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Finding Aid to the Charles Fletcher Lummis Papers 1888-1928 MS.1
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Timeline
  • Scope and Contents
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Processing history
  • Arrangement
  • Other Finding Aids

  • Title: Charles Fletcher Lummis Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.1
    Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 153.5 Linear feet
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1850-1929
    Date (inclusive): 1450-1975
    Abstract: This collection contains the correspondence, papers, and ephemera of Charles Fletcher Lummis, founder of the Southwest Museum, and author of A Tramp Across the Continent.
    Language: Spanish, Greek
    creator: Fiske, Turbese Lummis.
    creator: Hewett, Edgar L. (Edgar Lee), 1865-1946
    creator: Landmarks Club
    creator: Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928.
    creator: Lummis, Eve
    creator: Science League of America
    creator: Sequoya League


    Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application or contact library staff at rroom@theautry.org


    Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    Charles Fletcher Lummis Papers, 1888-1928, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA; MS.1, [folder number][folder title][date]..


    The collection was bequest by C.F. Lummis in 1928, Turbese Lummis Fiske circa 1960, and donations from Keith Lummis in 1984 and 1991-1992. Materials from Marion Parks were donated by Mrs. E.J. Waldron in 1996. Additional materials were acquired from Peggy Christian in 1986.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Charles Fletcher Lummis (1859-1928) is well-known for walking from Cincinnati, Ohio to Los Angeles, California in 1884 and founding the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in 1907 in Los Angeles, California. He married three times and fathered five children.
    Lummis was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on 1859 March 1 to Henry and Harriet Fowler Lummis. He entered Harvard in 1878 and while there edited The Harvard Crimson and majored in “poker, poetry, and athletics.”
    As a means of raising funds to put himself through Harvard, he wrote three volumes of the Birch Bark Poems, a series of poems printed as miniature books on birch bark. Lummis left Harvard in his last semester without graduating, but received an honorary degree on the 25th anniversary of his Harvard graduating class in 1906.
    In 1880 Lummis married his first wife, Dorothea Roads and moved to Chillicothe, Ohio to work on his father-in-law’s farm. During this time he also edited the local paper, the Scioto Gazette.
    Lummis began his famed “tramp across the continent” on 1884 September 12. He walked west from Cincinnati, Ohio to Los Angeles, California covering 3,507 miles in 143 days. Prior to leaving he had contact with Harrison Gray Otis, owner of the Los Angeles Times, who promised to publish Lummis’s weekly reports. Lummis also made the same deal with the owner of the Scioto Gazette, sending different accounts to the two newspapers.
    This trek gave Lummis his first exposure to Spanish and Native American cultures of the Southwest. Lummis reached his Los Angeles destination on 1885 February 1. Otis met him at San Gabriel Mission and they finished the walk together. Lummis joined the Los Angeles Times and was City Editor from 1885 to 1888. In this capacity he covered the Apache Wars in Arizona, enabling him to grow familiar with Arizona and New Mexico and the photography of C.S. Fly.
    Lummis suffered from a stroke in 1887 that left him partially paralyzed. He recuperated in New Mexico at the estate of Don Amado Chaves, Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives, whom Lummis had met during his “tramp”. He also spent time at the Pueblo of Isleta where he studied the language and culture of the Isleta Indians; took unauthorized photographs of the “Penitentes in San Mateo”; and became involved in a land war.
    Lummis’s outspoken nature and belief in human rights led him into the middle of American Indian rights activities. One such confrontation resulted in an attempt on his life in response to his position concerning a range war. He was nursed back to health at Isleta by a neighbor Eve Douglas. Lummis divorced Dorothea in February of 1891 and then married Eve the following month on March 21. Lummis fathered four children with Eve- Turbese (born 1892), Amado (born 1894), Jordon “Quimu” (born 1900) and Keith (born1904).
    Lummis continued to travel to New Mexico meeting influential people such as renowned anthropologist, Adolph Bandelier. In 1888 they explored Canyon Rito de Los Frijoles, known today as the Bandelier National Monument.
    Shortly after Eve and Lummis’s first child was born, Lummis joined Adolph Bandelier on an expedition to Peru as the photographer. When the funding for the expedition began to falter, Lummis was forced to return to the United States in November of 1893.
