The Arcadian Landscapes of Edward Curtis

The Arcadian Landscapes of Edward Curtis

William N. Goetzmann

Yale School of Management, Yale University

A slightly different version of this paper is forthcoming in: Perpetual Mirage: The Arid West in Photographic Books and Prints, Whitney Museum Exhibition Catalogue, 1996.

Perhaps the largest and most beautifully printed book of photographs of the American West is Edward Sheriff Curtis' The North American Indian published over the period 1907 to 1930, in a limited edition of approximately 270. The lavish twenty-volume set was one of this century's first "multi-media" presentations. Text, photographs and Edison wax cylinder sound recordings together document the culture of more than eighty Indian tribes throughout Western North America. Not only are the volumes copiously illustrated by photographs and tinted drawings, but each is accompanied by a large-scale portfolio of sepia-toned photogravures which, separated from the Curtis text volumes, have become widely collected and reproduced as icons of Native American culture. These grand images, taken by Edward Curtis and, for the most part, printed by his Seattle studio manager Adolph Muhr, represent a self-consciously aesthetic narrative of American Indian life. They are an artistic attempt to reach through the scientific information collected on American Indian cultures to capture its "essence." Whether Curtis, through his photographs, discovered some fundamental truths about Native American life, or merely projected turn-of-the-century European-American stereotypes onto native peoples has long been the subject of debate.

In fact, Curtis' photographs of American Indians in relation to the natural landscape fit squarely into the contemporary aesthetic tradition in America. In particular, Curtis' landscape settings reveal a profound nostalgia for a pre-industrial, Arcadian existence that the artist "embodied" in his views of American Indian life. The five volumes of The North American Indian (I, II, XII, XVI and XVII) that concern Southwestern tribes are set in the stark, arid landscape of Arizona and New Mexico. The magic of Curtis' photography turns these lands into a lush Eden, enjoyed by non-materialistic people who bathed themselves in the cool desert springs, build their houses from the earth and trees, and picked their nourishment from the bounty of the desert. In order to understand the iconography of Edward Curtis it is important to understand how The North American Indian came to be. Curtis created his images for a distinct audience, and experimented with different modes of photography before perfecting the style that made him famous. In fact, the story of this tremendous project is not only a testimony to one artist's single-minded perseverance over three decades, but a fascinating episode in American cultural history. The tale begins not in the West, but among one particular "tribe" in New York.

Views of a Vanishing Race

The evening at the Waldorf Astoria in March 1905 couldn't have gone better for Seattle photographer Edward Curtis. Although his bill for the use of the grand ball room totaled an astronomical $1,300, most of New York's social luminaries made an appearance. They came to see Curtis' spectacular lantern show and multi-media presentation of the "Vanishing American" -- motion pictures, Edison cylinder recordings, stereoptican views, photographs and engravings of Southwestern Indian tribes. At the conclusion of the soiree, several of the most powerful women in America, including Mrs. Stuyvestant Fish, Mrs. Jay Gould, Mrs. Herbert Satterlee (daughter of Pierport Morgan), Mrs. Douglas Robinson and Mrs. Frederick Vanderbilt purchased copies of his photographs.1 That evening, to the assembled guests and journalists in attendance, he described his grandiose dream: to create a monumental documentary record of American Indian life, to preserve the last vestiges of native existence before acculturation destroyed it altogether -- to capture the vanishing frontier.

Few of the assembled blue-bloods realized that Curtis was proposing the impossible. By 1905, the vanishing frontier, at least in the Western United States, had already vanished. No-one understood this more that Edward Curtis himself. He had spent the last eight years photographing Native American people in the Northwest and Southwest, and had been hard pressed to document any visual evidence of Indians in a "pre-contact" state. For instance, his views of the Hopi, taken in 1900, show dancers with baggy cloth trousers beneath their antelope costumes, and women with calico dresses rather than woolen robes. 2 These early shots, while true to turn-of-the-century Southwestern Indian life, were not the pictures that made him famous. Only after he learned to eliminate modern details did Curtis' more familiar romantic image of Indians take shape. In describing his giant project Curtis was proposing something that could only be delivered through the magic of photography -- a visual re-creation of cultures as they once were, or at least as the artist and his models would like to remember them.

