Biography and History

The 11th Census (conducted in 1890) was the first census in which Native Americans were counted at the same time as the general population rather than in a separate Indian Census. Beginning in that year all populations were counted by the Census Office even while the Department of the Interior's Commissioner of Indian Affairs was responsible for Native Americans.

The 1890 Census of Indians Taxed and Not Taxed was to include information about the variety of native lifestyles in addition to population counts: some Native Americans were still nomadic; some had become assimilated and were not on tribal lands or reservations; of those that were on tribal lands or reservations, some were receiving rations of food and farming supplies and some were not, and some were taxed and some were not. Each of these groups was counted separately. The compilation of data included the taking of photographs as a way of reporting on the Native Americans' living conditions.

Therefore, the Census Office hired special agents for the 1890 Indian Census, such as Julian Scott, Walter Shirlaw, Henry R. Poore, Peter Moran and Gilbert Gaul. They were charged with verifying the enumerator's figures, providing illustrative material and submitting a written report with recommendations for future policy.

A chronology of the life of Special Agent Julian Scott provides context for his activity with the 1890 Census:

1846 15 February – Julian Scott born in Johnson, Vermont, the fourth of eight children.

1861 1 June – Scott enlists in the Union Army, gives his age as 16 and his occupation as painter. He became a drummer boy for Company E of the Third Regiment of Vermont Volunteers.

1863 28 April – Scott receives an honorable discharge from the US Army.

1863 November – Scott is a student at the National Academy of Design, New York City; paid for by Henry E. Clark, who also paid Scott's living expenses.

1864 11 May – Scott receives a pass to the war zone so he can sketch the war. He is back in New York in about a month. He continues to study art and travel to former battlefields or to his boyhood home in Vermont until 1867.

1890 22 July – Julian Scott learns of his appointment as Special Agent for 1890 Indian Census.

1890 27 July – Meeting in Philadelphia of all Special Agents for Indian Census. Orders are to “leave immediately.” Scott's first post is the Indian Territory.

1890 late July – Scott purchased a No. 2 Kodak camera. It took circular photographs on a 60-exposure roll of celluloid film. The roll was sent to Rochester, New York for development and printing.

Source: From the finding aid for C1412