Finding Aid to the John P. Clum Collection MS.519

Finding aid prepared by Holly Rose Larson
Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
234 Museum Drive
Los Angeles, CA, 90065-5030
2012 September 28

Title: John P. Clum Collection
Identifier/Call Number: MS.519
Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 0.1 Linear feet (1 folder)
Date (inclusive): 1928-1957
Abstract: Clum was an Arizona Pioneer and Apache Indian agent at San Carlos. This collection contains manuscripts by John P. Clum, and newspaper clippings about John P. Clum, ranging from 1928 to 1957.
creator: Clum, John P., 1851-1932

Processing history

Processed by Glenna Schroeder, circa 1977-1981. Finding aid completed by Holly Rose Larson, NHPRC Processing Archivist, 2012 September 28, made possible through grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commissions (NHPRC).

Biographical Note

John Philip Clum (1851 September 1 - 1932 May 2) was an Indian agent for the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in the Arizona Territory. He implemented a limited form of self-government on the reservation that was so successful that other reservations were closed and their residents moved to San Carlos. Clum later became the first mayor of Tombstone, Arizona Territory, after its incorporation in 1881. He also founded the still-operating "The Tombstone Epitaph" on May 1, 1880.
President U.S Grant established the San Carlos Apache Reservation on December 14, 1872. After an investigation of political abuses within the Office of Indian Affairs, the government gave Protestant religious groups the responsibility for managing the Indian reservations. The Apaches at San Carlos rarely saw the results of the federal money and suffered as a result. On February 26, 1874, under these difficult conditions, Clum accepted a commission as Indian Agent for the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in the Arizona Territory. During Clum's tenure at San Carlos, he established the first Indian Tribal Police and a Tribal Court, forming a system of Indian self-rule. Clum encouraged the Apaches to take up the peaceful pursuits of farming and raising cattle. Faced with superior officers who strongly disagreed with his methods, dogged by an uncaring Indian Bureau administration and under constant harassment by the Army, Clum was frustrated. He left his post as Indian Agent at noon on July 1, 1877.
Clum and his wife moved to Florence, Arizona Territory, and bought a weekly newspaper, "The Arizona Citizen," then operating in Tucson but moving it to Florence. Eventually, he moved the paper back to Tucson. For more than two years he published editorials criticizing "the Army of Arizona and the political double-crossers in Washington." Following the great silver strike in Tombstone in 1877, Clum moved to Tombstone and began publication, on Saturday, May 1, 1880, of "The Tombstone Epitaph." He helped organize a Vigilance Committee to end lawlessness in Tombstone, and his association with that group helped get him elected as Tombstone's first mayor under the new city charter of 1881.
After the Gunfight at the OK Corral, Clum was no longer popular in Tombstone. So, in 1898, Clum accepted an appointment as Postal Inspector for the Alaska Territory. During a five-month period he traversed 8,000 miles in the Alaskan territory, equipping existing post offices and establishing seven new post offices. Clum was later named postmaster for Fairbanks, Alaska, and served in that position until 1909. After his tenure as the Fairbanks postmaster, Clum spent several years working for the Southern Pacific Railroad, giving hundreds of lectures all over the country to promote tourism and passenger use of the railroad. In 1928, he moved to Los Angeles, where he lived until his death in 1932, at age 80.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains manuscripts by John P. Clum and newspaper clippings about John P. Clum, ranging from 1928 to 1957.

Preferred citation

John P. Clum Collection, 1928-1957, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.519.


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 National Center 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.


Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit or contact library staff at An item-level list is available from Library Staff.


Material was collected by Dr. Frederick Webb Hodge and Mrs. Eva Scott Fenyes. Materials were given as separate donations to the Library between 1936 and 1957.


- 1 form letter (Feb. 12, 1930) from Norman V. Donaldson, sales manager from Yale U. Pr. re: The Truth About Geronimo by Lt. Britton Davis, & card to return if the book desired. - clipping Los Angeles Times (Oct 8, 1931) "The Lee side o' L.A." by Lee Shippey re: John P. Clum - Clipping Los Angeles Times (May 3, 1932) re: death of Clum w/ picture & biographical info.
Photo Archives - 11 photos - pictures of John P. Clum at various ages, various places, pictures of unidentifed Apaches; made from some of the glass negatives - 56 glass negatives - copies made June 1931 for Dr. Clarence T. Toland include Apache Indians, Clum, miscellaneous, Geronimo; many are marked w/ contents
additional material: - biography of Clum from Arizona Historical Review July 1932 bol. 5 no. 2 by Leslie E. Gregory - John P. Clum - "Fighting Geronimo", Sunset Magazine May 1903 - announcement of Clum lecture - clipping - Los Angeles Tribune, February 9, no year about Clum's presence and will lecture at Orange Show - John P. Clum - "Victorio - H ad Chief of The Warm Spring Apaches in 1877, at Ojo Caliente, New Mexico (1929) from New Mexico Historical Review

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Fenyes, Eva Scott, d. 1930
Hodge, Frederick Webb, 1864-1956
Apache Indians
Arizona -- History
Indian reservations -- Arizona
Indians of North America -- Arizona
San Carlos Apache Tribe of the San Carlos Reservation, Arizona
Tombstone (Ariz.)