Edward S. Curtis Digital Collection
Preview up to 100 items from this collection below. Photographer Edward S. Curtis devoted two decades to making “The North American Indian,” an early 20th century photography and text project studying Western tribes.
Letter from Carlson & Borrough, Inc. to Arthur Goodwin with their bid for replacing lights, November 17, 1927
Letter from Carlson & Borrough, Inc. regarding the cost of installation for lights above farmers stalls in Pike Place Market.
Date: 1927-11-17View this item
Letter from Edward S. Curtis to Harriet Leitch, March 12, 1951
Letter from Edward Curtis to Harriet Leitch describing his trips to Alaska with the Harriman Expedition and on other occasions. He encourages Leitch to review the volumes on the Harriman Expedition at the Seattle Public Library and states "If I had time to spare, I could write a fat book on the story of the expedition."
Date: 1951-03-12View this item
Letter from Arthur Goodwin to William Crowley regarding the Tacoma Public Market, February 19, 1927
Letter from Arthur Goodwin to William Crowley thanking him for his interest in his newly constructed Tacoma Public Market. Goodwin invites Crowley to the opening of the market and expresses his hopes that his own book on public markets will soon be published.
Date: 1927-02-19View this item
Letter from Edward S. Curtis to Harriet Leitch, May 8, 1951
Letter from Edward Curtis to Harriet Leitch describing a visit from Lillian Smart of the Seattle Historical Society to his home in Los Angeles. Curtis writes that Smart attempted to rush him out to a recording studio so he could make a recording of Pacific Coast history but he protested, saying he need more time to gather his thoughts. Curtis wonders if he offended Smart by refusing to do the initial recording. He states that he hasn't heard back from the Historical Society after letting them know he completed a script for the recording and was now ready to go to the studio.
Date: 1951-05-08View this item
Letter from Edward S. Curtis to Harriet Leitch, circa March 1949
Note from Edward Curtis to Harriet Leitch responding to her questions about how long he lived in Seattle and how he began taking pictures of Native Americans. In response to the question "How did you get the confidence of the Indians?" Curtis writes "I said we, not you. In other words, I worked with them not at them."
Date: 1949-03View this item
Letter from Edward S. Curtis to Harriet Leitch, July 11, 1949
Letter from Edward Curtis to Harriet Leitch, apologizing for his slow response and explaining he is deep in his work on "The Lure of Gold." He writes that the size of the project is overwhelming and he is ""praying that I will live long enough to finish the job." Curtis discusses his climbs of Mount Rainier and his friendship with Ella McBride. He notes that she was one of the few women to summit the mountain unassisted and describes her as "my star helper" both in climbs of Mount Rainier and later, as an assistant in his photography studio. He writes that she lived with the Curtis family and was like a second mother to his daughters.
Date: 1949-07-11View this item
Letter from Edward S. Curtis to Harriet Leitch, December 29, 1950
Letter from Edward Curtis to Harriet Leitch repeating some of the news shared in his letter of December 17, 1950. He discusses his poor health leading to the necessary step of stopping his work on "The Lure of Gold" before moving on to recounting the Christmas holiday. He adds that he has decided to have a new picture taken of himself on his 83rd birthday to replace the one taken many decades ago that was used to promote "The North American Indian." Curtis writes "I hope you will be pleased with the Birth Day picture. Knowing my age you may be surprised."
Date: 1950-12-29View this item
Letter from Edward S. Curtis to Harriet Leitch, November 4, 1949
Letter from Edward Curtis to Harriet Leitch describing his progress on "The Lure of Gold." He notes that publishing firm has expressed interest in publishing the work but he had to let them know it would be at least two years before he would be able to complete it. Curtis writes "For one of my age, that's looking far ahead."
Date: 1949-11-04View this item
Letter from Edward S. Curtis to Harriet Leitch, September 22, 1950
Letter from Edward Curtis to Harriet Leitch in which he briefly touches on discussing "The Lure of Gold" before moving on to talk about the financial difficulties he experienced while producing "The North American Indian." He writes "[...] once upon a time I was confronted with the North American Indian quota which was 1,800,000 plus. I have always thought that ignorance alone allowed me to tackle that task?" Curtis also touches on his continued struggles with arthritis and shares that his youngest daughter, Billy, has recently moved to Australia with her husband. He says he has encouraged Billy to keep notes on the journey in hopes that she can one day use her talents as a writer to compile a book on the subject. Curtis ends with the story of when he helped to bury Chief Joseph, writing "In order to bury him the second time we had to dig him up: I did most of the digging. It was a very hot day and the Noble Red Men said "let the white men do the digging they know how.""
Date: 1950-09-22View this item
Letter from Edward S. Curtis to Harriet Leitch, May 11, 1950
Letter from Edward Curtis to Harriet Leitch in which he further discusses the Pan-American Scientific Research Association expedition to the Amazon. Curtis describes the route the expedition would take up the Amazon River to the town of Manaus where they would establish their headquarters for the duration of the trip. Curtis notes that the expedition is now unlikely to move forward due to friction in the group directed towards the leader, Fred J. Matzler. He writes "No words can express my disappointment in the collapse of the Pan American Expedition. During all my active life time I have wanted to see the Amazon and the Andes Mountains."
Date: 1950-05-11View this item