Edward S. Curtis
|Edward Sheriff Curtis|
Self-portrait circa 1889
February 16, 1868|
Whitewater, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||October 19, 1952
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Children||Harold Curtis (1893–?)
Elizabeth M. Curtis (1896–1973) a/k/a Beth Magnusson
Florence Curtis Graybill (1899–1987)
Katherine Curtis (1909–?)
|Parents||Ellen Sheriff (1844–1912)
Johnson Asahel Curtis (1840–1887)
Early life 
Edward Curtis was born on a farm near Whitewater, Wisconsin. His father, the Reverend Asahel "Johnson" Curtis (1840–1887), was a minister, farmer, and American Civil War veteran born in Ohio. His mother, Ellen Sheriff (1844–1912), was born in Pennsylvania. Curtis's siblings were Raphael (1862 – c. 1885), also called Ray; Edward, called Eddy; Eva (1870–?); and Asahel Curtis (1874–1941). Weakened by his experiences in the Civil War, Johnson Curtis had difficulty in managing his farm, resulting in hardship and poverty for his family.
Around 1874 the family moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota to join Johnson Curtis's father, Asahel Curtis, who ran a grocery store and was a postmaster in Le Sueur County. Curtis left school in the sixth grade and soon built his own camera.
Early career 
In 1885 at the age of seventeen Edward became an apprentice photographer in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1887 the family moved to Seattle, Washington, where Edward purchased a new camera and became a partner in an existing photographic studio with Rasmus Rothi. Edward paid $150 for his 50 percent share in the studio. After about six months, Curtis left Rothi and formed a new partnership with Thomas Guptill. The new studio was called Curtis and Guptill, Photographers and Photoengravers.
In 1895 Curtis met and photographed Princess Angeline (c. 1800–1896), aka Kickisomlo, the daughter of Chief Sealth of Seattle. This was to be his first portrait of a Native American. In 1898, three of Curtis' images were chosen for an exhibition sponsored by the National Photographic Society. Two were images of Princess Angeline, "The Mussel Gatherer", and "The Clam Digger". The other was of the Puget Sound, titled "Homeward". The latter was awarded the exhibition's grand prize and a gold medal. In that same year, while photographing Mt. Rainier, Curtis came upon a small group of scientists. One of them was George Bird Grinnell, an expert on Native Americans. Curtis was appointed Official Photographer to the Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899, probably as a result of his friendship with George Bird Grinnell. Having very little formal education Curtis learned much during the lectures that were given aboard the ship each evening of the voyage. Grinnell became interested in Curtis' photography and invited him to join an expedition to photograph the Blackfeet Indians in Montana in the year 1900.
The North American Indian 
In 1906 J. P. Morgan provided Curtis with $75,000 to produce a series on the North American Indian. This work was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs. Morgan's funds were to be disbursed over five years and were earmarked to support only fieldwork for the books not for writing, editing, or production of the volumes. Curtis himself would receive no salary for the project, which was to last more than 20 years. Under the terms of the arrangement, Morgan was to receive 25 sets and 500 original prints as his method of repayment.
Once Curtis had secured funding for the project, he was able to hire several employees to help him. For writing as well as with recording Native American languages, Curtis hired a former journalist, William E. Myers. For general assistance with logistics and fieldwork, Curtis hired Bill Phillips, a graduate of the University of Washington. Perhaps the most important hire for the success of the project was Frederick Webb Hodge, an anthropologist employed by the Smithsonian who had also researched Native American peoples of the southwestern United States. Hodge was hired to edit the entire series.
222 complete sets were eventually published. Curtis' goal was not just to photograph, but to document, as much American Indian (Native American) traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared. He wrote 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." Curtis made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian language and music. He took over 40,000 photographic images from over 80 tribes. He recorded tribal lore and history, and he described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs. He wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders, and his material, in most cases, is the only written recorded history although there is still a rich oral tradition that documents history. This work was exhibited at the Rencontres d'Arles festival (France) in 1973.
