O.S. Goff photographs, 1889  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Goff, O.S
O.S. Goff photographs
1889 (inclusive)
4 photographic copy prints (1 folder)
Collection Number
Photographs of African American, "Buffalo Soldiers," taken by O.S. Goff, a photographer at Fort Custer, Montana
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries’ Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Additional Reference Guides


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Born September 10, 1843 in Connecticut, Orlando Scott Goff was a photographer active in the Dakota Territory. Goff was enlisted in the Union Army 10th CT Infantry Company K from September 19, 1861- August 25, 1865. He is registered as Orlando Goff, Orlando B. Goff, and Orlando S. Goff. Goff suffered a gunshot wound to his right breast and arm during Army service.

After his military service Orlando studied photography in Lyons, New York. He was an itinerant photographer in Portage, Wisconsin. In 1871, he moved to Yankton, Dakota Territory and established the first photography gallery in Yankton. In 1873, he moved to Bismarck where he opened his a photography studio. In that same year he became the post photographer for Fort Abraham Lincoln in Montana where he took series of photographs of George Armstrong Custer and his officers. He also took many photographs of Native Americans, including the first photograph of Chief Joseph of the Nez Pierce in 1877.

In 1877, Goff met with his apprentice David Frances Berry in Bismarck, Dakota Territory. Goff was Berry's mentor, employer, and later, business partner in Bismark, Dakota Territory. Berry went on to photograph and become friends with Sitting Bull, his son Louie, as well as Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, and Red Cloud.

In 1878, Goff left Bismarck and went on a photographic tour of the Plains. During this time he took famous photographs of the Crow Maiden, Charging Hawk (Osage scout), Long Soldier (Hunkpapa Sioux Chief), and Sitting Bull (1881) as well as photos from the Little Big Horn Battle site, and Fort Custer (1888). During the 1870s and 1880s worked together with Berry. Goff had a gallery that was affixed to a wagon. Barry decided to make a portable gallery as well, but one that was fabricated so it could be put up and taken down at any location. The photography at this time was a rigorous endeavor. It employed glass plates and heavy equipment, often transported by wagon and/or horse.

In 1900, Goff retired as a photographer and Barry became the proprietor of Goff's Bismarck studio. In 1907, he ran as a Republican was elected to the Montana House of Representatives, representing the Chocteau County. In 1910, Goff and his wife Anna E. Eaton Goff moved to Boise, Idaho. On October 17, 1916 Goff died in Boise, Idaho.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

After the Civil War, Congress reorganized the "Union Colored Troops" into the 25th United States Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the "Buffalo Soldiers", establishing two all Black cavalry units and four infantry units. The 25th Infantry was one of the racially segregated units of the United States Army from 1866 to 1946. In 1880, the 25th Infantry was transferred to the northern Great Plains, operating mostly in Dakota Territory, Montana, Minnesota. In May 1888, the regiment was transferred to Montana, exchanging stations with the 3rd Infantry. Headquarters and four companies were located at Fort Missoula, while four companies went to Fort Shaw and two (Company A and D) to Fort Custer. Fort Custer was in use from 1877-1898.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of four photographic copy prints of cabinet cards (4 ½ x 6 ½) size photographs taken by O.S. Goff. They include studio portraits of the African American, "Buffalo Soldiers," who were members of Company A and D of the 25th Infantry.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View the digital version of the collection

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


25th United States Infantry Regiment "Buffalo Soldiers"Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1
 Studio portrait of African American officer of Company A, Fort Custer, Montana
On mount: "O.S. Goff Dickinson, N.D." (North Dakota became a state in 1889.)
circa 1889
1 2 circa 1889
1 3 circa 1889
1 4 circa 1889

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • African American soldiers
  • Barry, D. F. (David Francis), 1854-1934
  • Soldiers, Black
  • United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 25th
  • Personal Names :
  • Goff, O. S. (Orlando Scott), 1843-1917--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Fort Custer (Mont.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Cabinet photographs
  • Photographs

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)