This collection is no longer updated in American Memory. Please visit the up to date presentation: Curtis's North American Indian (external link)
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The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis is one of the most
significant and controversial representations of traditional American
Indian culture ever produced. Issued in a limited edition from
1907-1930, the publication continues to exert a major influence on the
image of Indians in popular culture. Curtis said he wanted to document
"the old time Indian, his dress, his ceremonies, his life and manners."
In over 2000 photogravure plates and narrative, Curtis portrayed the
traditional customs and lifeways of eighty Indian tribes. The twenty
volumes, each with an accompanying portfolio, are organized by tribes and
culture areas encompassing the Great Plains, Great Basin, Plateau Region,
Southwest, California, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. Featured here are
all of the published photogravure images including over 1500
illustrations bound in the text volumes, along with over 700 portfolio
The mission of the Library of Congress is to make its
resources available and useful to Congress and the American people and to
sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity
for future generations. The goal of the Library's National Digital
Library Program is to offer broad public access to a wide range of
historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and
lifelong learning. Digital collections from other institutions complement
and enhance the Library's own resources.
The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record
of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes,
perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress
and Northwestern University do not endorse the views expressed in these
collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.
Edward S. Curtis in Context
Home page for Edward S. Curtis's "The North American Indian" [digital edition] at Northwestern University*
The digitization and presentation of these materials by the Northwestern University
Library was supported by an award from the Library of
Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition.
Links marked * are to web pages mounted at the awardee institution. The full text of Curtis's publication, including all images shown on this site, has been mounted by Northwestern University Library, with funding from IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services).
The source materials for this collection are
housed in the
Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections,
Northwestern University Library.* Inquiries about these
materials should be directed to the
library at Northwestern
University. For information about reproducing material see Sources for Reproductions.
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