This exhibit of landscapes and portraits by Edward S. Curtis features thirty-five photogravure prints selected from The North American Indian, published from 1907 to 1930. The images reveal the significance of the relationship of the native peoples of North America with their ancestral lands. The photogravures are displayed with written passages by Curtis, Chief Joseph, Geronimo, and Red Cloud. Curtis photographed “a broad and luminous picture” of the land and its inhabitants as he traveled from the Pacific Northwest to the desert Southwest, from the Badlands to the Columbia River Plateau, and north to the Alaskan Arctic. The exhibit concludes on Friday, November 16, 2018.
In 1898, the Seattle photographer Edward S. Curtis conceived of the idea to photograph all the surviving tribes of North American Indians living west of the Mississippi River in the United States and in Alaska. The finished work is a set of twenty text volumes, each with an accompanying portfolio volume of photogravure prints. There are more than 2,200 original photogravures in each set, along with nearly 4,000 pages of text that contain a record of the diverse panorama of the native peoples of North America.
The complete set of The North American Indian owned by the University of Pittsburgh was purchased from the Boston rare book dealer, Charles E. Lauriat Company, by the librarian and historian Lois Mulkearn, for the Darlington Memorial Library in May 1949. Of the five-hundred proposed sets, less than three-hundred were printed. The Darlington Memorial Library copy is number 133.
This exhibit, selected and presented by Archives & Special Collections, features original photogravures from The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis from the Darlington Digital Library.
The Library Guide for this exhibit has been constructed by student Patti Smith, Department of Anthropology, under the editorial guidance of Archives & Special Collections staff member Margaret McGill.
The dates on the tabs of the landing pages of the Library Guide correspond to the date range of the printed photogravures that are included within that titled section. We have also incorporated a chronology of the major events in the life of Edward S. Curtis, which progresses over time on the landing pages of this guide.
Each of the twenty text volumes of The North American Indian has a unique native art-inspired device on its title page. The image pictured here is the device from volume one, which we have used throughout the Library Guide.