In the Land of the Head Hunters 
Curtis had been using motion picture cameras in the fieldwork for The North American Indian since 1906. He worked extensively with ethnographer and British Columbia native George Hunt in 1910, which inspired his work with the Kwakiutl, but much of their collaboration remains unpublished. At the end of 1912, Curtis decided to create a feature film depicting Native American life, partly as a way of improving his financial situation and partly because film technology had improved to the point where it was conceivable to create and screen films more than a few minutes long. Curtis chose the Kwakiutl tribe of the Queen Charlotte Strait region of the Central Coast of British Columbia, Canada, for his subject. This film, titled In the Land of the Head Hunters, was the first feature-length film whose cast was composed entirely of Native North Americans
In the Land of the Head-Hunters premiered simultaneously at the Casino Theatre in New York and the Moore Theatre in Seattle on December 7, 1914. The silent film was accompanied by a score composed by John J. Braham, a musical theater composer who had also worked with Gilbert and Sullivan. The film was praised by critics but made only $3,269.18 in its initial run.
Later years 
Around 1922 Curtis moved to Los Angeles with his daughter Beth, and opened a new photo studio. To earn money he worked as an assistant cameraman for Cecil B. DeMille and was an uncredited assistant cameraman in the 1923 filming of The Ten Commandments. On October 16, 1924 Curtis sold the rights to his ethnographic motion picture In the Land of the Head-Hunters to the American Museum of Natural History. He was paid $1,500 for the master print and the original camera negative. It had cost him over $20,000 to film.
In 1927 after returning from Alaska to Seattle with his daughter Beth, he was arrested for failure to pay alimony over the preceding 7 years. The total owed was $4,500, but the charges were dropped. For Christmas of 1927, the family was reunited at daughter Florence's home in Medford, Oregon. This was the first time since the divorce that Curtis was with all of his children at the same time, and it had been thirteen years since he had seen Katherine. In 1928, desperate for cash, Edward sold the rights to his project to J.P Morgan's son. In 1930 he published the concluding volume of The North American Indian. In total about 280 sets were sold of his now completed opus magnum. In 1930 his ex-wife, Clara, was still living in Seattle operating the photo studio with their daughter Katherine. His other daughter, Florence Curtis, was still living in Medford, Oregon with her husband Henry Graybill. After Clara died of heart failure in 1932, his daughter Katherine moved to California to be closer to her father and her sister Beth.
Loss of rights to The North American Indian 
In 1935 the Morgan estate sold the rights and remaining unpublished material to the Charles E. Lauriat Company in Boston for $1,000 plus a percentage of any future royalties. This included 19 complete bound sets of The North American Indian, thousands of individual paper prints, the copper printing plates, the unbound printed pages, and the original glass-plate negatives. Lauriat bound the remaining loose printed pages and sold them with the completed sets. The remaining material remained untouched in the Lauriat basement in Boston until they were rediscovered in 1972.
Personal life 
Marriage and divorce 
In 1892 Edward married Clara J. Phillips (1874–1932), who was born in Pennsylvania. Her parents were from Canada. Together they had four children: Harold Curtis (1893–?); Elizabeth M. (Beth) Curtis (1896–1973), who married Manford E. Magnuson (1895–1993); Florence Curtis (1899–1987) who married Henry Graybill (1893–?); and Katherine (Billy) Curtis (1909–?).
In 1896 the entire family moved to a new house in Seattle. The household then included Edward's mother, Ellen Sheriff; Edward's sister, Eva Curtis; Edward's brother, Asahel Curtis; Clara's sisters, Susie and Nellie Phillips; and Nellie's son, William.
During the years of work on the "North American Indian", Curtis was often absent from home for most of the year, leaving Clara to manage the children and the studio by herself. After several years of estrangement, Clara filed for divorce on October 16, 1916. In 1919 she was granted the divorce and received the Curtis' photographic studio and all of his original camera negatives as her part of the settlement. Edward went with his daughter, Beth, to the studio and destroyed all of his original glass negatives, rather than have them become the property of his ex-wife, Clara. Clara went on to manage the Curtis studio with her sister, Nellie M. Phillips (1880–?), who was married to Martin Lucus (1880–?). Following the divorce, the two oldest daughters, Beth and Florence, remained in Seattle, living in a boarding house separate from their mother. The youngest daughter, Katherine Curtis lived with Clara in Charleston, Kitsap County, Washington.
