Smillie and the Smithsonian

Interesting post today on the Smithsonian's photo blog about the photographer Thomas Smillie. I had seen his name quite a bit in the Carter's collection of photographs from the Bureau of American Ethnology, but was not aware that he was also the Smithsonian's first staff photographer and photography curator. He even acquired the first American daguerreotype equipment for the Smithsonian for a whopping $23 in 1896 (that's less than $600 adjusted for 2009 inflation!).

Here are a couple of our Thomas Smillie portraits of Native Americans, and you can see a lot more over of the Smithsonian's Smillie collection on Flickr Commons.

Thomas Smillie, Eagle Chief, collodion silver chloride print, 1905

Thomas Smillie, His Hoop or Canhdeska, albumen silver print, 1904


Hi, and thanks for noticing our post over at THE BIGGER PICTURE! I had no idea that Smillie made such striking portraits of Native Americans, but as he was located in DC in the early 1900s when so much was happening politically with Native American communities, it's no surprise. Thank you very much for sharing these. We have another post about Smillie and his role in photographing the 1900 eclipse of the sun coming up in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes out for it!

Thanks for stopping by! We are big fans of The Bigger Picture!

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