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Burbank, E. A., (Elbridge Ayer), 1858-1949 : E. A. Burbank Indian Portraits, Drawings, ca. 1897-1914

Collection of over 1200 red and brown conté crayon on paper portraits of assorted American Indian subjects drawn during E. A. Burbank’s extensive travel to American Indian communities throughout the American Southwest, West, and Northwest. Commissioned to paint a portrait of Chief Geronimo by his maternal uncle, Edward E. Ayer, the Newberry benefactor and president of the Field Columbian Museum, Burbank embarked in 1897 on what would turn out to be a decades-long, quixotic quest to “paint every single Indian tribe in America.” Though ultimately unsuccessful, Burbank was able to paint and draw individuals from more than 125 tribes, documenting and providing lasting insight into the culture and history of fast-disappearing indigenous populations.
Extent: 124.3 linear feet - (71 custom boxes)
Subjects: Arts, Indians and the West
Call Number: Oversize Ayer Art Burbank.Drawings
Finding Aids:
The E. A. Burbank Indian Portraits, Drawings are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).