George Thornton Emmons photograph collection

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAI.AC.001.053
Creators:
Emmons, George Thornton
Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation
Dates:
1870-1917
bulk 1870-1890
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
20 Photographic prints
12 copy negatives
Repository:
Photographic prints and copy negatives made by George Thornton Emmons among Native communities in Alaska and British Columbia mostly between 1870 and 1890. Communities photographed include—Nisga'a (Niska), Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl), Yup'ik, Nuxalk (Ballacoola), Haida, and Tlingit.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection includes photographic prints made by George Thornton Emmons among Native communities in Alaska and British Columbia mostly between 1870 and 1890. Communities photographed include—Nisga'a (Niska), Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl), Yup'ik, Nuxalk (Ballacoola), Haida, and Tlingit. There is at least one photograph that is dated 1917. Many of the photographs include portrait of Native men and women often posed outside of their homes or community structures. There are also photographs of totem poles and masks. There are some images of graves that have been restricted. The copy negatives were later made by the Museum of the American Indian during a large photograph conservation project in the 1960s.
Scope and Contents
P00232-P00234, P00239, P00275, P00572-P00573, P01476-P01479, P01726-P01728, P03047, P08606-P08607, P12763, P12767. N11618, N35404, N37558-N37560, N37562, N37597, N37598, N37883-N37885.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Arranged by catalog number.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
George Thornton Emmons (1852-1945) was born in Baltimore Maryland and attended the U.S. Naval Academy attaining the rank of lieutenant j.g. in 1883 and lieutenant in 1887. While being stationed in Sitka, Alaska Emmons became interested in the native cultures of the region, particularly the Tlingit and Tahltan. He collected over 11000 objects and sold his first collection of 1351 artifacts to the American Museum of Natural History in 1888. Emmons accompanied the Alaska exhibit during the World's Columbian Exposition from 1891-1893 and began writing up his Tlingit research for AMNH in 1894. Following his retirement from the Navy, Emmons continued collecting Alaskan artifacts which he sold to collectors, including George Heye and the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. Emmons first started selling and donating collections to George Heye in 1905 and continued to do so for the remainder of his life. In 1932 Emmons moved to Victoria, British Columbia to work on his Tlingit book, which was still unfinished at his death in 1945. Following his death, his manuscript based on 40 years of research and writing was taken over by Frederica de Laguna and 1955 and finally published in 1991.

Administration
Processing Information
This collection is still in need of processing. Collection record written by Rachel Menyuk, Processing Archivist, in 2019.
Author
Rachel Menyuk
Immediate Source of Acquisition
It is unclear when most of these photographs were obtained by the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. It is likely they accompanied ethnographic collections sent by Emmons, the earliest of which arrived in 1905.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Thursday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu). Photographs with burials, human remains or any other cultural sensitivity are restricted.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiphotos@si.edu. For personal or classroom use, users are invited users to download, print, photocopy, and distribute the images that are available online without prior written permission, provided that the files are not changed, the Smithsonian Institution copyright notice (where applicable) is included, and the source of the image is identified as the National Museum of the American Indian.
Preferred Citation
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); George Thornton Emmons photograph collection, Item Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
George T. Emmons field notes, mostly object lists from Alaska and British Columbia, can be found in the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation records (NMAI.AC.001) Box 215-217.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Copy negatives Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nisga'a (Niska) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Yup'ik (Yupik Eskimo) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nuxalk (Bellacoola) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Haida Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tlingit Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Alaska Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
British Columbia Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Museum of the American Indian
4220 Silver Hill Rd
Suitland 20746-2863
nmaiarchives@si.edu
http://nmai.si.edu/explore/collections/archive/