The audience that night who applauded Curtis' nostalgic portraits of Indian chiefs and views of a bygone era could hardly be called disinterested observers of the vanished frontier. New York railroad tycoons were the financiers who open up the West to transcontinental traffic, and directly hastened the end of traditional Native American life. Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Pierport Morgan, Curtis' earliest patron E.H. Harriman and Curtis' personal friend James J. Hill fought titanic financial battles for control of the American rails during the late nineteenth century. Between them, by 1906, they owned more than half of the railroads in America. Of the 228,000 miles of track that criss-crossed the continent, Vanderbilt controlled 22,500 miles from New York to Chicago, Morgan interests controlled 18,000 miles in the Southeast, Gould owned 17,000 miles in the Mississippi Valley, E.H. Harriman owned 21,000 miles of central and trans-Mississippi track and Hill controlled 21,000 miles of Northern routes to the Pacific.3 American capitalism and politics worked hand in hand at the end of the nineteenth century to enforce the "civilizing" of the American Indian tribes. In particular, there is evidence that as early as 1868 the stated United States policy was to use the western railroad system as a means to confront the Indian nations and "clean out Indians as we encounter them."4 Indiscriminate slaughter of the vast buffalo herds, particularly on railroad lands, hastened the decimation of the Plains Indians. By 1890, hostile Indians and roving herds no longer threatened the vast commercial network controlled by the railroad tycoons, however memories of the violent Indian wars were still fresh. None-the-less, given their success in civilizing the frontier, the assembled captains of industry could afford a bit of romantic nostalgia for bygone days. In fact, the successful development of the Western territories depended in part upon replacing the threatening image of American Indians with a pacific one.5

The following year, a letter from president Theodore Roosevelt, and in all likelihood a good word from Mrs. Jack Morgan, won Curtis an audience with the mighty James Pierpont Morgan. Curtis sought Morgan's patronage of his North American Indian project, asking for $15,000 per year for five years.6 His plan was to use the Morgan money to produce 100 sets of the book and price them at $5,000. The way Curtis may have seen it, success required only sales to twenty-five percent of New York's famous 400. According to Curtis biographer Barbara A. Davis, Morgan agreed to give $75,000 to Curtis in exchange for 25 sets of the North American Indian, as well as three hundred large photographic prints and 200 small photographic prints. In addition, he persuaded Curtis to make his profit on volume rather than margin by lowering the price to $3,000 per set. Thus, for his commitment to purchase 25 sets of the book at $3,000 each, Morgan got an additional 500 of Curtis' fine photographic prints so admired by the financier's daughter-in-law, and he earned the immediate reputation as a patron of American Indian culture! Although Morgan preferred to remain anonymous about his support of the project, Curtis insisted on spreading the word. On the heels of the deal, one newspaper headline read "Morgan Money to Save Indians From Oblivion."7

It took twenty-three years, and an estimated $1.2 million dollars, but Curtis delivered on the deal. Unfortunately, he woefully underestimated the cost of the project, and overestimated the social set's commitment to preserving Native American culture. Shortly after the beginning of the project, the Wall Street panic of 1907 made subscriptions from wealthy New York patrons difficult to obtain. By 1911, Morgan was forced to increase his patronage of the project by investing an additional $60,000. In addition the photographer sought bank loans and private investment from Seattle businessmen to finance the remainder of his annual expenses. His patron died in 1916, leaving Curtis to scramble for additional funding on his own. Ultimately, the Morgan family assumed much of the the cost of publication of The North American Indian. In total, the Morgan contribution to the production of The North American Indian amounted to $400,000.8 The vast sums of money were primarily spent to finance a series of field seasons from 1907 to 1927, in which Curtis and his assistants traveled through the West, camping with tribes, taking photographs, recording songs, making motion pictures and gathering ethnographic information. Due to the enormous scope of the project, Curtis delegated substantial portions of work to his collaborators and assistants. William Meyers, for instance, was responsible for a considerable portion of the ethnography, which in turn was edited by the Bureau of American Ethnology's Frederick Webb Hodge, who was also the editor of the Handbook of North American Indians. The printing and preparation of the glass plate negatives developed in the field fell to the master printer Adolph Muhr, who managed Curtis' Seattle darkroom, and who undoubtably made a significant contribution to the distinctive Curtis photographic style, though negative retouching, and decisions regarding exposure of the prints.

