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Harry C. James papers
MS 111  
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Collection Overview
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This collection is comprised of a wide variety of material related to Harry C. James, an educator, author, nature enthusiast, and founder of the Trailfinders organization. Included in this collection is correspondence, written articles and manuscripts, research documents related to Native American tribes, documents detailing land conservation efforts, personal materials, photos, and other material. Much of his material is either directly or indirectly related to Southern California, with many of his press clippings and written articles published by companies in that region. Harry C. James also led a movement to protect the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains from land development projects, which was detailed in organization minutes, correspondence, and in newspaper publications throughout the collection.Within this collection, there is also a large amount of photographs, negatives, and other visual material that document his personal and professional life.
Harry C. James was born April 25th, 1896, in Ottowa, Canada. He is most known for being a conservationist, ecologist, and expert on Hopi and Cauhilla culture. When he was 17, James ran away from home to Los Angeles, California, where he met many of Hollywood's first film actors. During that time, he also created the Trailfinders, a hiking and conservation group that would explore mountains in Southern California. Trailfinders grew to include almost 40,000 boys over the course of its existence. In 1927, he married his wife Grace Clifford. who was a school teacher. Together, they created the Trailfinder's School for Boys, which taught appreciation for nature and classical music in addition to an intensive curriculum. While hiking, he developed relationships with the Hopi and Cauhilla tribes, and became one of two white men to ever be accepted into the Hopi tribe, and was given the name Walking Bear. James also became a very active writer. Nature and Native Americans were his most common subjects; he wrote often in newspapers and magazines about his observations of culture, conservation, and ecology in Southern California. He also wrote several books on Hopi, Cauhilla, and other Native American tribes. His position as a leader and creator of the Trailfinders as well as a leader of conservationist efforts make him a notable figure in Southern California history, particularly in the Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties. Harry C. James lived to be 83 years old, and died May 28th, 1978, in Banning, California.
27.54 linear feet (49 boxes, 1 flat file folder)
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The collection is open for research.