The millions of photographs in the Museum's collections compose a vast mosaic of the nation's history. Photographs accompany most artifact collections. Thousands of images document engineering projects, for example, and more record the steel, petroleum, and railroad industries.
Some 150,000 images capture the history, art, and science of photography. Nineteenth-century photography, from its initial development by W. H. F. Talbot and Louis Daguerre, is especially well represented and includes cased images, paper photographs, and apparatus. Glass stereographs and news-service negatives by the Underwood & Underwood firm document life in America between the 1890s and the 1930s. The history of amateur photography and photojournalism are preserved here, along with the work of 20th-century masters such as Richard Avedon and Edward Weston. Thousands of cameras and other equipment represent the technical and business side of the field.
"Photography - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This ambrotype portrait of Mea-to-sa-bi-tchi-a, or Smutty Bear, a Yankton Dakota, is among the first photographic images of Native Americans. Smutty Bear was part of a large Native American delegation that came to Washington, D.C., during the winter of 1857–;58. Under duress, members of the delegation signed a treaty that greatly reduced their lands in return for promises of money and provisions that were never fulfilled. This prompted the Sioux Revolt of 1862, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of settlers and the mass hangings of 38 Native Americans. This photograph is one of a series a of portrait daguerreotypes made of Native American chiefs while they crossed the country to meet with US Government officials in Washington, D.C. When passing through St. Louis, Missouri, these chiefs were photographed by Thomas Easterly and John Fitzgibbons.
- The ambrotype process, most popular in the mid-1850s, is a wet-plate collodion emulsion on glass. These images were then placed in cases with a dark lining for best viewing.
- Currently not on view
- Date made
- ca 1858
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center