In his thirty years of traveling among Indian tribes in the West, Curtis proved as adept at wooing powerful and influential Native Americans as he was at wooing upper-crust European-Americans. Among the famous Native Americans whom he persuaded to pose for him were Princess Angeline, whose father was the Squamish chief for whom Seattle is named, Nez Percé Chief Joseph and the Apache chief, Geronimo. Curtis apparently had a knack for eliciting the participation of Native Americans in recreating tableaux from their vanished past. For instance he directed In the Land of the Head Hunters a full-length motion picture made in collaboration with the Kwakiutl people of British Columbia. Villagers build houses, masks and a whaling canoe in the traditional manner, in order to simulate their pre-contact culture.

The Evolution of the Curtis Style

The idea of historical re-creation of past cultures which became the hall-mark of his style actually evolved slowly for Curtis. Its progress may be charted through a series of images of Hopi women at the Walpi Pueblo water hole which the photographer made over a period of twenty-two years, from 1900 to 1921. His first photograph of the scene, taken on a trip through the Southwest in 1900, is not included in volume XII devoted to the Hopi.

[THE WATER CARRIERS Curtis Hopi Photographs exposure 750, Beinecke Library ]

It is an apparently unposed picture suggesting that the artist took a "snapshot" view of contemporary Indian life at the time. The photograph, preserved in Yale's Beinecke Library, shows six women in working dress, with print skirts, hair pulled back in braids or held in bandanas. One woman in bent at the waist filling a jar in the pool. Another two are approaching the water with empty vessels, and one woman is carrying a full jar back to the pueblo. 9 The picture suggests something of the heavy work involved in providing a family with water. The bright light of the scene allowed Curtis to use a narrow aperture for the exposure that brought the foreground and the background into focus, and allowed a high enough shutter speed to capturethe motion of the water as one of the women fills her jar. Despite the picture's documentary value, Curtis decided to include a quite different water hole scene in the published illustrations to the text of volume XII.


This one, copyrighted in 1906 he entitled "Gossip at the Water Hole." It also pictures six Hopi women, however this time they are clothed in traditional Atöö robes, and their hair is arranged in a distinctive bi-lobed style. Although he does not say as much in the text, Curtis evidently asked the women to dress themselves in traditional costume and hairstyles for his photograph. The picture is not one of Curtis' most successful efforts. Depite its title, the women are not talking to each other, but staring rather seriously towards the photographer. Between 1900 and 1906, however, Curtis had developed one of his favorite "tricks" for adding depth to his scenes. He opened the aperture of the camera, rendering the distant pueblo as an unfocused blur on the horizon. In all likelihood, a lense with a longer focal length allowed him to reduce the depth of field and narrow the scope of the scene to create a portrait, rather than a native "scene." Christopher Lyman points out that this "focal recession" was also used to blur modern figures and details, such as tourists viewing the famous Hopi dances.10


Curtis copyrighted the third view of the water hole, entitled "Loitering at the Spring" in 1921, although it was clearly taken during the 1906 session that produced the previous picture.11 The discrepency between the date the photograph was taken and the date it was copyrighted may be due to the fact that Curtis sold copper-plate engravings of many of his photographs separately from the book. He may have felt no need to copyright a picture until it was reproduced for distribution and sale. Curtis evidently liked this one the best, for he included it as a large plate in the portfolio of photogravures accompanying volume XII. The choice to include it among the 36 large format plates indicates that it qualified as "art" suitable for framing. Like the 1906 version, the picture shows six women in traditional "holiday" clothing and hairstyle, with the background out of focus.

