Edward Sheriff Curtis was an American photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and on Native American peoples.
Curtis's goal was not just to photograph but also to document as much of Native American traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared.
He is quoted as saying, "The information that is to be gathered ... respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost."
He took over 40,000 photographic images of members of over 80 tribes. He recorded tribal lore and history, and he described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs.
He wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders. He lived from February 16, 1868 – October 19, 1952.