On October 19, 1952, at the age of 84, Curtis died of a heart attack in Whittier, California in the home of his daughter, Beth. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. His terse obituary appeared in The New York Times on October 20, 1952:
Edward S. Curtis, internationally known authority on the history of the North American Indian, died today at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Bess Magnuson. His age was 84. Mr. Curtis devoted his life to compiling Indian history. His research was done under the patronage of the late financier, J. Pierpont Morgan. The foreward [sic] for the monumental set of Curtis books was written by President Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Curtis was also widely known as a photographer.
Collections of Curtis materials 
Curtis Library at Northwestern University 
The entire twenty volumes of narrative text and photogravure images for each volume are online . Each volume is also accompanied by the portfolio of large photogravure plates. The online publishing was supported largely by funds from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Curtis Archive at the Library of Congress 
The Prints and Photographs Division Curtis collection consists of more than 2,400 silver-gelatin, first generation photographic prints – some of which are sepia-toned – made from Curtis's original glass negatives. Most are 5 by 7 inches (13 cm × 18 cm) although nearly 100 are 11 by 14 inches (28 cm × 36 cm) and larger; many include the Curtis file or negative number within the image at the lower left-hand corner.
The Library of Congress acquired these images through copyright deposit from about 1900 through 1930. The dates on them reflect date of registration, not when the photographs were taken. About two-thirds (1,608) of these images were not published in the North American Indian volumes and therefore offer a different and unique glimpse into Curtis's work with indigenous cultures. The original glass plate negatives which had been stored and nearly forgotten in the basement of New York's Morgan Library were dispersed during World War II. Many others were destroyed and some were sold as junk.
Charles Lauriat archive 
Around 1970, Karl Kernberger of Santa Fe, New Mexico went to Boston to search for Curtis' original copper plates and photogravures at the Charles E. Lauriat rare bookstore. He discovered almost 285,000 original photogravures as well as all the original copper plates. With Jack Loeffler and David Padwa, they jointly purchased all of the surviving Curtis material that was owned by Charles Emelius Lauriat (1874–1937). The collection was later purchased by another group of investors led by Mark Zaplin of Santa Fe. The Zaplin Group owned the plates until 1982, when they sold them to a California group led by Kenneth Zerbe, the current owner of the plates as of 2005.
Peabody Essex Museum 
Dr. Charles Goddard Weld purchased 110 prints that Curtis had made for his 1905–1906 exhibit and donated them to the Peabody Essex Museum, where they remain. The 14" by 17" prints are each unique and remain in pristine condition. Clark Worswick, curator of photography for the museum, describes them as:
...Curtis' most carefully selected prints of what was then his life’s work...certainly these are some of the most glorious prints ever made in the history of the photographic medium. The fact that we have this man’s entire show of 1906 is one of the minor miracles of photography and museology.
Revival of interest 
Though Curtis was largely forgotten at the time of his death, interest in his work revived in the 1970s. Major exhibitions of Curtis photographs were presented at the The Morgan Library & Museum (1971), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1972), and the University of California Irvine (1976). His work was also featured in several anthologies on Native American photography published in the early 1970s. Original printings of The North American Indian began to fetch high prices at auction. In 1972, a complete set sold for $20,000. Five years later, another set was auctioned for $60,500. The revival of interest in Curtis's work can be seen as part of a larger increase in visibility of Native American issues during this period.
Critical reception 
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Curtis has been praised as a gifted photographer but also criticized by professional ethnologists for manipulating his images. Curtis' photographs have been charged with misrepresenting Native American people and cultures by portraying them in the popular notions and stereotypes of the times. Although the early twentieth century was a difficult time for most Native communities in America, not all natives were doomed to becoming a "vanishing race." At a time when natives' rights were being denied and their treaties were unrecognized by the federal government, many natives were successfully adapting to western society. By reinforcing the native identity as the noble savage and a tragic vanishing race, some believe Curtis detracted attention from the true plight of American natives at the time when he was witnessing their squalid conditions on reservations first-hand and their attempt to find their place in Western culture and adapt to their changing world.
In many of his images Curtis removed parasols, suspenders, wagons, and other traces of Western material culture from his pictures. In his photogravure In a Piegan Lodge, published in The North American Indian, Curtis retouched the image to remove a clock between the two men seated on the ground.
