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News—Wittliff Collections Acquires Majority of Edward S. Curtis’ The North American Indian

Edward S. Curtis, Watching the Dancers, 1922

{above} Edward S. Curtis, Watching the Dancers, 1922


RELEASED October 03, 2016

SAN MARCOS, TX – The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University recently acquired a majority of The North American Indian, photographer Edward S. Curtis’ landmark publication produced between 1907 and 1930. The limited edition set is comprised of 20 bound volumes of text, supplemented with 20 portfolios, all richly illustrated with Curtis’ remarkable photographs. The Wittliff Collections are committed to ultimately acquiring the remaining materials, consisting of one volume and one portfolio, and to constructing a gallery to showcase Curtis’ photographic career.

Intended by Curtis to document the “vanishing race,” The North American Indian, produced in lavish style with the patronage of J. Pierpont Morgan, contains one of the largest visual and ethnographic records of Native Americans in existence. According to author and critic A.D. Coleman, it is “an absolutely unmatched masterpiece of visual anthropology, and one of the most thorough, extensive, and profound photograph works of all time.”

The publication’s bound volumes contain descriptive text of various Native American tribes, ranging from the Plains to the Southwest, Northwest and Alaska. Each volume is richly illustrated with 5”x7” photogravures. The portfolios contain photogravures measuring just over 22”x18”.

The Wittliff Collections are located on the seventh floor of the Albert B. Alkek Library at Texas State University in San Marcos. Visitor information, including hours, directions and parking details, is available on the Wittliff Collections website. Exhibitions and events at the Wittliff Collections are free and open to the public.