Pictorial Record of North American Indian Tribes in the Early 1900s
In 1906, American photographer Edward S. Curtis was offered $75,000 by financier J. P. Morgan to produce a series on North American Native Americans and their culture.
The 20-volume work, called The North American Indian, contained over 1,500 photographs, as well as records of tribal lore and history, biographical sketches, and descriptions of traditional foods, housing, clothing, ceremonies, and customs. The photographer's goal was to document as much American Indian traditional life as possible before it disappeared.
Although an extensive oral tradition remains among the tribes, Curtis's fascinating work remains the only written recorded history of the North American Indian way of life in the early 20th century.