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Native American Resources in the Manuscript Division

Western Explorers and Adventurers

Joseph Ingraham, explorer. [Map of O Whyhee (Hawai'i)]. Image 31 of Joseph Ingraham Journal; Book 2. 1791. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division.

The division holds various collections related to European and Euro-American explorers and their interactions with Native peoples. The collections on this page span three centuries, from Henry Fleete's 1631 voyage to Virginia and Maryland, to Edward Henry Harriman's expedition to Alaska in 1899.

Some of the voyages described were undertaken for primarily commercial purposes, such as Joseph Ingraham's journey from Boston to Hawai'i and the Northwest Coast. Ingraham's journal was digitized and made available online, and a page depicting a map of O Whyhee (Hawai'i) is pictured on the right.

Other collections relate to expeditions undertaken for ethnographic or naturalist study, ranging from individual journeys to large, well-funded expeditions. The A.K. Fisher papers, for example, hold a photo album depicting the 1899 Harriman expedition to Alaska, where railroad magnate Edward Harriman gathered dozens of well-regarded American scientists and artists to document the coast of Alaska. The photo album, which was digitized as part of the Meeting of the Frontiers exhibit, includes striking photographs of Tlingit and Haida settlements.

The collections described on this page overlap partially with the "Native Cultures" page, which documents collections of Western ethnographic research on Native Americans that often came from voyages and expeditions like the ones described here.

Tip: Search collection names in the community name index for a fuller list of specific communities mentioned in each collection.


The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.