Totems at Kasaan Village, Alaska


This image is from the album of photographs compiled by Albert K. Fisher (1856−1948) to document the Harriman Expedition that explored the coast of Alaska in June and July of 1899. Fisher was an ornithologist and vertebrate zoologist who participated in many important scientific expeditions to the American West, including the Death Valley expedition of 1891 and biological surveys in California, Nevada, the Arizona Territory (including New Mexico), Utah, and portions of other western states in 1892. Fisher was also a member of the Harriman Expedition. The photograph is one of 386 preserved in a 127-page album held in the Albert K. Fisher Papers at the Library of Congress. The primary photographer on the expedition was Edward Curtis (1868‒1952). Other photographers and scientists whose images are included in the album are Clinton Hart Merriam, W.H. Averell, Edwin Chapin Starks, Grove Karl Gilbert, Walter Devereux, and Fisher himself. Funded and accompanied by railroad magnate Edward H. Harriman (1848–1909), the expedition, or "floating university" as it was called, included famous scientists, naturalists, artists, writers, and photographers. The results of the expedition’s scientific and ethnological investigations filled 13 volumes that were published between 1901 and 1914. Most of the images in the album are of the Alaska coast, Kodiak, and the Aleutian Islands, but it also includes scenes from the beginning of the expedition in Wyoming, Idaho and on the Snake River in Oregon and in British Columbia, as well as views of Plover Bay, Siberia, which the expedition visited briefly in July 1899.

Last updated: March 17, 2016