Skip to main content

Dr. A. B. Holder Collection

Identifier: MSS-737

Scope and Content

This collection details the work of Dr. A.B. Holder and includes correspondence, family photographs and genealogical materials, as well as a medical ledger, photographs and Native American items from Dr. Holder's work in Montana.


  • 1885 - 1992

Biographical Note

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.

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.


2 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Donated by the Bridgforth Family, descendants of Dr. Holder, in 2017.

Processing Note

This finding aid is currently in progress. Please contact for more information.

Dr. A. B. Holder Collection
In Progress
Shell created by Carrie P. Mastley.
January 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts Repository