The difference between the "Gossip at the Spring" and "Loitering at the Waterhole" is the composition. The 1921 picture differs from the 1906 version in that the composition is much stronger, and it makes a distinctive aesthetic statement about the relationship between the Indian women and the natural world. The figures are massed monumentally on the right bank of the waterhole, their relationship to the water defined by the pottery water vessels perched at the edge of the pool. One woman reaches down to touch the still surface. Unlike the previous view, in which the photographer looked down on his subjects, Curtis brough the camera closer to them, posing two so that they stood above the plane of the horizon looking down towards the pool. The woman dipping water now holds her hand quite still, to make the most of the reflective properties of its surface. The dramatic view had come a long way from the prosaic snapshot of water collecting taken in 1900. Never mind that there are now only two jugs for six women, or that his subjects are dressed in fine robes and elaborate hairstyles for the hard job of carrying water. Water collecting, the moment when mankind directly draws sustenance and relief from the wellspring of nature, had now become a sacred act worthy of monumental composition. In choosing such "archetypal" images for his Hopi volume, Curtis sought a deeper truth. The cost was much of the documentary character of his earlier work.

The perfected "Curtis style" sought to capture not only the historical dress and appearance of his native subjects, but the relationship of the American Indian to the natural world itself. Neither one of these goals was without precedent in turn-of-the-century American culture. Both a scientific and an aesthetic tradition provided the context for Curtis' vision of the American Indian as pre-historic natural man in the pristine landscape.

The Stone Age Present

Curtis' historical re-creation of "pre-contact" Native American culture was criticized from the outset for its inauthenticity. For instance in 1907, upon the publication of the first volume, Columbia University anthropologist Franz Boas complained of Curtis' lack of objectivity to president Roosevelt, who had contributed an introduction to the volume. 12 Curtis' style of ethnography and photography differed dramatically from Boaz's, who, like Curtis worked among the Northwest Coast Indian tribes. Unlike Curtis, Boaz's ethnographic photographs and motion pictures were often made against a backdrop that screened out the physical context of his subjects. By breaking the relationship between the individual and the landscape, Boaz's photographic documents of the Northwest Coast Indians gave the appearance of ethnographic "objectivity" something which Curtis' pictures lacked. Placing the indivudual in the landscape, as Curtis did, required aesthetic decisions about whether to allow modern detail and dress. Covering up the background relieved the photographer from "filling-in" missing cultural detail.

The differences between Boaz the scientist and Curtis the artist ultimately stemmed from Curtis' interest in picturing the past rather than the present. To that end, Curtis eliminated modern details, such as those he took care to record in his earlier pictures. To the artist, ethnographic facts got in the way of a good picture of native prehistory. While Curtis felt that The North American Indian would be important as a extensive and detailed documentary record, the large plate images he selected for his portfolios stripped away these details in an attempt to synthesize a "typical" image.

Perhaps one reason for turn-of-the-century European-American culture's fascination with American Indians was emerging archaeological evidence that the subsistence technology and perhaps even the ceremonial culture of the European Paleolithic and Neolithic Eras resembled that of pre-contact American Indians. In his introduction, Theodore Roosevelt wrote of Curtis' Indian: "His life has been lived under conditions thru which our race past so many ages ago that not a vestige of their memory remains." 13 Evidently, the European-American fascination with Native Americans was in part, a curiosity about their own distant past. Read in this way, Curtis' sepia-toned images peered into all pre-history. They were not only a re-creation of Native American past, they were intended as comments upon collective human origins.

