Photographs of baskets in the Charles P. Wilcomb collection, circa 1900

Collection ID:
circa 1900
Physical Description:
18 Negatives

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
Photographs of baskets in the collection of Charles P. Wilcomb. They include Pomo baskets and baskets of the people of Tulare County. The photographs may have been made by a Smithsonian photographer.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Charles Presby Wilcomb (1865-1915) was an amateur anthropologist and store owner in New Hampshire and California. Born in The Weirs, New Hampshire, he opened a store in nearby Laconia in 1884, selling both general merchandise and antiques and curios. Four years later, Wilcomb opened two stores in Visalia, California, the latter of which was named Visalia Museum of Curiosities and Nanscawen & C., props. Wilcomb's routine was to summer in New Hampshire, where he collected Colonial artifacts, and winter in California, where he collected artifacts from the California tribes. During this time, he also interviewed Indigenous California people about their traditions and collected representational examples, particularly baskets. Wilcomb became the first curator of the Golden Gate Park Memorial Museum (later the M.H. de Young Museum) when it opened in 1895. He loaned many of his baskets to the museum for its collections, where they remained until the Park commissioners requested their removal in 1904. Unable to convince the commissioners to purchase his "Indian collection," Wilcomb was forced to sell it to Robert Calvin Hall in 1905. No longer with the de Young Museum, Wilcomb curated Hall's entire collection until his death in 1915.

Sarah Ganderup
Existence and Location of Copies note
Modern reference prints from the negatives are available in the collection.
Custodial History note
Transferred from the Smithsonian's central photographic laboratory in 1973.

Local Call Number(s)
Local Call Number(s)
NAA Photo Lot 73-26F

Photographs published in Otis Tufton Mason, "Aboriginal American Basketry," Report of the United States National Museum, 1902.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use note
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Preferred Citation note
Photo lot 73-26F, Photographs of baskets in the Charles P. Wilcomb collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Location of Other Archival Materials
Location of Other Archival Materials
Additional photographs of Wilcomb's collection of baskets are held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 24.
Location of Other Archival Materials
The National Anthropological Archives also holds letters from Wilcomb to Otis Tufton Mason regarding baskets (Department of Anthropology records, Manuscript and Pamphlet File) and Mason's papers.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- California Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baskets Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wilcomb, Charles P., 1865-1915 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
M.H. de Young Memorial Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746