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De Lancey W. Gill Collection

Identifier: PAC 033

Scope and Content

This small collection of 47 images are all contact prints, made using the high-quality platinotype (platinum) process, which results in very "expressive" images due to its long tonal range. These prints represent his simplest and most direct portrait photographs of Indians visiting Washington in full ceremonial costume, sometimes borrowed.


  • 1894 - 1930

Access Restrictions

Researchers may examine original material under supervised conditions in the Reading Room upon approval of application.

Copy Restrictions

Permission to publish must be obtained from Photo Archives. Online Request Permission form available at: User responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical Information

From the 1850s through 1930s, Washington D.C. was a centre for the photograph of the American Indians as many tribal leaders made their way to the capital to meet with government officials regarding their peoples affairs. These visitors were frequently photographed by Alexander Gardner, Charles M. Bell and John K. Hillers to name a few. De Lancey W. Gill was the last photographers to work with Indians in this way working up to 1930 making more portraits than all his predecessors combined. Originally an illustrator for the USGS he advanced quickly to become the head of the illustration section including supervising photographers working on USGS surveys. It was during this time he began working with John K. Hillers making his first portraits when he photographed a group of Assiniboin Indians visiting Washington in 1894. Shortly after this he transferred to Smithsonian’s Bureau of American Ethnology where he began taking portraits in earnest, sometimes as many as 300 a year. He had several sources that made sure all visiting Indians found their way to his studio to be photographed for ethnographic study. His total production during his tenure is estimated at between 2000 – 3000 portraits. De Lancey Gill was born in Camden, South Carolina in 1859 and died in August 1940 after falling in his home in Alexandria, Virginia.


.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Collection Available Online

The De Lancey Gill Collection is available at New Mexico's Digital Collections


The De Lancey Gill Collection is available at New Mexico's Digital Collections
De Lancey W. Gill Collection, 1894 - 1930
Edited Full Draft
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the NMHM Palace of the Governors Photo Archives Repository

113 Lincoln Ave.
Santa Fe NM 87501 USA