Curtis was not alone in using native subjects to recreate the vanished "stone-age" past. Taos artists Joseph Henry Sharp and Eanger Irving Couse, contemporaries of Curtis, posed Taos Pueblo Indians in traditional clothing, and painted then at work performing traditional tasks such as making pottery, making arrowheads and, grinding corn meal. Like Curtis, these two Taos artists eliminated modern detail from the frame, and sought to create images of Indian people as they once were, before the influence of the White man. Another western artist who used Indian subject to consciously recreate prehistory was Maynard Dixon. Like Curtis, Dixon began picturing the West in documentary style, but his work evolved a stylized, elemental character. Dixon, like Curtis, reduced the Indian figure to simple, massive forms as a way of emphasizing the connection to the earth. In "Paleolithic Afternoon," and "Earth-Knower," the painter emphasized the formal similarities of Southwestern Indians to the surrounding landscape. So, too, did Edward Curtis seek to juxtapose native figures with natural features to emphasize a formal connection, implying a philosophical one.

Perhaps his most striking juxtapositions of man and landscape are photographs taken in Canyon de Chelly and Canon Del Muerto, on the Navaho reservation.

[CANYON DE CHELLY -- NAVAHO, Curtis Portfolio I]

In "Canon de Chelly -- Navaho" riders slowly pass weathered stone sentinels, following trails worn by their ancestors. In this image, Curtis makes full use of the expressive possibilities of the photogravure process. Copperplate engraving, in which the photographic image is transfered to a copper plate and lights zones are etched away with acid, lends itself well to creating soft-edge "impressions" and rich tonal modulation. Unlike the famous picture taken of the scene by Wheeler expedition photographer Timothy O'Sullivan in 1873, Curtis pictures the canyon from ground level, and exposes the walls for dramatic effect, rather than to capture geological detail. The figures are anonymous -- a small band of Navahos walking their horses across the sandflats of the canyon stream. In this and other Southwestern views Curtis renders his subjects as forms rather than as individuals. Their anonymity accentuates their formal relationship with the landscape. His subjects are often literally "of the land." In other pictures, such as "Offering to the Sun -- San Ildefonso, 1925" a pueblo worshiper draws his power from the rugged cliffs that both protect their villages and lift them to the sky. In "At the Old Well at Acoma, 1904" a Keres woman is rendered as an indistinct, dark form in a tone similar to the dark well walls. In these landscape views, Curtis' subjects echo the natural world, and are thus in harmony with it.

Indians and Arcadia

Curtis' vision of the Indian past was a result of late-nineteenth century romanticism that sought to fit the American Indians into an Arcadian vision of European-American's own prehistory. To Curtis, American Indian life as it was before European contact was characterized by an intimacy with the natural world. Evidently, part of the appeal of the North American Indian to New York society was that the photographer explicitly contrasted the "natural" world of the American Indian with the "commercial" world of his patrons. In his general introduction, Curtis writes,

It is thus nearer to Nature that much of Indian life still is; hence its story, rather than being replete with the statistics of commercial conquests, is a record of the Indian's relations with and his dependence on the phenomena of the universe -- the trees and shrubs, the sun and stars, the lightning and the rain -- for these are to him animate objects." Edward Curtis, 14

Volume I of The North American Indian focusses heavily on the theme of Indians in the natural landscape. In many ways it is Curtis' most striking work. It contains images taken on his trip to Arizona and New Mexico Territory in 1906 -- the first Curtis field season financed by a check from J.P. Morgan. Rather than fierce warriors, the Apache and neighboring Mohave Indians of the Southwest depicted in Volume II were Curtis' archetypal pictures of mankind in the state of Nature, and as such, they must have been jarring to his audience raised on images of bloodthirsty Apache marauders. For the caption to the large-plate photogravure "The Apache," Curtis writes:

This picture might be entitled, 'Life Primeval.' It is the Apache as we would mentally picture him in the Stone Age. It was made at a point on the Blood River, Arizona, where the dark, still pool breaks into the laugh of rapids." 15

[THE APACHE Volume II Portfolio]