He also is known to have paid natives to pose in staged scenes, wear historically inaccurate dress and costumes, dance and partake in simulated ceremonies. In Curtis' picture Oglala War-Party, the image shows 10 Oglala men wearing feather headdresses, on horseback riding down hill. The photo caption reads, "a group of Sioux warriors as they appeared in the days of inter tribal warfare, carefully making their way down a hillside in the vicinity of the enemy's camp". In truth, headdresses would have only been worn during special occasions and, in some tribes, only by the chief of the tribe. The photograph was taken in 1907 when natives had been relegated onto reservations and warring between tribes had ended. Curtis paid natives to pose as warriors at a time when they lived with little dignity, rights, and freedoms. It is therefore suggested that he altered and manipulated his pictures to create an ethnographic simulation of native tribes untouched by Western society.
It is doubtful that Curtis did anything disreputable or intentionally misleading considering his lifelong diligence to this art. His obvious intention was to showcase the American Indian in "their own element" as accurately as possible which provided the only credible motive to his removing Western materials, e.g. "a clock", from his photographs which were out of place anachronistically with "pure" Indian culture. The same motivation can be applied to costuming and posing of the native Americans which, contrary to his intention of exposé, gave the impression of idealism beyond his actual intention of realism, albeit euphemistic.
One of the more balanced reviews of The North American Indian comes from Mick Gidley, Emeritus Professor of American Literature, at Leeds University, in England, who has written a number of works related to the life of Edward S. Curtis: "The North American Indian—extensively produced and issued in a severely limited edition—could not prove popular. But in recent years anthropologists and others, even when they have censured what they have assumed were Curtis' methodological assumptions or quarrelled with the text's conclusions, have begun to appreciate the value of the project's achievement: exhibitions have been mounted, anthologies of pictures have been published, and The North American Indian has increasingly been cited in the researches of others... The North American Indian is not monolithic or merely a monument. It is alive, it speaks, if with several voices, and among those perhaps mingled voices are those of otherwise silent or muted Indian individuals.”
Of the full Curtis opus N. Scott Momaday says: “Taken as a whole, the work of Edward S. Curtis is a singular achievement. Never before have we seen the Indians of North America so close to the origins of their humanity...Curtis’ photographs comprehend indispensable images of every human being at every time in every place”
Don Gulbrandsen, who wrote Edward Sheriff Curtis: Visions of the First Americans, puts it this way in his introductory essay on Curtis’ life: “The faces stare out at you, images seemingly from an ancient time and from a place far, far away…Yet as you gaze at the faces the humanity becomes apparent, lives filled with dignity but also sadness and loss, representatives of a world that has all but disappeared from our planet.”
In Shadow Catcher: The Life and Work of Edward S. Curtis, Laurie Lawlor reveals that “many Native Americans Curtis photographed called him Shadow Catcher. But the images he captured were far more powerful than mere shadows. The men, women, and children in The North American Indian seem as alive to us today as they did when Curtis took their pictures in the early part of the twentieth century. Curtis respected the Indians he encountered and was willing to learn about their culture, religion and way of life. In return the Indians respected and trusted him. When judged by the standards of his time, Curtis was far ahead of his contemporaries in sensitivity, tolerance, and openness to Native American cultures and ways of thinking.”
Theodore Roosevelt, who was one of Curtis' contemporaries and one of his most strident supporters, wrote the following comments in the foreword to Volume I of The North American Indian:
In Mr. Curtis we have both an artist and a trained observer, whose work has far more than mere accuracy, because it is truthful. …because of his extraordinary success in making and using his opportunities, has been able to do what no other man ever has done; what, as far as we can see, no other man could do. Mr. Curtis in publishing this book is rendering a real and great service; a service not only to our own people, but to the world of scholarship everywhere.
Image gallery 
Apache Scout, c.1900s
Apache, Morning bath, c. 1907
A smoky day at the Sugar Bowl--Hupa, c. 1923. Hupa man with spear, standing on rock midstream, in background, fog partially obscures trees on mountainsides.
Navajo medicine man – Nesjaja Hatali, c. 1907. Description by Edward S. Curtis: A well-known Navaho medicine-man. While in the Cañon de Chelly the writer witnessed a very interesting four days' ceremony given by the Wind Doctor. Nesjaja Hatali was also assistant medicine-man in two nine days' ceremonies studied – one in Cañon del Muerto and the other in this portfolio (No. 39) is reproduced from one made and used by this priest-doctor in the Mountain Chant.
