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Christopher C. Augur collection of photographs of the western United States

Identifier: VAULT oversize-Ayer-Art-Augur

Notice of Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials

This collection contains content identified by the library as Culturally Sensitive to Indigenous People(s): Box 4, AP2809; Box 7, AP2852 and AP2853; and Box 10, AP2925, AP2926, and AP2927 are photographs of burial sites. For more information please see the Newberry Library’s policy on Access to Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials.

Scope and Content of the Collection

Mounted albumen prints and stereographs primarily of western Indians and western scenes, mostly ca. 1865-1875, taken by Alexander Gardner, John K. Hillers, William H. Jackson and William S. Soule, plus a few others.

Gardner images include 64 large mounted prints, many entitled “Scenes in the Indian Country” and 98 stereographs which mainly document the 1868 Fort Laramie Indian Peace Commission meetings with the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Crow and Sioux tribes. Gardner’s large prints include Indian portraits and camp scenes, views of Ft. Laramie, its surroundings, and the peace negotiations. There are 19 views by John K. Hillers, many documenting the exploration of the Colorado River and the Southwest, and there are 27 Wyoming images, “Picturesque Views of the Rocky Mountain Scenery” taken by William Henry Jackson. The 22 prints by William S. Soule are mainly portraits of Arapaho, Comanche and Kiowa chiefs, probably taken at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Some photographers remain unidentified, but other photographers represented are Henry A. Doerr, with 5 views of the Department of Texas in San Antonio, C.S. Fly, with 4 views of New Mexico, and 2 western scenes by Timothy H. O’Sullivan. The bulk of the stereographs are by Gardner regarding Fort Laramie and the area around it, but there are a few by Alfred A. Hart, C.R. Savage and John B. Silvis, showing the routes of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads, plus some miscellaneous views of California, Salt Lake City and San Antonio.

This photographic collection also contains three large lithographic prints showing Mexican War military scenes in Vera Cruz, Monterey and Corpus Christi, 1846-1848


  • Creation: 1846-1889
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1865 - 1875



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Christopher C. Augur Collection of Photographs of the Western United States are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Christopher C. Augur Collection of Photographs of the Western United States are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Christopher C. Augur

United States Army officer, 1821-1898.

Born in New York in 1821, Christopher Columbus Augur graduated from West Point in 1843, in the same class as Ulysses S. Grant. He served in the Mexican War, and during the 1850s he saw service on the frontier. Promoted as Captain in 1852, he served with distinction in the campaign against Indians in Oregon in 1856.

At the start of the Civil War, Augur was appointed Major in the 13th Infantry, and in November he was commissioned as a Brigadier General of volunteers. In July, 1862, he was severely wounded in the Battle of Cedar Mountain and after rejoining his corps, he took part in the Louisiana Campaign. At the siege of Port Hudson (1863) he distinguished himself for gallantry and was brevetted Brigadier General in the United States Army, also receiving brevet of Major General for services in the field during the rebellion.

Following the Civil War Augur commanded several military departments, including the Department of the Platte (1867-1871) and the Department of Texas (1872-1875), where he was responsible for operations against the Sioux, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Comanche Indians. His next appointments were as administrator for the Departments of the Gulf, the South and the Missouri. Interested in photographic documentation, when Augur was a commissioner with the 1868 Indian Peace Commission at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, he recruited Alexander Gardner to photograph the proceedings. His copies of these photographs as well as those of other prominent Western photographers form the basis for this extensive collection.

Christopher Columbus Augur retired from the Army in 1885. He and his wife, Jane Elizabeth Arnold, had eleven children, two of whom had military careers. He died in 1898.


8.2 Linear Feet (272 photoprints and 3 prints in 4 boxes and 8 oversize boxes)


Mounted albumen prints and stereographs primarily of western Indians and scenes, ca. 1865-1881, taken by Alexander Gardner, John K. Hillers, William H. Jackson, William Soule and a few other photographers, plus three large lithographic prints of Mexican War military scenes. Also, a box containing a stereoscopic viewer.


Material is organized in twelve boxes labeled as volumes, and arranged by photographer and photographic size. The majority of the photographs in vols. 9-12 are by Alexander Gardner.

Collection Stack Location

Vault 50 4

Ownership and Custodial History

Forms part of the Edward E. Ayer Art Collection and Edward E. Ayer Photograph Collection (Newberry Library).


Gift, Murray B. Augur, via Col. Holabird, 1939.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2012.

Inventory of the Christopher C. Augur collection of photographs of the western United States, 1846-1889, bulk 1865-1875
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States