    Upon returning to California he became editor of Land of Sunshine, a bimonthly journal which Lummis later renamed Out West. He used the magazine as a platform for the organizations that he founded. He also encouraged writers, artists, and musicians and was first to publish women authors in the magazines under their own names rather than under pseudonyms. Lummis was the editor of this publication from 1894 to 1909.
    In 1895 Lummis purchased a multiple adjacent lots that he refers to in his diary as "Sycamore Grove". Located in the Arroyo Seco area of northeast Los Angeles, this is where Lummis began construction of his home, “El Alisal,” meaning “place of the sycamores.” Lummis spent much of his life at this location writing, and raising his children, Bertha, Turbesé, Amado, Jordan, and Keith. He also threw large parties which he called “Noises.” These parties were commonly attended by people ranging from artists to statesman. Lummis documented the comings and goings of these gathering by having his guests sign his “House Book”.
    Lummis was instrumental in the formation and implementation of the Landmarks Club in 1897, the Sequoya League in 1902, and the Southwest Society in 1903. Through these groups Lummis was fundamentally active in the preservation of the California missions, defending American Indian Rights, and documenting the “Southwest”, a term he coined.
    Through the Landmarks Club, Lummis helped restore Mission San Diego, Mission San Juan Capistrano, San Fernando Mission and Santa Barbara Mission. The activities of the Landmarks Club, although sporadic, lasted until 1925.
    The Sequoya League was founded to protect the rights of American Indian tribes, especially those located in California. The Sequoya League was involved with the relocation of the Cupeno Indians from Warner Ranch to Pala, California and the Commission of Indian Affairs investigation of Charles E. Burton. Burton was the Superintendent and Disbursing Agent to the Hopi and Navajo at Keam’s Canyon, Arizona. Charges against Burton included raids on Hopi homes, searching out truants, use of intimidation and physical violence, and the use of hair-cropping. The Sequoya League continued until 1909.
    The Southwest Society was the western branch of the Archaeological Institute of America and the precursor to the Southwest Museum. Through the Society Lummis began to record California Spanish Folksongs and conduct field work in Arizona and New Mexico.
    Between the formation of these organizations, Lummis’s eldest son, Amado, died in the year 1900 at the age of six.
    Lummis was appointed Los Angeles City Librarian in 1905. A position he held until 1910. Under his administration the Library’s reference department was augmented, books were “branded” to prevent theft, and children were allowed access to the collection for the first time.
    Two other major events happened to Lummis within this time. In 1909 Eve left Lummis under numerous allegations of infidelity and quickly remarried, going by the name Frances Douglas. On 1907 December 31, the first museum of Los Angeles, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, was incorporated.
    Lummis’s main goal for the City of Los Angeles was to make it a renowned cultural city equal to New York, Chicago, and Boston. He felt there was a need for a museum, to preserve the native people’s culture of the Southwest.
    Lummis left his City Librarian position so that he can focus more of his efforts towards developing the Southwest Museum. Lummis spent much of his time soliciting for donations, collections, and a location for his new museum. He donated his own collection glass negatives, photographic prints, and his personal papers, library and his ethnographic objects. Lummis supervised the laying of the museum cornerstone on 1913 December 13 and presided over the museum’s opening on 1914 August 3. He was also instrumental in the development of the museum’s staff and board. In March of 1915, Lummis resigned as the secretary of the museum board due to conflicts brought about by disagreements regarding acquisition, display and preservation of the collection. He did, however, remain on the Board as a Trustee until 1923.
    After his time on the museum board, Lummis continued to write columns for the Los Angeles Times and popular magazines; married his third wife, Gertrude Redit, in 1915 (she left him in 1923); and was awarded the “El Real Orden de Isabela la Catolica” in 1917 for his work in interpreting Spain’s contributions to American culture. His book Spanish Pioneers was published in a limited Spanish edition.
    Throughout his life Lummis wrote seventeen books, hundreds of articles, and encouraged the likes of Maynard Dixon, William Keith, John Muir, Mary Austin, Ida Mecham Strobridge, and John Burroughs.
    Lummis longed to return to New Mexico to see it for one last time. He was able to visit New Mexico in the summer of 1927 and for the last time, in the summer of 1928. On 1928 November 25, Charles Fletcher Lummis died of brain cancer.


