SI Collection of American Indian Portraits




Date: 1857


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In his annual report, Secretary Joseph Henry mentions that, during the past year, the John Mix Stanley collection of Indian portraits has been increased by a number of new pictures, and expresses again his hope that the U.S. Congress will appropriate funds for purchase of the collection, to keep it from being dispersed. In the 1858 annual report, he mentions the addition of portraits, painted at the expense of the government, of Indians who have visited Washington. These, with the Stanley paintings, now form perhaps the most valuable collection in existence of illustrations of the native inhabitants of the country. In addition, busts of distinguished individuals which are in the Patent Office collection are added to the exhibit in the Smithsonian gallery.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Stanley, John Mix 1814-1872
  • Patent Office Building (POB)
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • John Mix Stanley painting of a seated Native American, c. 1850s. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 21906.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1857, p. 36.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1858, p. 41-42.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




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  • Indians of North America


North America

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