A reader of ours sent a note about the Edward Sherrif Curtis biography that was just published.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan, Amazon has it here.
“Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. And he was thirty-two years old in 1900 when he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared.
An Indiana Jones with a camera, Curtis spent the next three decades traveling from the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the Acoma on a high mesa in New Mexico to the Salish in the rugged Northwest rain forest, documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. It took tremendous perseverance — ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him into their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Eventually Curtis took more than 40,000 photographs, preserved 10,000 audio recordings, and is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.
His most powerful backer was Theodore Roosevelt, and his patron was J. P. Morgan. Despite the friends in high places, he was always broke and often disparaged as an upstart in pursuit of an impossible dream. He completed his masterwork in 1930, when he published the last of the twenty volumes. A nation in the grips of the Depression ignored it. But today rare Curtis photogravures bring high prices at auction, and he is hailed as a visionary. In the end he fulfilled his promise: He made the Indians live forever.”
I think I have established what a fan of Edward Curtis I am by now. I have always associated with obsessive compulsives, more than you good people know.
We have one of his 7 foot portraits hanging in our den.
If you are like me, and you enjoy holding a physical book in your hand, buy it.
If E-books are your thing, (not judging), download it….upload it….whatever it is that you people do to read a book now.
If you liked this post, check out these as well…..
Edward Curtis Portrait free for the taking
Chief Sitting Bear in Our Den
Have you read this book, Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History? Truthfully, I had to take notes in the margins in the physical book, you know, the kind with real paper pages, to retain all of the information given in this book with an extremely long title. Very worth the read. I’ll get the eBook that you suggested here so that my husband and I don’t fight over it! Another book that I am currently re-reading because it’s so facinating is Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone. Have you read the book about Teddy Roosevelt’s last exploration called The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey? Excellent book. Guess I got carried away, but I do love to read non-fiction history books.
Barbara. You have just filled my nightstand for the next year….. I love books about exploration too! Stanley/Livingston sounds great. I started this book with 2 others almost finished by my bed. I need to buckle down and find out what finally happens to that dragon tattoo girl and the guy in a million little pieces before I commit to any new ones…..but I’ll order them from Amazon so I’m prepared…..
You’ve made me laugh out loud AGAIN! I am in the process of moving and have boxed up over 6000 books so far. Yes, six with three zeros. I have become one of “you people,” downloading books to a kindle. At least until the next good library book sale…
I have to hold a physical book in my hands, Stick my boarding pass in it to hold my page, keep it next to the bed with my glasses, shelf it as a testament to how well-read I am, and possibly pass it on to a friend who MUST read this book…can’t do any of that with a Kindle ( I know, I sound old )