National Anthropological Archives

Photographs of Native Americans and Other Subjects


Collection ID:
Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.). Department of Anthropology
Physical Description:
18,000 Items
ca. 18,000 items

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
The collections consists mostly of original and copy prints. There are also some negatives, artwork, photographs of artwork, and printed materials. Included is a large miscellany of ethnological, historical, and some archaeological subjects collected by the Bureau of American Ethnology from a wide variety of sources. To these have been added some photographs and other illustrative material acquired and sometimes accessioned by the Department of Anthropology of the United States National Museum/National Museum of Natural History. There are also prints of photographs from the archives' collection of glass negatives of Indians and the subject and geographic file. Although most of the material relates to North America, some images relating to historical events and to areas outside North America are included.
Scope and Contents
The relationship beween this collection and the National Anthropological Archives series of numbered manuscripts is close, for many of the accessions to the photographic collection were originally described in the catalog to the numbered manuscripts and are, hence, identified by a manuscript number. Today, the archives treat the two collections as separate entities, however, because there has been so much interfiling of uncatalog images among those with the manuscript numbers.


The arrangement is complicated: (1) America north of Mexico, divided by geographic region and tribe based on George P. Murdock and Timothy J. O'Leary's scheme in Ethnographic Bilbiography of North America, 1975. The material is further subdivided by the organization that acted in the past as repository (Bureau of American Ethnology, United States National Museum [Department of Anthropology], National Museum of Natural History [Department of Anthropology], Smithsonian Office of Anthropology, and National Anthropological Archives). Thereunder it is divided into catalog unit or comparable categories generally based on provenance; (2) miscellany, historical and unidentified; (3) archaeology, arranged by geographic area; (4) Latin America; (5) material which did not lend itself to classification in categories given above and is identified by National Anthropological Archives catalog numbers.

Using the Collection

Photo lot 24, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Photographs Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Negatives Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Prints Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Works of art Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Printed material Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746
Business Number: Phone: 301.238.1310
Fax Number: Fax: 301.238.2883