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Current Documents
Guide to the Books and Portfolios

A Guide to the Books and Portfolios
 of The North American Indian.

In response to the many questions we receive about The North American Indian, the Curtis Census created this guide to the original books and portfolios. The guide contains sections on the papers, bindings, text pages, and the photogravures, and it includes illustrations of the identifying characteristics of publication.


Duty Bound to Finish: Edward S. Curtis and His Quest for Money to Complete The North American Indian.

This academic paper investigates the many fundraising efforts that Curtis created to sustain The North American Indian, including the Morgan family’s support, subscription sales of the books, individual donations, income from other ventures, and personal loans to Curtis.

Guide to the Maps

Maps of the Indigenous Nations, Tribes, and Bands of The North American Indian.

To help understand the breadth of The North American Indian, we created this compendium showing the Peoples and areas where it is thought that Curtis visited.

Muskego Musem of Art Journal

Muskegon Museum
of Art Journal

In conjunction with their groundbreaking 2017 exhibition of every photogravure in The North American Indian portfolios, the Muskegon Museum of Art produced a beautiful and informative journal devoted to Edward Curtis and his books.

The journal is copyright The Muskegon Museum of Art 2017 and is published here with their permission.

Historical Documents
List of the Volumes

List of the Volumes.

This is a typewritten list, thought to have been created or edited by Edward Curtis, that lists each volume of The North American Indian and the locale(s) covered by that volume. It may be the only historical list that describes the locales. 

The document is in the collection of the University of Washingon Libraries, Special Collections, Edward S. Curtis Archives. It is published here with their acknowledgment.

Stickney Bookcases

Stickley Bookcases

In an effort to further expand the prestige of his books, Curtis offered subscribers the chance to purchase bookcases that were custom-designed by Gustav Stickley to house The North American Indian.

Excerpts of early reviews of The North American Indian

Contemporary Reviews of The North American Indian

A compilation of excerpts of early contemporary reviews of The North American Indian.


The Lauriat List

After the Lauriat Company acquired the assets of The North American Indian, Incorporated in 1935, one or more persons there created a typewritten list of every numbered set that was known to them. This list totaled 272 known sets, but our research by the Curtis Census has found that this total is not correct. 

Indian Picture Opera

Indian Picture Opera

Curtis created a series of "operas" and "musicales" designed to promote The North American Indian to wider audiences. This is the program guide for a performance in Seattle in 1912.

This document is in the collection of the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, Edward S. Curtis Archives. It is published here with their acknowledgment.

Honoray Regents Invitation

Honorary Regents Invitation

In 1920 Curtis launched an appeal for "Honorary Regents" to donate to a fund that would help place sets of his books in museums and libraries. He sent this printed invitation to a select list of individuals asking them to join this effort.

First Americans

First Americans

This pamphlet was published by the Indian Welfare League in 1922. Curtis was a member of the League's Executive Committee.

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