits of Native Americans and views of their homes and surroundings. Most were intended for non-Native audiences and were reproduced in government reports, illustrated newspapers, or were mounted as stereo cards for general distribution. Many of the photographs in this collection were included in William Henry Jackson’s Descriptive Catalogue of Photographs of North American Indians (1877). Jackson worked as a photographer for the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey and documented Native Americans across the west. The collection also includes photos from Thompson and Powell’s series U.S. Topographical and Geological Survey of the Colorado River of the West.
If you are interested in nineteenth-century photography, be sure to explore the other visual resources for the Society’s photography collection.