Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/818

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

alive to the importance of recording the physical appearance, features, and methods of dress of the Indian in his primitive condition, and to this end full use has been made of the camera. The collection of photograjjhs of Indians from all parts of the country, taken either in their homes or upon the occasion of their periodical visits to Washington, is now very large, and constitutes a body of ethnologic material, the value of which it would be difficult to overestimate.

Arts and Customs.—Although the rapid settlement of the country, and the introduction of habits and implements of civilization, have effected great change in the arts and customs of the Indians, yet among many tribes the old ways of life have been by no means abandoned, and primitive habits and modes of thought still flourish. Investigators sent out by the bureau are required to note the details of the every-day life of the Indians, and to describe such of their primitive arts as still survive as well as those that are borrowed from civilization and modified in accordance with the Indian ideas. Especial attention has been paid to their mechanical operations and appliances, particularly to the making of pottery and textile fabrics, to the ideas and methods of medicinal practice, etc. Here, again, photography has done good work in retaining, uninfluenced by a writer's subsequent imagination, the exact method of using the different implements and materials. Very large collections of pottery, clothing, and implements of various sorts have been made and are deposited in the National Museum.

Of the publications of the bureau the annual reports consist of an account of the current year's operations by the director, together with papers upon a variety of topics by the bureau assistants and by collaborators. These reports are usually liberally illustrated, and are intended to include subjects of a popular character, or those which from their nature are likely to interest a large class of readers. Up to the present time four volumes of the reports have appeared, and the matter for Vol. V is ready.

The contributions to North American ethnology are quarto volumes appearing at irregular intervals, and are in the nature of monographs upon special subjects, to which many of the papers in the annual reports are preliminary. They constitute the most important series published by the bureau, and contain the ripened studies of the scholars by whom they were written. Of these, three volumes have appeared, and two are ready for the press. A third class of publications embraces the bulletins which are intended to be the vehicle of publication of short articles upon various subjects, the speedy appearance of which is desired. So far five such bulletins have been published.

During the progress of investigations, which are ultimately to