Native American Photographs

Photographs of Native Americans of Northwest California

fanny_flounderHistoric photographs from the golden age of Indian photographs (1870-1929) are featured. Many of the photographs included in the exhibition and in the 107 page catalog are little known and previously unpublished. Several of the photographs were newly discovered in various Smithsonian archives. Women photographers are highly represented in the photographs of Emma Freeman, Grace Nicholson, Nellie McGraw, and Ruth Roberts. The earliest series of Native American photographs by Alexander Chase from 1870 has special emphasis as well as early tintypes and the masterly photographs of A. W. Ericson. Various approaches to photography of this period are highly represented: artistic, anthropological, beauty, documentary, missionary, commercial, and friendship photographs. The exhibition includes a sampling of original tintypes, postcards, and master-prints as well as reprinted digital scans from seventeen museums, libraries, and private collections. This is a first of its kind view of early Indian photographs not to be missed.

For more information on this topic, see Ron Johnson’s essay on the Luddington family.