Major John Wesley Powell

ID: 94-12600

Creator: Sawyer ?

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: c. 1890s

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7005, Box 187, Folder: 1; Record Unit 95, Box 18, Folder: 57

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Major John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) seated at his desk in his office in the Adams Building on F Street in Washington, D.C. Following the Civil War, there were four national survey leaders. One was geologist and western explorer Powell, who led expeditions and conducted surveys of the American West. In 1869 he set out by boat to explore the Colorado River from the Green River, Wyoming Territory, to the foot of the Grand Canyon. When Congress created the Bureau of Ethnology in 1879, Powell was named its first director (1879-1902), a post he held until his death. Placed under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, the bureau, whose name was changed to the Bureau of American Ethnology, was to be the repository of the "archives, records, and material relating to the Indians of North America, collected by the geographical and geological survey of the Rocky Mountains".


  • Powell, John Wesley 1834-1902
  • Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology
  • Cosmos Club (Washington, D.C.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Back of photo lists negative number as: BAE Portraits 64-A-13

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7005, Box 187, Folder: 1; Record Unit 95, Box 18, Folder: 57

Contact information

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


c. 1890s

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Discovery and exploration
  • Territorial expansion
  • Anthropology
  • Portraits
  • Expeditions
  • Anthropologists


  • United States
  • America


Photographic print

ID Number


Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Portrait; Medium: Photographic print

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