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De Lancey Walker Gill

Courtesy of Jay Miller

De Lancey Walker Gill (1859–1940), born in Camden, South Carolina, was largely self-taught with little formal education, but in 1887 became assistant draftsman in the supervising Architect's office for the United States Government. Artist-scientist William Henry Holmes noted Gill's artistic ability and recommended his hiring to illustrate for the US Geological Survey and the Bureau of Ethnology, sketching across Indian Territory, Arizona desert, and upper Yellowstone Valley. He turned to photography, producing thousands of portraits of natives calling on the Bureau of Indian Affairs in D.C. He married three times, to Rose De Lima Draper (died 1893), painter Mary Irvin Wright (divorced 1903), and Katherine Schley, with a total of eight children. Forced to retire at 73, he taught art at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., then retired to Virginia where he died from a fall down his stairs.