    Charles F. Lummis, 1859-1928 A chronology of events in his life and a brief biographical sketch of his early years
    1859: March 1st, born in Lynn, Massachusetts.
    1878: Entered Harvard University. During summer vacation, Lummis worked as a printer in the Profile House, Franconia Notch, New Hampshire.
    1880: Married Dorothea Roads.
    1881: Moved Chillicothe, Ohio to work on his father-in-law’s farm.
    1882: Became editor of the Scioto Gazette in Chillicothe. 1884: September 12th, started his “tramp across the continent.”
    1885: February 1st, arrived in Los Angeles and started working as City Editor for the Los Angeles Times.
    1886: Was sent to Arizona by the Los Angeles Times as a war correspondent to cover the Apache Wars.
    1887: Toward the end of the year, suffered his first stroke, from which he was partially paralyzed.
    1888: February 5th, started his diary and left for New Mexico to recuperate from paralysis. Lummis was the guest of Amado Chaves, Speaker of New Mexico’s House of Representatives, until autumn of that year. He then moved to the pueblo of Isleta. In August he met Adolph Bandelier.
    1889: He became embroiled in a range war and on February 14th, an attempt was made on his life. He was hit with eight buckshot. Eve Douglas, a neighbor nursed him back to health.
    1891: February, Lummis obtained a divorce from Dorothea and married Eve Douglas on March 21st.
    1892: June 8th, their first child, Turbesé, was born. Lummis settled this family in Los Angeles and soon after accompanied Bandelier on an expedition to Peru as his assistant and expedition photographer.
    1893: Later in the year, funding for the expedition dried up and he returned to Los Angeles in November and was asked to assume editorship of the Land of Sunshine.
    1894: January, first issue of Land of Sunshine with Lummis as editor. He bought land for his home in the Arroyo Seco. November 15th, Amado Bandelier Lummis was born.
    1897: Formed the Landmarks Club and began construction of his home, “El Alisal.”
    1900: January 19th, Jordan Lummis, also known as Quimu, was born. December 25th, Amado Bandelier Lummis died.
    1902: Lummis organized the Sequoya League and changed the name of Land of Sunshine to Out West.
    1903: November 12th, founded the Southwest Society.
    1904: August 20th, Keith Lummis was born.
    1905: Appointed City Librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library.
    1907: December 31st, the Southwest Museum was incorporated.
    1909: Eve and Lummis separated.
    1910: February 28th, bequeathed his collection of “artifects,” his library of Spanish Americana and his home to the Southwest Museum and gave up his position as City Librarian.
    1911: March, Lummis headed a School of American Research expedition to Guatemala. Contracted “Breakbone” fever and was blind, off and on for many years. August 14th, went on an expedition into the Southwest with the school of American Research. November 16th was the ground breaking ceremony for the founding of the Southwest Museum.
    1912: His eye sight returns.
    1913: December 6th, the cornerstone was laid for the Southwest Museum.
    1914: August 3rd, Southwest Museum opened to the public.
    1915: March, Lummis resigned as secretary of the Southwest Museum Board continued as a trustee for the next four years. He married Gertrude Redit.
    1917: Because of financial difficulties the Museum had to return the gift of El Alisal to Lummis. Lummis was awarded “El Real Orden de Isabela la Católica” for his work in interpreting Spain’s contribution to American culture.
    1923: March 1st. Founder’s Day at the Southwest Museum in honor of Lummis.
    1928: During the summer, visited New Mexico for the last time. November 12th, the last entry in Lummis’ diary. November 25thm Charles F. Lummis died.
    Timeline from Chas. F. Lummis : the centennial exhibition commemorating his tramp across the continent , edited by Daniela P. Moneta and published by the Southwest Museum, 1985.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection is comprised of papers, publications, images, musical notation, scrapbooks, clippings, ephemera, and realia regarding Charles Fletcher Lummis's personal and professional life. Included are materials on historic music of California, travel, and his home, El Alisal. The collection spans Lummis's involvement with such institutions as the Los Angeles Public Library, Sequoya League, Landmarks Club, and Southwest Museum and publications such as The Land of Sunshine, Out West Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. It also includes papers of Lummis's second wife, Frances Douglas, also known as Eve Lummis.

