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Born in 1868 near Whitewater, Wisconsin, Edward Sheriff Curtis was to become one of America’s premier photographers and ethnologists. When the Curtis family moved to Port Orchard, Washington in 1887, Edward’s gift for photography led him to an investigation of the Indians living on the Seattle waterfront. His photograph Homeward won Curtis the highest award in a photographic exhibition contest. Having become well-known for his work with the Indians, Curtis participated in the 1899 Harriman expedition to Alaska as the lead photographer. He then accompanied George Bird Grinell, editor of Forest and Stream, on a trip to northern Montana. There they witnessed the deeply sacred Sundance of the Piegan and Blackfoot tribes. Traveling on horseback, with their pack horses trailing behind, they stopped at the precipice. Below them, the view of the valley floor stretched with over a thousand teepees – an awesome sight to Curtis. This event would transformed his life and inspired him to create The North American Indian. Consisting of over 700 large portfolio images, over 1500 volume size images, and over 7000 pages of text, The North American Indian is a part of American history in both its imagery and its creation.

The Edward S. Curtis Gallery is the oldest gallery devoted to the work of Mr. Curtis. We invite you to peruse through our newly redesigned web page. We have many things to offer you. Among the new additions, we will be adding voice interviews with the three grown children of Edward Curtis. The gallery conducted these personal interviews in October of 1981. Florence Curtis Graybill, Katherine “Billy” Curtis Ingram, the youngest daughter and their brother Hal shared deep insight into the life of their father. The Curtis children have since passed on and these interviews may be the last recorded accounts of Edward S. Curtis by those who were closest to him, his children. Be sure to visit our web page periodically to hear more about Mr. Curtis and his life as a photographer, artist and historian.
Distinguished Gallery Director, Kirk A. Rudy, has been intimately involved with Curtis’ work since 1970. Mr. Rudy has lectured and organized exhibitions from Perth, Australia, the Far East, North America, and Western and Eastern Europe. Perhaps the largest exhibition took place at the prestigious Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland, where over twenty-five Journalists including major television crews covered this exciting event. This exhibition traveled throughout Europe for a period of ten years.
In 2017, the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum inducted Edward S.Curtis into the hall of fame. They selected Mr. Rudy to receive this prestigious award on behalf of Edward S. Curtis. The ceremony took place in St. Louis Missouri. Mr. Rudy plans to donate the award to a museum.

Samples from the Collection

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