Edward S. Curtis


Reconsidering Edward S. Curtis's Encounter with Scientists on Mount Rainier

One of the best lessons that I grudgingly learned from an early mentor, Clarence H. White, Jr. (son of the famous pictorialist photographer), was that family stories are sometimes just that – stories, not facts. I applied that lesson when I came across a glaring discrepancy in one of the most often-repeated stories about Edward Curtis. While most of his biographers love to tell his story about rescuing a group of scientists on Mount Rainier, it turns out that what actually happened was not quite the same as what we've been told.

This essay appeared in PNQ - Pacific Northwest Quarterly, Summer 2019.


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

My first serious study of Curtis was this long essay about the many ways that Curtis raised funds to complete his "impossible dream." By the time I was finished with all of the research, the article was so long that I couldn't find a journal that would publish it. So I uploaded it to Academia.com, where anyone who is more than casually interested in Curtis can dive into the details that I found. You can also download it here – just click on the cover.

Check out my blog page for my random (but totally fascinating) insights on photography and its connections with philanthropy, institutions, history, and, most of all,  the people who made and make those things happen. Here are a few teasers to whet your appetite.