ARTstor’s “Native American Art and Culture” collection has two components. The first, made available to ARTstor users some months ago, consists of more than 10,000 high resolution images made from historic photographs richly documenting Native American subjects (portraits, scenes, etc.). These digital images have been made from glass plate negatives collected by or produced under the auspices of the Smithsonian’s Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) beginning in the late 19th century.

The second component of this collection, just now made available to ARTstor users, consists of high resolution images of ca. 2,000 Plains Indian ledger drawings. Plains Indian ledger drawings, mostly produced in the middle to late decades of the 19th century, represent an important indigenous artistic tradition of great and increasing interest to art historians and other scholars. These drawings on paper, often done on the pages of ruled ledger books acquired through trade, continue a long tradition of painting on buffalo hides and other available media.

These two archives are among the most heavily used resources in the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives. This digital version should be invaluable to art historians, anthropologists, cultural historians, and indeed to all scholars, curators, teachers and students who deal with American and Native American art, history and culture, as well as to scholars engaged with the study of cross-cultural encounters.

To locate these images, on the ARTstor “welcome page” just select the Native American Art and Culture from the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution collection; then either use the browsing structure (arranged by tribal group) or simply search the keyword phrase ledger drawing. Or search the latter phrase from any search screen in ARTstor to find these and related images.