Crow's Heart, Mandan, c.1908
Food caches, Hooper Bay, Alaska, c.1929
Mandan girls gathering berries, c. 1908
Mandan hunter with buffalo skull, c. 1909
Zuni Girl with Jar, c. 1903. Head-and-shoulders portrait of Zuni girl with pottery jar on her head.
Navajo Flocks, c.1904. Description by Edward S. Curtis: The Navaho might as well be called the "Keepers of Flocks". Their sheep are of the greatest importance to their existence, and in the care and management of their flocks they exhibit a thrift not to be found in the average tribe.
Navajo Weaver, c. 1907. Description by Edward S. Curtis: The Navaho-land blanket looms are in evidence everywhere. In the winter months they are set up in the hogans, but during the summer they are erected outdoors under an improvised shelter, or, as in this case, beneath a tree. The simplicity of the loom and its product are here clearly shown, pictured in the early morning light under a large cottonwood.
Geronimo – Apache (1905), Description by Edward S. Curtis: This portrait of the historical old Apache was made in March, 1905. According to Geronimo's calculation he was at the time seventy-six years of age, thus making the year of his birth 1829. The picture was taken at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the day before the inauguration of President Roosevelt, Geronimo being one of the warriors who took part in the inaugural parade at Washington.
Boys in kayak, Nunivak, 1930
Hopi mother, 1922
Hopi girl, 1922
- 1868 Curtis is born near Whitewater, Wisconsin and grows up near Cordova, Minnesota.
- 1887 Curtis moves to Washington Territory with his father Johnson.
- 1891 Curtis buys into a photo studio with Rothi, and later starts a new photographic studio in Seattle with Guptill.
- 1895 Curtis meets and photographs Princess Angeline (c1800-1896) aka Kickisomlo, the daughter of Chief Sealth of Seattle.
- 1896 Curtis and Guptill win the bronze medal at the National Photographers Convention in Chautauqua, New York. Argus magazine declares them the leading photographers in Puget Sound. Beth, the Curtis' 2nd child and 1st daughter is born. The Curtis family moves to a larger house where they are joined by Edward's mother Ellen, sister Eva, brother Asahel, Clara's sister Susie, her cousin Nellie Philips and Nellie's son William. The entire family works at one time or another in the Curtis studio.
- 1898 On Mount Rainier, Curtis meets a group of scientists, including anthropologist George Bird Grinnell and C. Hart Merriam.
- 1899 Curtis is appointed official photographer for E. H. Harriman's Alaska Expedition.
- 1900 Curtis accompanies George Bird Grinnell to the Piegan Reservation in northwest Montana to photograph the Sun Dance ceremony.
- 1903 Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé visits the Curtis studio and has his portrait taken. Curtis hires Adolph Muhr (?-1912) to run the studio while he is away working on photography and trying to get financing in New York and Washington, D.C..
- 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt invites Curtis to photograph his children after seeing Curtis' winning photograph in "The Prettiest Children in America" contest published in Ladies' Home Journal.
- 1904 Louisa Morgan Satterlee, daughter of financier J.P. Morgan, purchases Curtis photographs at an exhibit in New York City.
- 1906 Curtis secures funds from J.P. Morgan for the field work to produce a twenty volume illustrated text American Indians, to be completed in five years.
- 1907 Volume 1 of The North American Indian is published, with a foreword by Theodore Roosevelt.
- 1908 Volume 2 published
- 1911 Curtis launches The Indian Picture Opera a lecture and slide show, to publicize his work, and solicit subscriptions for The North American Indian. Original Music was composed by Henry Gilbert, and 22 piece orchestra accompanied the production. The Indian Picture Opera performed through the end of 1912.
- 1912 Volume 8 published
- 1913 J.P. Morgan dies, but his son decides to continue funding The North American Indian until finished.
- 1913 Volume 9 published.
- 1914 Curtis releases In the Land of the Head-Hunters, a motion picture depicting Native Americans of the Northwest Coast.
- 1915 Volume 10 and 11 published. No additional volumes published for the next six years.
- 1916 Clara Curtis files for divorce.
- 1916 Curtis works on the Orotone photographic process where glass plate positive images are made by printing a reversed image on glass and then backing it with a mixture of powdered gold pigment and banana oil.
- 1919 Divorce granted.
- 1920 Clara living in Charleston, Kitsap County, Washington with her married sister.
