University of Oregon

UO Insight Seminar Surveys Edward Curtis's Native American Photographs

The seminar will provide an inside look at the photographic work of Edward Curtis.

Saturday, May 3, 9:15 a.m.-1 p.m.

Wishwam Bride, The North American Indian: The Nez Perces, Wallawalla, Umatilla, Cayuse, The Chinookan Tribes (portfolio), plate no. 281, Edward S. Curtis, 1911.

Seminar Full

James Fox and Jennifer O’Neal, from the UO Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, will offer an inside look at the photographic work of Edward Curtis in a half-day UO Insight Seminar entitled "Native American Photographs: The Art of Edward Curtis." The seminar is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, from 9:15 a.m. until 1 p.m., in Knight Library's Browsing Room, 1501 Kincaid Street, on the UO campus. The registration fee for the noncredit, ungraded seminar is $45. Learn more and register online at

The rare, original photographs covered in the seminar are a treasure from the UO Libraries Special Collections. From the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, Edward S. Curtis roamed throughout western North America documenting what he perceived to be the vanishing lifeways of Indians. More than 2,000 of Curtis’s images appear in his monumental The North American Indians (1907 – 1930), which comprises 20 volumes of large photogravures and 20 corresponding volumes of photogravures and text. The seminar will examine Curtis’s own copy of this stunning work, discuss its aesthetic value, and evaluate it from a Native perspective. No textbook is needed for the seminar.

UO Insight Seminars provide an opportunity for the general public to re-engage with the liberal arts and experience the intellectual fulfillment that is the hallmark of a university education. The seminars focus on the humanities, particularly on “meaning of life” topics of keen interest to adults. They are aimed at people eager to return to real college-level reading and study. The seminars are noncredit and ungraded. Led by UO faculty members who are experts on the topics, the seminars require careful reading of both primary and secondary materials.

Additional seminars will be offered during May. For a complete list of topics, visit


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