Sigurd Russell Photograph Collection of Southwest Indians and Schools

Finding aid created by Photo Archives staff using RecordEXPRESS
Huntington Library. Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
(626) 405-2129

Descriptive Summary

Title: Sigurd Russell Photograph Collection of Southwest Indians and Schools
Dates: 1890s-1927 (bulk 1920s)
Collection Number: photCL 399
Creator/Collector: Russell, Sigurd, 1885-1946; James, G. Wharton (George Wharton), 1858-1923; Detroit Publishing Co.; Frashers Inc.; Fred Harvey (Firm); Lollesgard Specialty Company; Southwest Arts & Crafts (Santa Fe, N.M.)
Extent: 144 photographs and 22 postcards in 1 box; prints and postcards 12 x 16.5 cm. (4.75 x 6.5 in.) and smaller. See list of photos by topic under “Additional collection guides.”
Repository: Huntington Library. Photo Archives
San Marino, California 91108
Abstract: A collection of photographs and postcards focusing on Navajo and Hopi Indians and various Indian schools and schoolchildren throughout Arizona, mostly in ca. 1927. There are views of Peach Springs Trading Post, the Cameron Suspension Bridge trading post, missions at Chinle and Lukachukai (Arizona), Navajo family groups, Navajo schools at Tuba City and Oraibi (Arizona), and Navajo school crafts fairs and exhibits. Acoma, Apache, Tohono O'odham (Papago), and Hualapai Indians are also represented. The photographs were taken from 1890 to 1927, but the bulk of the collection was created during the 1920s. Includes some photographs by George Wharton James, E.E. Hall, and Burton Frasher (Frasher Fotos) .
Language of Material: English


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Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Photographs. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Preferred Citation

Sigurd Russell Photograph Collection of Southwest Indians and Schools. Huntington Library. Photo Archives

Acquisition Information

Gift of Beatrice Russell Beck, October 1996.

Biography/Administrative History

Sigurd Russell was born in 1885 and became a well-seasoned traveler in his formative years after being moved around Europe for his education. In order to support himself as an adult, he became a journalist, and founded the “Lamanda Park Herald” (later the “East Pasadena Herald”) in 1915. Russell later became a teacher at Los Angeles High School, and used school vacations to travel to the Southwest. During these trips, he may have written about the Indians who lived there for the Southwest Museum, as Charles F. Lummis frequently attended parties at the Russell house. In his later years, Russell’s health grew worse and he died due to heart complications in 1946. [See transcript of oral interview with Beatrice Russell Beck in library files.]

Scope and Content of Collection

These images of Indians were taken as both posed and candid field photographs, in particular of young Navajo schoolchildren during class time and outside of school. Other subjects pictured are L.H. McSparron, owner of Thunderbird Ranch and acting custodian of Canyon de Chelly; Father Leopold Ostermann, the founder of the mission at Chinle; possibly John Lorenzo Hubbell Jr., of the Hubbell trading family; an Indian all-boys track-and-field team at an unidentified school; Indian schoolchildren; and nature views throughout Arizona. The photographs have been arranged by Indian tribe, starting with the tribe with the most photographs and/or postcards. Navajo Indians appear first in the arrangement, followed by Hopi, Apache, and other Southwestern tribes with fewer photographs. Within each tribe, photographs and postcards have been further organized by individual tribe members, activities, crafts, associated communities, and schools. Images of Caucasian people involved in Indian trade, trading posts, and unidentified Indian schools and students are placed at the end of this collection. Russell also collected postcards with images of Southwest Indians, with some cards having correspondence from Russell, addressed to Beatrice Madelleine, Mrs. George R. Simmons, and Madeleine Touchaux (Russell’s wife), describing how travel conditions were as well as opinions on the Indians that were encountered. NOTES ON SOURCES used in the creation of this finding aid: Beck, Beatrice Russell. Interview by Virginia Neely. Telephone interview transcript, October 30, 1996. / Blue, Martha. “Indian Trader: The Life and Times of J.L. Hubbell.” Walnut, Calif.: Kiva Publishing Inc., 2000. / Brugge, David M., and Raymond Wilson. “Early Development, 1932-1941,” in “Administrative History: Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona.” Last modified March 8, 2004. / OAC. “Guide to the Frasher Foto Postcard Collection.” Accessed April 15, 2013. / Smith, Dama Margaret. “Indian tribes of the Southwest.” Stanford University Press, 1933.

Indexing Terms

Acoma Indians
Apache Indians
Basket making—Arizona
Dakota Indians
First communion
Havasupai Indians
Hopi Indians
Hualapai Indians
Hubbell family
Indians of North America—Education
Indians of North America—Missions
Indians of North America—Southwest, New
Indian school children
Indian traders
Navajo blankets
Navajo Indians
Navajo shepherds
Tohono O’odham Indians
Trading posts—Arizona
Yuma Indians
Ostermann, Leopold
Albuquerque (N.M.)
Chelly, Canyon de (Ariz.)
Chinle (Ariz.)
Fort Mojave (Ariz.)
Oraibi (Ariz.)
Peach Springs (Ariz.)
Tuba City (Ariz.)

Additional collection guides