National Museum of the American Indian

Pat Ryan photograph collection


Collection ID:
Ryan, Pat (Pat Ryan)
Physical Description:
16 Photographic prints
.01 Cubic feet
This collection consists of photographic images and manuscript items depicting collector Pat Ryan and the Native American material culture items he collected.

Content Description

Content Description
The Pat Ryan photograph collection consists of 16 photographic images depicting collector Pat Ryan and the Native American material culture items he collected. Many photographs depict the display of these objects in Ryan's business in Omaha, Nebraska. This collection also includes a small number of manuscript items such as a newspaper clipping, business cards, and a catalogue related to Pat Ryan's collecting work at the turn of the twentieth century.

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.


This collection is arranged into folders.

Biographical / Historical

Biographical / Historical
Pat Ryan was born in 1858 to Irish Catholic parents, but sources differ as to his birth location, whether in Ireland or in Nebraska after his parents immigrated. He briefly worked on the railroad in the 1890s. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s Ryan began collecting Native American material culture items from the Indigenous individuals he encountered in his travels. These items, or "curios," he eventually displayed in his own home, and later in stores and showrooms as his collection grew. He is known to have exhibited these material culture items in at least two major expositions, including the 1898 Omaha World's Fair, and the 1901 Buffalo World's Fair. As a collector and businessman, Ryan sold items to George Gustav Heye in 1906, a decade before the official establishment of Heye's Museum of the American Indian. Ryan died in 1910 in Omaha, Nebraska.


Nathan Sowry
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Lauren Manning in 2022.
Processing Information
Processed by Nathan Sowry, Reference Archivist, in 2023.

Using the Collection

Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center. Please submit a written request to For personal or classroom use, users are invited to download, print, photocopy, and distribute the images that are available online without prior written permission, provided that the files are not modified in any way, 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. For more information please see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use and NMAI Archive Center's Digital Image request website.
Conditions Governing Access
Access to NMAI Archives Center collections is by appointment only. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email:
Preferred Citation
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Pat Ryan photograph collection, NMAI.AC.424; National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center, Smithsonian Institution.


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Lakota (Teton/Western Sioux) Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

National Museum of the American Indian
4220 Silver Hill Rd
Suitland, Maryland 20746-2863
Business Number: Phone: 301.238.1400
Fax Number: Fax: 301.238.3038