1868 – Photographer Edward S. Curtis Born

On this date Edward Sheriff Curtis was born near Whitewater. As a young boy, he taught himself photography. His family eventually moved to the Puget Sound area of Washington state. He settled in Seattle and opened a photography studio in 1897. A chance meeting on Mount Rainier resulted in Curtis being appointed official photographer on railroad magnate E.H. Harriman’s expedition to Alaska. Curtis also accompanied George Bird Grinnell, editor of Field and Stream magazine, to Montana in 1900 to observe the Blackfoot Sun Dance. After this, Curtis strove to comprehensively document American Indians through photography, a project that continued for over 30 years. Working primarily with 6 x 8-inch reflex camera, he created over 40,000 sepia-toned images. His work attracted national attention, most notably from Theodore Roosevelt and J. Pierpont Morgan, whose family contributed generously to his project. His monumental work, , was eventually printed in 20 volumes with associated portfolios. Curtis’ work included portraits, scenes of daily life, ceremonies, architecture and artifacts, and landscapes. His photographs have recently been put online by the .[Source: , SHSW 1960, pg. 892]