The picture's caption helps us understand Curtis' landscape iconography. In this view, Curtis shows an Apache man, clothed only in a loincloth and hat, poised between past and present. He stands at the brink of a "dark, still pool," signifying the Indian past. That era has come to an end, as the water pours out of the pond into a rapid -- which presumably signifies cultural change. The figure is turned towards the past, away from the viewer, the reflective surface of the deep pool signifying the subject's state of mind. 16 There is little doubt that Curtis' used pictorial depth in his landscape views to signify the dimension of time. He tells us as much in the caption to the first large plate of Volume I in which Indians are riding the sunset. As Curtis put it the figures are, "passing into the darkness of an unknown future..." (In Curtis, 1907, "List of Plates For Volume I.")

In his quest to create Arcadian idylls, Curtis' deliberately chose landscape settings in volumes I and II that contradicted stereotypes of the arid Southwestern desert. A substantial proportion of the photographs (excluding portraits) use bodies of water as major compositional elements. Plates such as "The Pool -- Apache," "The Mohave," "The Bathing Pool," and "Nature's Mirror," create a sense of the desert lands as a country with leafy bowers, quite pools and tranquil springs, each a sharp contrast to the popular images of the Arizona desert as a setting for fights between U.S. Cavalry and the Indians, painted by western artists such as Frederic Remington, Charles Schreyvogel or Henry Farney.

By the time Curtis began posing his views of scantily clad Indians in the virgin landscape, there was already a strong tradition of Arcadian photography and painting in American Art. Thomas Eakins, for instance, made nude photographs of his students in the Pennsylvania countryside in the 1880's with Arcadian props, such as pan-pipes. 17 Some of these became the basis for his famous painting "The Swimming Hole," (1884-5) in which an unspoiled natural pond becomes the setting for Eakins and his male friends to strip away the accouterments of civilization and celebrate the beauty of nature. Curtis' Apache subjects embodied the Whitman-esque ideal -- they enjoyed the "Sweet, sane still nakedness in Nature" 18 While Eakins was somewhat of an outcast in American art, recreations of Acadia eventually became central to American artistic culture in the first decade of this century. Perhaps the most elaborate recreation of the Arcadian past was the Cornish, New Hampshire artist colony's "Masque of `Ours', the Gods and the Golden Bowl" a neo-classical dress-up enacted in 1905, featuring many of the leading artists of day, including painters George de Forest Brush, Thomas Dewing, Henry Fuller and Maxfield Parrish.19 The Cornish colonists photographed themselves dressed as Greek gods and goddesses posed in the beautiful New Hampshire countryside for a celebration of sculptor Augustus Saint-Gauden's twentieth anniversary at the colony. Given these aesthetic precedents, it is clear that the Arcadian views posed by Curtis with Native American subjects were little different from those created by turn of the century artists using themselves as subjects. Like other artists of the time, Curtis was probing the relationship between man and nature, only he was able to use models who knew something about the subject.

The Fate of The North American Indian

The twentieth and final volume of The North American Indian was published in 1930. Curtis had enjoyed wide acclaim at the outset of this mammoth undertaking, but upon its completion, he was virtually unknown. The stock market crash of 1929 frightened away many potential customers, as the prices for virtually all art, even the masterpieces dropped precipitously at the end of the 1920's. 20 In 1935, the bound and unbound copies of the book, along with the copper plates used for production were sold to Lauriat, a rare book dealer in Boston. Curtis' picture of American Indian life, developed so passionately and thoroughly, appears to have fallen out of fashion, at least until the photographer's revival in the 1970's. After 1930, a bout with nervous exhaustion ended Curtis' career as an Indian photographer. He tried his hand at gold mining with little success and continued to work intermittently as a cinematographer, shooting some motion picture scenes in 1936 for Gary Cooper's The Plainsman. Upon his death in 1952, the New York Times noted simply that he was known as a photographer.21

First The North American Indian was lauded as the final document of a vanishing race, and then harshly criticized for its romanticization of American Indians. Since its re-discovery over the last twenty-five years, it has continued to elicit strongly contrasting opinions. 22 Despite controversy over their value as cultural documents, Curtis' romantic images of American Indians are widely collected and admired. A single set of The North American Indian is now worth roughly the entire investment made by the Morgan family in its production. Curtis has been decried by some Native Americans for "lying" about early twentieth century American Indian culture and also admired for preserving elements of Indian culture and images of ancestors that would otherwise have gone unrecorded. 23 Perhaps these very disagreements attest to his enduring power as an artist. Regardless of their authenticity, Curtis' images of the American Indian are indelibly imprinted on the American imagination.