    Related Archival Materials

    Caroline Maria Seymour Severance Papers; Jayhawkers of '49 Collection; Margaret Collier Graham Papers; and other collections, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
    Charles F. Lummis collection (MS 039). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.
    Charles F. Lummis papers. MS-R033. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.
    Charles Fletcher Lummis Papers (Collection 763). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
    Charles Lummis photographs, Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library, Claremont University Consortium.
    Turbesé Lummis Fiske and Frances Douglas Papers, 1890-1967, Braun Research Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.240
    Frances Douglas papers (MS 037). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.
    Maynard Dixon Papers and related material, BANC MSS 85/101c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
    Papers of Charles F. Lummis, CFLM, Archives and Special Collections, Colorado State University.
    School for Advanced Research Archival Collections, Catherine McElvain Library, School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM; AC32.
    Scrapbook of 1880s Newspaper Clippings, circa 1885-circa 1889, Braun Research Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.1315.
    Southwest Society Institutional Archives, 1903-1917, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA; MS.2
    Southwest Museum Institutional Archives, 1907-2003, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA; MS.3

    Processing history

    Initial processing and cataloging of the Correspondence and Journal series was performed by Michael Divic, funded by the California Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) grant. Processing of the Sequoya League papers was performed by Stefanie Crump under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Additional processing and finding aid completed by Holly Rose Larson, NHPRC Project Archivist, February 2011, made possible through grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).


    The collection is arranged alphabetically when possible unless otherwise noted in the following series:
    • Series 1: Correspondence (MS.1.1), 1879-1928
    • Series 2: Journals (MS.1.2), 1888-1928
    • Series 3: Diaries (MS.1.3), 1882-1928
    • Series 4: Scrapbooks (MS.1.4), 1882-1929
    • Series 5: Music Papers (MS.1.5), 1850-1929
    • Series 6: Manuscripts and Published Works, (MS.1.6), 1450-1952 (Bulk, 1879-1929)
    • Series 7: Clubs and Institutions (MS.1.7), 1852-1928
    • Series 8: Los Angeles Public Library, (MS.1.8), 1906-1910
    • Series 9: Personal and Family Papers (MS.1.9), 1884-1925
    • Series 10: El Alisal, (MS.1.10), 1897-1939
    • Series 11: Lummisiana (MS.1.11), 1898-1959
    • Series 12: Realia (MS.1.12), 1868-1921
    • Series 13: Clippings (MS.1.13), undated

    Other Finding Aids

    Charles F. Lummis Manuscript Collection (MS.1) Correspondence Series (MS.1.1), 1879-1928, Finding Aid, Volumes I-III.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Archaeological Institute of America. Southwest Society
    California missions
    California, Southern -- History
    Indians of North America
    Indians of North America -- California
    Indians of North America -- Government relations
    Indians of North America -- Relocation
    Indians of North America -- Southwest, New
    Los Angeles Public Library
    Southwest Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    United States -- Politics and government
    Warner's Ranch (Calif.)