Crow Indian Photographic Collection

Accession Number
Jon Ille
Access Restrictions on Use
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
All publication rights are held by Little Big Horn College and use for publication must be approved by archivist.
Preferred Citation of Materials
Crow Indian Photographic Collection, Little Big Horn College Archives, Crow Agency, Montana.

Physical Description

Seven 3” binders, five 2” binders, two 1” binders, and one .5 linear foot archival box
Number of Photographs
The collection includes photographs from various photographers, publications, and institutions divided into series based upon their provenance where available.

Historical Note

The photographs in the Crow Indian Photographic Collection detail the political, economic, and cultural history of the Crow people. Photographs of prominent Crows such as Sits in the Middle of the Land, Plenty Coups, Robert Yellowtail, and later tribal chairmen document their visits to Washington DC and exist alongside a wide variety of photographs that detail facets of reservation life up to the 1990s.

Administrative History

The Crow Indian Photographic Collection includes duplicates and original photographs that the Little Big Horn College Library and Archives obtained on various occasions. Due to this varied administrative history and to aid researchers, the archivist has attempted to maintain provenance through the creation of series based upon the original photographer, publication, or institution where the photographs originated. Photographs from other collections remain housed and described within their original collections.


  1. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Economic Development (1972-1973)

    This series documents various economic programs on the Crow Reservation during 1972-1973 with a specific emphasis on irrigation, weed control, range use, housing, industrial development, mining, and recreation.

    Series one includes seven hundred and six photographs in five binders.

  2. American Anthropological Archives I, (Smithsonian Institution)

    This series includes historical photographs from the pre-reservation and early reservation period that documents the political, cultural, and economic life. The National Museum of the American Indian donated the copies to the Little Big Horn College Archives in 2006. Photographs of Crow leaders on visits to Washington DC in 1872 and 1880, along with recreations of pre-reservation material culture provide highlights to the series.

    Series two include three binders, divided into volumes, totaling twelve hundred and seventy four photographs. The photographs include digital scans, lantern reproductions, and negatives:

    1. 441 Photos - Digital-4, Lantern-23, Negative-424
    2. 298 Photos - All Negative
    3. 535 Photos - Negative-334, Slide-134, Lantern-67
  3. American Anthropological Archives II, (Smithsonian Institution)

    This series includes historical photographs from the early Crow reservation from the Smithsonian Institution. The holdings include duplicates from series two, but also include a large number of photographs that document the continuation of pre-reservation cultural norms after the establishment of the reservation.

    Series three includes two binders totaling two hundred and one photographs divided into two volumes:

    1. 119 Photos
    2. 82
  4. Crow Photographs

    This series includes historical photographs from the early reservation with some overlap with series two and three, along with a large number more recent photographs from the Crow Reservation. These more recent photographs detail family events and document the early history of Little Big Horn College. Photographs in series four lacked a specific provenance, which necessitated their consolidation due to their significance to the community and researchers.

    Series four includes eleven hundred and thirty eight photographs in four binders, divided into four volumes:

    1. 271 Photos
    2. 89 Photos
    3. 700 Photos
    4. 78 Photos
  5. Crow Veterans

    This series details Crow service in the American armed forces from World War One to the second Gulf War and the war in Afghanistan.

    Series five includes one hundred and twenty four photographs in one binder.

  6. Wanamaker - Dixon Expedition

    This series includes photographs detailing the historic recreations performed on the Crow Reservation during Wanamaker-Dixon Expedition of 1908. Wanamaker and Dixon wanted to capture pre-reservation life before it became extinct in their eyes. Therefore, the photographs represent an attempt to recreate “traditional” Native American culture in the early twentieth century

    Series six includes two hundred and thirty six photographs in two binders, divided into two volumes:

    1. 118 Photos
    2. 118 Photos
  7. Crow Slides

    This series includes slides, historical and contemporary, that documents Crow daily life, culture, and economic development.

    Series seven includes five hundred and fourteen slides held in one binder donated by Sheila Ruble, the Smithsonian Institution, Annette White, the Westmoreland Corporation, and Frederick Hoxie.

  8. Crow Photographs, Various Institutions and Publications

    This series includes photocopies of Crow photographs held in museums, private collections, and published in historical and anthropological journals. Important photocopies from this series include Frederick Reinhart, Fred Miller, Dennis Saunders, Karl Bodmer, the Montana Historical Society, and the National Anthropological Archives.

    Series eight includes seven hundred and one photographs sorted and placed into file folders based on provenance and housed in a .5’ archival box.