- 1920 Curtis and daughter Beth move from Seattle to Los Angeles. Curtis finances fieldwork by working in his new studio and in Hollywood as a still photographer and assistant movie camera operator for major studios.
- 1922 Volume 12 published.
- 1924 Curtis sells rights to his film to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
- 1926 Volume 16 published.
- 1927 Curtis' Alaska trip culminates three decades of fieldwork. Beth invites Curtis' youngest daughter Katherine to spend the Christmas holiday with the family at Florence's home in Medford, Oregon. This is the first time Curtis has ever been together with all of his children and the first time in thirteen years that Katherine has seen her father.
- 1930 Volume 20 published. Clara and Katherine are still living in Seattle and operating his old studio.
- 1932 Death of his ex-wife Clara, daughter Katherine moves to California.
- 1935 Materials remaining from The North American Indian project, including copper photogravure plates, are sold to the Charles E. Lauriat Company, a rare book dealer in Boston. Curtis tries to earn money by gold-mining and farming.
- 1947 Moves to Whittier, California into the home of his daughter, Beth and her husband Manford Magnuson.
- 1952 Curtis dies in Los Angeles in the home of his daughter Beth, his obituary appears in the New York Times and he is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, California.
See also 
- Exhibit at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas
- "Edward S. Curtis, internationally known authority on the history of the North American Indian, died today at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Bess Magnuson. His age was 84.". The New York Times. October 20, 1952. "Mr. Curtis devoted his life to compiling Indian history. His research was done under the patronage of the late financier, J. Pierpont Morgan. The forward for the monumental set of Curtis books was written by President Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Curtis was also widely known as a photographer."
- Makepeace, Anne (2001). Edward S. Curtis: Coming to Light. National Geographic Society. ISBN 0-7922-6404-5.
- Laurie Lawlor. Shadow Catcher: The Life and Work of Edward S. Curtis. New York: Walker, 1994.
- "Edward S. Curtis Collection". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-08-26. "Although unknown for many years, Edward S. Curtis is today one of the most well-recognized and celebrated photographers of Native people. Born near White Water, Wisconsin, on February 16, 1868, he became interested in the emerging art of photography when he was quite young, building his first camera when he was still an adolescent. In Seattle, where his family moved in 1887, he acquired part interest in a portrait photography studio and soon became sole owner of the successful business, renaming it Edward S. Curtis Photographer and Photoengraver."
- "Shadow Catcher". American Masters. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
- "Edward S. Curtis and The North American Indian: a detailed chronological biography". Soul Catcher Studio. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- Gidley, Mick. "Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) and The North American Indian". Library of Congress American Memory. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
- "American Indian in 'Photo History'". The New York Times. June 6, 1908. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- Egan, Timothy (2012). Short nights of the Shadow Catcher : the epic life and immortal photographs of Edward Curtis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 370. ISBN 0618969020.
- Vaughn, Chris (2009-09-21). "Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum acquires a long-sought masterpiece of American Indian photography". Retrieved 2009-09-22.[dead link]
- Glass, Aaron (2009). "A Cannibal in the Archive: Performance, Materiality, and (In)Visibility in Unpublished Edward Curtis Photographs of the Kwakwaka’wakw Hamats". Visual Anthropology Review 25: 128–149.
- "Web site for In the Land of the Head Hunters re-release, a joint project of U'mista and Rutgers University". Retrieved 2008-06-22.
- Arnold, William (July 9, 2008). "Edward Curtis' Landmark Film Returns To the Site of Its 1914 Premiere 'Head Hunters' Takes Another Bow". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. pp. D1.
- certificate of death for Clara J. Curtis, Center for Health Statistics, Department of Health, State of Washington
- "The Master Prints of Edwards S. Curtis: Portraits of Native America". Peabody Essex Museum. Retrieved 2007-08-26. "Edward Sheriff Curtis was just thirty-three years old in 1901 when he began his legendary effort to document the life and cultures of the North American Indian through photographs and interviews. By 1930 he had studied more than eighty tribes, taken more than 40,000 photographs, and earned the support of Theodore Roosevelt and J. P. Morgan, among others."
- Thornton, Gene (1971-10-17). "Why Is Curtis Unknown to Photographic History?". The New York Times (New York). ISSN 03624331. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- Curtis, Edward S. (1972). The North American Indians: a selection of photographs. New York: Aperture. ISBN 0912334347.