Aknowledgements: I would like to thank Alfred Bush, William H. Goetzmann, Joshua Levine, George Miles and William Reese for helpful conversations on this topic.

1. For an account of the evening, see Barbara A. Davis, Edward S. Curtis: the Life and Times of a Shadow Catcher San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1985, p.40.

2. See Curtis' Hopi photographs in the Beineke Rare Book Library, Yale University.

3. Alex Groner, The American Heritage History of American Business and Industry, New York: The American Heritage Publishing Company, 1972, p.200.

4. See Rachel Sherman Thorndike, ed. The Sherman Letters. Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman New York, 1894, p. 320. Quoted in William H. and William N. Goetzmann, The West of the Imagination New York: W.W. Norton and Company, p. 204.

5. See Alfred L. Bush and Lee Clark Mitchell, The Photograph and the American Indian Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994, p.xviii.

6. See Davis, Op.cit. p. 44.

7. Ibid. p. 45.

8.Ibid. p. 75

9.Edward Curtis, "Photographs of Hopi Indians," [Graphic], Yale Beinecke Library, exposure no. 750.

10. See Christopher Lyman, The Vanishing Race and Other Illusions New York: Pantheon Books, 1982, p.76.

11.The discrepency between the date the photograph was taken and the date it was copyrighted may be due to the fact that Curtis sold copper-plate engravings of many of his photographs separately from the book. He may have felt no need to copyright a picture until it was reproduced for distribution and sale.

12. See William H. Goetzmann The First Americans: Photographs From the Library of Congress Washington: Starwood Publishing, 1991, p.22.

13. Theodore Roosevelt, "Introduction," in Edward S. Curtis The North American Indian 20 Vols. ,Volume I, Cambridge, Mass.: The University Press, 1907.

14. Edward Curtis, The North American Indian 20 Vols. ,Volume I, Cambridge, Mass.: The University Press, 1907.

15. Curtis, Op. Cit. , List of Plates for Volume I.

16. There is little doubt that Curtis' used pictorial depth in his landscape views to signify the dimension of time. He tells us as much in the caption to the first large plate of Volume I in which Indians are riding the sunset. As Curtis put it the figures are, "passing into the darkness of an unknown future..." (In Curtis, 1907, "List of Plates For Volume I.")

17. See Gordon Hendricks , The Photographs of Thomas Eakins, New York, 1972 plate 45.

18. Quoted in Lloyd Goodrich, Thomas Eakins I ,Cambridge: Harvard Press, 1982 p. 230.

19. See John H Dryphout, The Cornish Colony," in A Circle of Friends, Art Colonies of Cornish and Dublin, The University Art Galleries, University of New Hampshire, Durham, 1985, p. 52.

20. See William N. Goetzmann, "Accounting For Taste: Art and the financial Markets Over Three Centuries," The American Economic Review 1993, 83(5), p.1370-1376.

21. Davis, Op. Cit. p. 79.

22.For two perspectives on Curtis' photographs as ethnographic documents, see Christopher Op. Cit. and the review of this book by William Holm in American Indian Art Magazine 8(3), Summer, 1983, p. 68-73.

23. For two Native American scholars' perspectives on Curtis, see George P. Horse Capture, "Forward," to Native Nations: First Americans as seen by Edward S. Curtis Christopher Cardozo, ed. Boston:Bullfinch Press, 1993, and Vine Deloria Jr., "Introduction" to Christopher Lyman, Op. Cit.