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  • Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology
  • American Indians
    Glass Negatives of Indians (Collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology) 1850s-1930s
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    Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology collector
    Glass Negatives of Indians (Collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology) 1850s-1930s
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    Glass Negatives of Indians (Collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology) 1850s-1930s
    Phy. Description: 
    5588 negatives
    The collection includes original and some copy negatives that have been numbered and cataloged. Virtually all are glass but there are some film negatives. Almost all related to American Indians and include a large number of studio photographs.
    Linking Note: 
    For albums of prints made from the collection when it was in the control of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories, see NAA/MS 4420.
    The beginning of the collection is somewhat obscure, but it primarily involved three men. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, of the United States geological Survey of the Territories, may have priority in the idea of collecting images of Indians in order to make them available to scholars. William Blackmore, an English financier, philanthropist, and founder of the Blackmore Museum in Salisbury, England, came to share Haydenʹs interest either independently or through associations formed on business trips to America during the Civil War. In either case, Blackmore became a supporter of Hayden and furnished much of the money to start the collection. He himself was interested in acquiring photographic prints for his museum.
    Antonio Zeno Shindler, a Washington, D. C., photographer for a short period of time, was associated with Blackmore and held the collection initially. Shindler apparently acquired earlier studio photographs of Indians who visited Washington, and Blackmore allowed him to copy prints that he had been collecting from around the United States. shindler made some negatives that became part of this collection, and Blackmore arranged for many of the other negatives to be made, especially of Indians visiting Washington and New York. Blackmore also provided some field photographs.
    In the early 1870s, the collection passed into the cutody of the Hayden Survey. Added to it were photographs of Indians made by William Henry Jackson, Haydenʹs field photographer on geological expeditions. Hayden also arranged for photographs of Indians to be made in studios in Washington, thereby continuing the efforts of Shindler and Blackmore. When the Hayden Survey was ended in 1879 through the merger of several geological surveys into the United States Survey, the collection passed to John Wesley Powellʹs Bureau of ethnology (later Bureau of Ethnology), an organization under the wing of the Smithsonian Institution that continued the anthropological work begun by the geological surveys.
    Since, after 1881, Powell also served as head of the United States Geological Survey and the survey provided many services for the Bureau of Ethnology, sometimes including photographic services, the collection of Indian negatives appears to have been slowly separated from the survey. Nevertheless, the year 1879 may be taken as the date that much of the Indian photography of Powellʹs own men, especially John K. Hillers, was added to the collection.
    The Bureau of American Ethnology, sometimes aided by other Smithsonian photographers, continued the work of making photographs of Indians who came to Washington, and its staff, collaborators, and contributors made many field photographs that concern American ethnology and archeology. Many of these were added to the collection. In addition, photographic negatives were acquired from various sources, including, for example, images made at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition at Omaha, photographs of artwork in repositories outside Washington, and copies of photographic prints. Although there are other collections of glass negatives in the archives and they continue to be acquired, this particular collection was closed in the early 1970s.
    Finding aids: 
    Card catalog In general, control to item level. Controls glass negatives of Indians as well as many other negatives of the National Anthropological Archives.
    Records on SIRIS not linked to this record.
    Reference prints arranged mostly by tribe or geographic region.
    Catalog Control to item level. Antonio Zeno Shindler, Photographic Portraits of North American Indians in the Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1869. For many negatives dated before 1872.
    Catalog Control to item level. William Henry Jackson, Descriptive Catalogue of the Photographs of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories for the Years 1869 to 1873, United States Geological Survey of the Territories, Miscellaneous Publications, No. 5, Washington, D. C., 1874. For many negatives dated before 1874.
    Annotated publications Negative numbers for images used in publications of the Bureau of American Ethnology have generally been noted in the set of publications in the archives.
    Cite as: 
    Glass Negatives of Indians, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
    American Indians
    Repository Loc: 
    National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, Maryland
    Hayden, F. V. (Ferdinand Vandeveer), 1829-1887 collector
    Blackmore, William collector
    Shindler, Antonio Zeno collector
    Jackson, William Henry
    Powell, John Wesley Major collector
    Hiller, John K.
    United States Geological Survey
    Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Etnology
    United States Geological Survey of the Territories
    Item Information
    National Anthropological ArchivesAdd Copy to MyList

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