"Morgan is not a friend of Indians." "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: 1 of 3: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan.

Aug 13, 2018, 01:43 AM



"Little Plume with his son Yellow Kidney occupies the position of honor, the space at the rear opposite the entrance. The picture is full of suggestion of the various Indian activities. In a prominent place lie the ever-present pipe and its accessories on the tobacco cutting-board. From the lodge-poles hang the buffalo-skin shield, the long medicine-bundle, an eagle-wing fan, and deerskin articles for accoutering the horse. The upper end of the rope is attached to the intersection of the lodge-poles, and in stormy weather the lower end is made fast to a stake near the centre of the floor space." 1 photogravure: brown ink; 36 x 44 cm. Original photogravure produced in Boston by John Andrew & Son, c1910. Original source: The Piegan. The Cheyenne. The Arapaho [portfolio]; plate no. 188. Seattle : E.S. Curtis, 1911. )



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"Morgan is not a friend of Indians." "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: 1 of 3: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan. 


From Booklist Starred Review Before half its 20 volumes were published, The North American Indian was called the most important book since the King James Bible. When the last emerged, its director and primary researcher and author, self-made master photographer Edward Curtis (1868–1952), was old, broke, and dependent on his daughters. Though his great work consumed $2.5 million of J. P. Morgan’s money over the course of three decades, Curtis never took a cent in salary. He lost his business, his property, his marriage, and any control of his great project. But he completed it, preserving a great deal of what we know about Indian cultures, including more than 75 languages, thousands of songs and stories, traditional practices in everything from clothing to religious ritual, and the Indian accounts of such historic milestones as the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Simultaneously, he fixed the image of the North American Indian in a body of work as iconic as any created by any other visual artist in any medium. To accomplish this, he braved the remote, nearly inaccessible places where small tribes clung to their identities, painstakingly won the confidence of wary elders in many larger tribes, and wooed the titans of American wealth to keep going. Ace popular historian Egan makes Curtis’ story frequently suspenseful, always gripping, and monumentally heroic. --Ray Olson Review