Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Smillie, T. W. (Thomas William), 1843-1917
Thomas W. Smillie Photographs of a Yankton Sioux Delegation
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
2 boxes and 2.0 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-2


Consists of twenty-two photographs of a delegation of Yankton Sioux Indians that visited Washington, D.C., in 1904, taken by Thomas William Smillie for the Smithsonian's Department of Preparation's Section of Photography.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of twenty-two silver gelatin photographs of a delegation of Yankton Sioux Indians that visited Washington (D.C.) in March 1904. The delegation consisted of Thunder Horse, Yellow Horse, Eugene Bruno, Edward Oshie, White Swan, Not-Afraid-of-Pawnee, Iron Bear, Big Tobacco, and His Hoop. There is an image of the entire delegation taken on the roof of the Arts and Industries building of the Smithsonian Institution (the two men dressed in Western clothing are not identified). Also included are three 8.7" x 7.2" studio photographs of the members of the delegation grouped in threes, and 9" x 7" studio portraits of each member, showing a frontal and profile view, with names and dates inscribed on the verso. These latter photogtraphs were done to note the anthropometric features of each member. The photographs are mounted on 13" x 9.7" grey card stock, with negative numbers written in ink on the bottom right hand corner of each image.


Photographs are arranged by the negative number written on the bottom right-hand corner of each image.

Collection Creator Biography:

Smillie, T. W. (Thomas William), 1843-1917

The history of photography at the Smithsonian Institution dates from the 1850s. In 1859, Secretary Joseph Henry proposed that a photographic record be assembled of Native American delegations visiting Washington, D.C. In 1867, with the support of Ferdinand V. Hayden, a geologist, and William H. Blackmore, a wealthy English collector, Washington photographers Alexander Gardner and Antonio Zeno Shindler began photographing the Native American delegates. These images formed the earliest Smithsonian photograph collection. In 1883, the Section of Photography was established in the Department of Preparation, with Thomas William Smillie as photographer. Smillie, a former photographer at the United States Fish Commission, had been employed by the Institution as its official photographer since 1870. Smillie was named custodian of the Section in 1896, but also continued to function as the Institution's photographer until his death in 1917.

Collection History


Purchased in July 2007 .


No materials were separated during 2012 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Dina Britain in July 2007. Finding aid written by Traci Ballou-Broadnax on July 25, 2007. Folder invnetory added by Feng Zhu '14 in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Thomas W. Smillie Photographs of a Yankton Sioux Delegation; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-2