Beginning in 1901 at the age of 33, Edward S. Curtis
a Seattle portrait photographer, spent 30 years documenting Native North American peoples.

Commissioned by JP Morgan he planned to capture and document what he thought was “The Vanishing Indian”. Guided by this concept, Curtis took over 40,000 images from over 80 tribes and made 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian languages and music. His ethnographies recorded tribal histories as well as described ceremonies, tribal population and customs, foods, clothing and games. In 1930 The North American Indian was published comprising twenty volumes of writing and more than 2,200 sepia toned photographs. After investing decades of his life and his finances in the project, less than 300 copies were sold. Curtis was left bankrupt and divorced and passed away on Oct 19, 1952—his work virtually unknown.

Epic photographic odyssey that documented Native Americans BBC >>&gt