- "UC Irvine University Art Galleries". Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- McLuhan, T. C (1971). Touch the earth; a self-portrait of Indian existence. New York: Outerbridge & Dienstfrey. ISBN 9780876900383.
- Solis-Cohen, Lita (February 9, 1979). "Art Thieves Know the Product". Toledo Blade (Toledo, OH). p. 15.
- "The Myth of the Vanishing Race". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
- "Edward Curtis: Pictorialist and Ethnographic Adventurist". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-08-26.
- "The Shadow Catcher". Retrieved 2007-08-26.
- Gidley, Mick (2001). "Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) and The North American Indian". Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Momaday, N. Scott; Horse Capture, Joseph D.; Makepeace, Anne (2005). Sacred Legacy: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian. Burlington: Verve. ISBN 0976912716.
- "Lives 22 Years with Indians to get Their Secrets.". The New York Times. April 16, 1911. "With the aid of J. Pierpont Morgan, Edward S. Curtis has finished more than half of his monumental study of the American Indian. He has spent fourteen years among them in this work, and calculates that eight more years will see the completion of it."
- "Mount Tacoma.". The New York Times. October 14, 1911. "Many acres of forest land have been denuded in order to furnish the paper on which have been printed the voluminous and sometimes acrimonious discussion as to the meaning of the word "Tacoma". Edward S. Curtis, the Indian authority, who has been highly commended by The New York Times thus disposes of the question in the seventh volume of his great work, 'The North America Indian'."
- "The American Indian". The New York Times. September 7, 1913. "The appearance of Volume IX. of "The North American Indian," a field research conducted under the patronage of the late Pierpont Morgan, brings before the public another section of this valuable and comprehensive study of a people who are rapidly disappearing or losing their aboriginal traits, and acquiring the manners and customs of the dominant white race."
- "Review: In the Land of the Head-Hunters.". The New York Times. March 28, 1915. "Edward S. Curtis has for many years been identified with the North American Indian. To them and their customs and languages he has given the study of a lifetime, living as friend and brother with the men of different tribes, permitted to watch them in their everyday life as well as in the exercise of their ceremonies."
Further reading 
- Curtis, Edward S. The North American Indian. 25th anniversary ed. Cologne: Taschen, 2005.
- Curtis, Edward S. and Christopher Cardozo. Sacred Legacy: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.
- Davis, Barbara A. Edward S. Curtis: The Life and Times of a Shadow Catcher. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1985.
- Egan, Timothy. Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. ISBN 0-618-96902-0
- Gidley, Mick. Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, Incorporated. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
- Gidley, Mick. Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian Project in the Field. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
- Makepeace, Anne. Edward S. Curtis: Coming to Light. 2nd ed. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2002.
- Scherer, Joanna Cohan. Edward Sheriff Curtis. London: Phaidon, 2008.
- Touchie, Roger D. Edward S. Curtis Above the Medicine Line: Portraits of Aboriginal Life in the Canadian West. Toronto, Heritage House, 2010.
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- A Virtual Exhibition on Orotone Photographs, Discussing Edward Curtis' orotone/goldtone photographs. Created for the University of Washington Special Collections Division by Christy Hansen, Class of 2011 Museology Graduate Program
- "Epic photographic odyssey that documented Native Americans (video)". BBC News Online. 2012-11-28. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
- "Edward S. Curtis". Find a Grave. Retrieved September 3, 2010.
- Works by or about Edward S. Curtis in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Edward Curtis at the Internet Movie Database
- American Masters: Edward Curtis
- Smithsonian: Edward Curtis
- Library of Congress Print Collection: Edward Curtis
- Library of Congress Exhibit: Edward Curtis
- Northwestern University Library: Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian
- Edward Curtis: Selling the North American Indian Hypertext Critical Biography with images, video, images of books, articles and promotional material from American Studies at the University of Virginia
- Indian days of the long ago, by Edward S. Curtis; illustrated with photos. by the author and drawings by F. N. Wilson, 1915, c1914. (a searchable facsimile at the University of Georgia Libraries; DjVu & layered PDF format)
- Edward Curtis at Museum Syndicate
- Peabody Essex Museum: The Master Prints of Edward S. Curtis exhibition, 2001–2002
- oldpicture.com: Complete Edward Curtis Collection