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Copyright deposit of the Rinehart Studio for Plains Indians photographs, 1898-1899

Frank A. Rinehart was the official photographer of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi International Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska. During the fair, his studio photographed more than five hundred Native Americans representing various Indian nations. In December 1898, Rinehart submitted this claim with eighteen photographic prints to the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress; copyright was granted in January 1899.

Copyright Office, Library of Congress

Copyright deposit of the Rinehart Studio for Plains Indians photographs, 1898-1899 Copyright deposit of the Rinehart Studio for Plains Indians photographs, 1898-1899

Copyrighting Creative Works - 2

The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to “promote the progress of…useful arts.” In 1790 Congress passed the first Copyright Act protecting creators’ rights to books, maps and other intellectual property. Congress revised the law in the 19th century to centralize copyright deposits and registrations in the Library of Congress. The growing influx of materials—including photographs, films and foreign works—demanded larger quarters for the library to house the materials.