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M-210: Edward S. Curtis Collection

HISTORY: Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868-1952) was not only one of America's first important photographers, but an important ethnographer, as well. Shortly before the turn of the century, Curtis began a thirty-year quest to document in words and pictures the last surviving traditions of the North American Indian tribes. The result was a massive twenty-volume encylopedia--each volume accompanied by a large portfolio of photogravures--published from 1907 to 1930. Entitled The North American Indian, only 272 sets were printed and sold to subscribers due to insufficient demand and appreciation at the time of Curtis' important role in preserving the historic traditions of the American Indian. The Mercantile Library was a subscriber and thus owns one of those sets.

SCOPE: The North American Indian (1907-30) portfolios is an important visual resource for the study of travel, the American West, Native Americans, as well as the photographic arts. Views include the Southwest, the Kwakiutl Tribe on the Pacific Coast; and traditional Native American life.

HOLDINGS: Set of 20 volumes of text; set of 20 portfolios nearly complete (lacking volume 7) with approximately 2500 photogravures

ACCESS: Some of the material in Special Collection M-210 may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, subject to condition.

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