Andrew Bowles Holder Archival Collection

Dr. Andrew Bowles (A.B.) Holder, native of Pickens, MS (near Jackson) was appointed to the post of physician at the Office of Indian Affairs Crow Agency in Montana in 1887 at the request of his father, prominent Civil War veteran and Auditor of the State of Mississippi Col. W.D. Holder. The younger Holder, a graduate of the University of Mississippi and the Tulane University Medical School, was at that time working as a doctor in his native Mississippi. He moved out West that same year, and remained in Montana until approximately 1890. On his return to the South, he worked as physician in Memphis, where he became assistant to the chair of surgery at the Memphis Medical College, and a leading expert in the treatment of appendicitis. Holder died of appendicitis in 1896, at the age of thirty-five. His papers, including his photographs, were donated to Mississippi State University Libraries by his family in 2017.

While living in Montana, Holder used photography, then very new to the commercial market, to record his surroundings. The result is a fascinating and complex series of images. Holder created formal and informal portraits of individuals and groups of many different members of the Apsaalooke (Crow) Tribe, including school children and bōté, a term used to describe individuals that fall outside the gender binary. He also photographed white people working and living on or near the reservation, and natural and built environments. While he did not take any photographs of medical treatment or of specific patients, he did use his photographs as models for illustrations in “Papers on Diseases Among Indians,” an article about medical and funerary practices among Native American tribes of the West, published in the Medical Record in 1892. He also wrote an article about the bōté for the New York Medical Journal in 1889.

Archivists at Mississippi State have closely consulted the Protocols for Native American materials ( published in 2006 and approved by the Society of American Archivists in 2018, when making decisions about providing access to Holder’s photographs. The pictures in the digital collection are selections from a larger collection, with metadata created in collaboration with the Apsaalooke (Crow) Tribe. For further information about Dr. Holder and his photographs, or to suggest changes to descriptions, please contact


Browse the Andrew Bowles Holder Archival Collection:

Andrew Bowles Holder Photograph Collection