PUL Celebrates Native American Heritage Month: selections from Native American life and culture collections

 The text of the broadside is within an ornamental border.

The Cherokee language alphabet.


In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Princeton University Library (PUL) highlights the following collections on Native American life and culture, including phonotapes, advocacy records, newspapers, postcards, photographs, and manuscripts. PUL is committed to preserving, featuring, and supporting historically underrepresented voices in the collections.

Alfonso Ortiz Collection of Native American Oral Literature, 1959-1965
Consists of phonotapes of approximately 55 hours duration made primarily at San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, by anthropologist Alfonso Ortiz to help preserve the language and the culture, and to perpetuate the oral tradition, of the Tewa-speaking Pueblo.

Association on American Indian Affairs Records, 1851-2016 
The Records of the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) document the corporate life of an influential and resilient player in the history of 20th-century Native American advocacy. From its formation by non-Indians in New York in 1922, to its re-establishment in South Dakota in 1995 under a wholly Indian administration, the AAIA has defended the rights and promoted the welfare of Native Americans and, in this process, has shaped the views of their fellow citizens.

Collection of Newspapers and Periodicals Published Either by or for Natives of the North American Continent Formed by the Princeton University Library Between 1967-2007
These 104 boxes are a subsection of a much larger collection of American Indian newspapers and periodicals in the Library. There are 898 separate entries distributed among these 104 boxes. About 77 titles in the collection are voluminous and, as such, they are catalogued and boxed separately. Examples include the Navajo Times and Navajo-Hopi Observer.

Julian Scott Photographs for the 11th Census, 1890-1891 
This collection consists of 170 albumen photographic prints taken by Julian Scott from August 1890 to August 1891 with a No. 2 Kodak camera during the 11th United States Census, the first census in which Native Americans were counted at the same time as the general population rather than in a separate Indian Census. Locations include Oklahoma and settlements and pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona. Beyond images of Native Americans, there are also images of frontiersmen and woman, frontier life, the census party and their camps, and images of United States Calvary men. 

William Henry Jackson Photographs of North American Indians Collection
Consists of 1,020 mounted photographs of North American Indians, including portraits of delegates to Washington, D.C., expedition photographs, and early Western studio portraits. Also included are photographs of ruins in the American Southwest and Mexico, of Southwestern Indian pottery and implements, and of models of Southwestern ruins. Most of the photographs in the albums are described in William Henry Jackson's Descriptive Catalogue of Photographs of North American Indians (1877). Includes photographs by William Henry Jackson, Alexander Gardner, A. Zeno Shindler, Desire Charnay, Thomas M. Easterly, and F. V. Hayden. This collection has been fully digitized as individual photographs and as two bound volumes and is accessible via Princeton's Finding Aids in addition to DPUL.

Western Americana Photograph Collection, Late 1860s to Early 1900s
An open collection of more than 5,000 Western Americana photographs growing steadily by gift and purchase. This collection is chiefly comprised of documentary photographs of the Trans-Mississippi West from the late 1860s to early 1900s. Subjects include Indians (especially studio portraits), natural wonders, cities, towns, buildings, and economic activities (mining, railroads, logging, and agriculture). Some photographs relate to the indigenous populations of Mexico and Central America. The dimensions, physical formats, and photographic processes of the photographs vary widely, from cabinet photos and stereoview cards to mammoth photographs. The majority of the collection has been digitized and is accessible via Princeton's Finding Aids in addition to DPUL.

Ulli Steltzer Papers, 1957-2008
Contact sheets, negatives, prints, notebooks, research files, manuscripts, and correspondence of Ulli Steltzer, a German-born photographer residing in the United States and Canada since 1953. Materials relate to a number of published and unpublished photography projects spanning Steltzer's career from 1957 until 2008, including her portraits of prominent Princeton intellectuals and her wide-ranging documentary work, featuring American Indian artists of the Pacific Northwest, black communities in the American South, social conditions for migrant laborers and immigrants throughout the United States, and many other rural and tribal communities throughout the Americas and Asia.

Relatied Reading: Wild Reads: Navajo Nation and the Environment

Published on October 12, 2020, updated November 11, 2021

Compiled by Steven Knowlton, Librarian for History and African American Studies, Emily Judd, Communications Coordinator, and Gabriel Swift, Librarian for Academic Programs in Special Collections. 

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications