Edward S. Curtis
A photographer of the American West
, Edward Sheriff Curtis
is best known for his many images of Native Americans
In 1906 J.P. Morgan offered Curtis $75,000 to produce a series on North American Indians. The series was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs, with Morgan was to receiving 25 sets of the series and 500 original prints. During the work, Curtis took over 40,000 photographs from over 80 tribes. When completed, 222 sets were published, which not only held photographs; but, also documentation on Native American traditional life, biographical sketches, tribal lore and history, and descriptions of traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs. In some cases, his documentation is the only recorded history. Edward's goal was to document the way of life before it disappeared, writing in the introduction to his first volume in 1907: "The information that is to be gathered ... respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost."