Monday, March 30, 2009

Looking Back at Edward S. Curtis

The Library was a great place to be last week, as we took the time to look back at Edward S. Curtis, the real life man who inspired Marianne Wiggins' The Shadow Catcher. On Tuesday evening, April 24th, an appreciative crowd joined us for a screening of In the Land of the War Canoes, a film about the Kwakiutl tribe of Vancouver Island, shot and released by Edward S. Curtis himself in 1914. Originally titled In the Land of the Head Hunters, the film was a combination of documentary and dramatic film, tying the narrative story of a young Kwakiutl tribesman who must battle an old medicine man to win back his bride to authentic documentary footage of Kwakiutl tribal customs and ceremonies. The film has since been added to the United States' National Film Registry, and is considered a first of its kind. If you were not able to join us for the screening, you can always check out the DVD at the library.

On Saturday, April 28th, we invited Curtis expert and scholar, Bruce Kapson, to the Library for an informative lecture that provided a wealth of background information on the legendary photographer. Audience members, many of whom had read the book, asked lots of questions about the real life man who inspired Marianne Wiggins' fictional characterization. Mr. Kapson brought along a stunning collection of vintage photographs, prints and original copper plate negatives for audience members to look at following his lecture. If you are interested in finding out more about Edward S. Curtis, Mr. Kapson assures us he would welcome visitors to his website,, where you can learn more.

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