Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Foster, Ernest Moore, 1881-1955
Ernest Moore Foster Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1905-1926 (mostly 1905-1907)
2 boxes and 1.6 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-2


Consists of five journals and photograph albums of American West traveler and photographer Ernest Moore Foster.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of two journals, three photograph albums, and some correspondence, clippings, compasses, and arrowheads of Ernest Moore Foster. There are 454 silver gelatin photographs included in the various bound materials, ranging from 14.5 x 19.5 cm. to 4 x 5 cm. Included are a narrative journal (rewritten from his diary) of a trip taken with his father from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Portland, Oregon, in the summer of 1905, with an accompanying album of photographs. The following year (1906) Foster kept a journal, which also contains maps, photographs, and clippings, of his experiences with the U. S. Geological Survey team while touring through the southern half of the Colville Indian Reservation, Washington, in preparation for the opening up of the territory to settlement. This journal is also accompanied by an album of photographs.

Also present are an album of postcards (1905-1907) sent by Foster and other family members from Japan, Europe, and the Western states, and eleven letters by Foster to his family while he was on the Colville Indian Reservation.

The photograph album entitled "Pittsburgh to Portland 1905" consists of 92 gelatin silver snapshots (9 x 11.5 cm. to 4 x 5 cm.) taken on a cross-country trip through a number of Western states, primarily Oregon, along with some images from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Almost every photograph is captioned on a type-written slip of paper adhered to the facing page. The majority of the snapshots, 63 images, are of scenery, sights and modes of transportation around, in and to such states as Washington, Montana, California, Wisconsin, and Colorado (locations include The South Dakota Badlands, the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, and Stanford University), other notable images include a young Chinese-American from Astoria, Oregon, fisheries along the Columbia River, and the Pacific seaside; 24 images are from the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition held in Portland, Oregon in 1905, which feature external photographs of exposition buildings and statuary; 6 images are of other members of the Foster family.

The journal for the 1906 geological survey includes 5 photos (9 x 11.5 cm.): 2 of Foster himself, and 3 of the survey party in the field amongst many printed images of Washington state, local Native Americans, and surveyors. Some of these images are duplicated elsewhere in the collection.

The accompanying photograph album, entitled "Western and Indian Photos 1906" (1906-1907), consists of 88 gelatin silver snapshots (14.5 x 19.5 cm. to 4 x 5 cm.) taken in Oregon, Washington, and British Colombia in the summers of 1906 and 1907 while traveling in the area and accompanying the 1906 U.S. Geological Survey to Colville Indian Reservation in Washington. The photographs primarily date to 1906, and some are captioned on the verso or have relevant information recorded elsewhere throughout the album. The first leaf of the album has date and location information, including the cameras used. 34 images are of Western cities and views (including views of Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Victoria, British Columbia), and featuring locations such as the University of Washington and Mount St. Helens. 17 images were taken during the U.S. Geological Survey of the Colville Indian Reservation near the Okanogan River, and feature scenes from camp life, other party members, and scenery. 19 images are of local logging operations, marine transportation, and camps, including a local YMCA camp and the 2nd U.S. Infantry and 9th U.S. Field Artillery training camps. 18 images are of local Native Americans, most likely residents of the Coleville Reservation and include images of families, dwellings, lifestyles, and clothing.

Also included are several objects related to Ernest Moore Foster's 1906 tour of the Colville Indian Reservation with the U.S. Geological Survey, including a collection of 57 arrowheads he found during his trip, as well as two compasses, a small brass pocket compass and a larger, solid brass surveyor's compass he used during his excursions.

An additional photograph album, entitled "Trip Pittsburgh to West Coast 1926," contains 269 small gelatin silver snapshots (6 x 6 cm. to 11 x 9 cm.) of Ernest Moore Foster with his family, on a trip across the American Southwest and up the West Coast of the United States and Canada, along with various trips in New Jersey and Washington D.C. The first half of the album contains primarily uncaptioned family photographs taken in 1925 at the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and at an East Coast farm. The latter half of the album documents a 1926 trip West, including shots of Lamy, Gallup, and Albuquerque, New Mexico; the Grand Canyon and Hopi Indian dancers in Arizona; Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Hollywood, San Francisco, and Berkeley, California; the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, including Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls, and Wahkeena Falls; Nisqually Glacier on Mount Rainier, Washington; Victoria, Glacier, Black Canyon, and Vancouver, British Columbia; as well as Banff, Alberta, including an Indian parade and village.

Collection Creator Biography:

Foster, Ernest Moore, 1881-1955

Ernest Moore Foster toured (1906) with the U.S. Geological Survey team while touring through the southern half of the Colville Indian Reservation, Washington, in preparation for the opening up of the territory to settlement.

Collection History


AM 83-77


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Finding aid updated by Valerie Addonizio in 2009.

Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.

Finding aid updated by Kelly Bolding in 2014.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

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:

Ernest Moore Foster Collection; 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