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Philip A. Bailey Papers 1842-1965


Overview of the Collection

Creator: Bailey, Philip A., 1885-1970
Title: Philip A. Bailey Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1842-1965
Bulk Dates: 1906-1948
Quantity: 17 Boxes (8.0 Linear Feet)
Abstract:The Philip A. Bailey Papers contain correspondence, notebooks, biographical and genealogical material, manuscript and typescript compositions, and clippings files. Although the collection ranges from 1842 to 1965, the bulk of the material covers Bailey's research and writing on lost mines in Arizona and California from 1906 to 1948.
Identification: MSS-91
Language: Material in English
Repository: Arizona State University Library. Greater Arizona Collection
P.O. Box 871006
Tempe, AZ 85287-1006
Phone: (480) 965-4932
Questions? Ask An Archivist!

Biographical Note

Philip Armine Bailey was born at Royal Oak, Michigan on September 16, 1885. He was the son of Myron Asher and Bertha Sofia Brand Bailey. Philip commenced his professional and literary life at Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1906 when he joined the Santa Fe Railroad as a shop and materials inspector and began collecting lost mine tales from local prospectors. He married Helen Elizabeth Pettit in 1909. Their daughter, Dorothy Helen, was born on July 9, 1910.

The Baileys moved to San Diego, California, in 1911. There, Philip was employed as Statistician and Analyst by the San Diego Gas and Electric Company. He vigorously pursued his avocation by collecting tales from prospectors in the desert region east of San Diego, clippings and notes from California libraries, and correspondence from other folklorists.

The culmination of Bailey's efforts was the publication of an anthology, Golden Mirages, in 1940. He wrote many other unpublished pieces and had these and his voluminous research materials bound together. He continued his research in mining legends and local history until 1965, when ill health hampered his activities. Philip A. Bailey died in 1970.

Scope and Content Note

The Philip A. Bailey Papers contain correspondence, notebooks, biographical and genealogical material, manuscript and typescript compositions, and clippings files. Although the collection ranges from 1842 to 1965, the bulk of the material covers Bailey's research and writing on lost mines in Arizona and California from 1906 to 1948. The papers have been divided into three series: Published and Unpublished Works; Research Materials; and Personal Papers.

The Published and Unpublished Works series comprises Golden Mirages, Gold Trails, and Miscellaneous Writings. Correspondence concerning the publication of Golden Mirages from 1936 to 1958, is bound in Box 2, Folder 2. Permissions, a narrative of the author's meeting with a publisher's representative, reviews, discussion of a tentative paperback version, and proofs of the illustrations and maps are all included in this volume. In "Acknowledgements" (Box 3, Folder 1), Bailey writes about the process of collecting tales and identifies some of his storytellers. Golden Mirages was initially entitled Gold in the Desert. This version of the anthology was rejected by publishers. A bound typescript of this version is in Box 3, Folder 2. Folders 3 through 5 of Box 3 contain research notes on the life of Thomas L. "Pegleg" Smith, who is the central figure in Golden Mirages. A bound volume of news clippings about Smith is in Box 3, Folder 6, and Folder 7 contains a timeline of his life.

The Gold Trails subseries is a second anthology of lost mine lore that pertains to the Southwest other than California. Box 4 contains a bound typescript (Folder 1) and a bound, holograph copy (Folder 2) of this manuscript. Notes on the research that led to Gold Trails is in Box 5, Folder 1.

Miscellaneous Writings is a subseries of shorter works, many of which also concern legends of lost mines and treasures. "Gold Mine Yarns" (1866-1951), in Box 5, Folder 2, is a bound collection of journal articles that represented Bailey's sources. "Ghosts of the Desert" (Box 5, Folder 3) and "Ghosts of the Gold Country" (Box 5, Folder 4) are both articles by Bailey. Box 5, Folder 5 holds two mathematical theses, while Folders 1-8 of Box 6 contain numerous short stories, very short anecdotes, and essays.

The Research Materials series is the result of a lifetime of listening and note taking by Bailey. The "Bailey's Notes" subseries is mostly original, holograph materials entitled and bound by Bailey. The portions that remain loose have been housed near their bound counterparts.

The Notebooks subseries is a numbered sequence of reporter's notebooks containing rough holograph notations. Box 14, Folder 3 is a similar notebook lettered "A."

Miscellaneous Papers is a subseries of research notes, or reproduced sources, that were not organized into bound volumes by Bailey. Bolas de Plata (Box 14, Folder 5) contains notes about the history of Spanish colonial Arizona. Folder 6 includes correspondence with Charles L. Camp of the University of California Department of Paleontology regarding Pegleg Smith (1965). The "Gila River Route" (Box 14, Folder 7) is a manuscript bibliography prepared by George M. Ellis and amended by Philip A. Bailey. "Gila Route '49" is a bound collection of photocopied journal and newspaper articles (Box 14, Folder 8). In Folder nine are copies of a letter from Henry Clay (1842) to an unknown correspondent summarizing the Whig Party platform and another reporting on the feasibility of a military road between the mouth of the Gila River and San Diego. Western Pioneers (Box 15, Folder 1) is another collection of journal and newspaper articles.

The Personal Papers series (1884-1961) contains family correspondence, business correspondence, notes by Bailey on family history or his personal finances, and news clippings. It is organized into Correspondence, Biographical Material, Genealogical Material, and Miscellaneous Papers subseries. The Biographical Material subseries (Box 16, Folder 6) contains a few documents relating to Bailey's business activities during his years in Albuquerque (1907-1911). In the Genealogical Material subseries (Box 17, Folder 1) is Bailey's genealogical chart (1941) and biographical notes on ancestors. Within the Miscellaneous Papers, in Box 17, Folder 4, is an annotated document describing Bailey's injury in a railroad accident in 1928.


This collection consists of seventeen boxes divided into three series:
Series I: Published and Unpublished Works
Sub-Series A: Golden Mirages
Sub-Series B: Gold Trails
Sub-Series C: Miscellaneous Writings
Series II: Research Materials
Sub-Series A: Bailey's Notes
Sub-Series B: Notebooks
Sub-Series C: Miscellaneous Papers
Series III: Personal Papers
Sub-Series A: Correspondence
Sub-Series B: Biographical Material
Sub-Series C: Genealogical Material
Sub-Series D: Miscellaneous Papers


Access Restrictions

To view this collection, make an appointment at least five business days prior to your visit by contacting Ask an Archivist or calling (480) 965-4932. Appointments in the Wurzburger Reading Room at Hayden Library (rm. 138) on the Tempe campus are available Monday through Friday. Check the ASU Library Hours page for current availability.


Arizona State University does not own the copyright to this collection. We recognize that it is incumbent upon the researcher to procure permission to publish information from this collection from the owner of the copyright.

Related Material

Interested researchers may also wish to consult:

Golden Mirages by Philip A. Bailey (record available at
CP SPC 195: Philip A. Bailey Photographs, 1880s-1940s (guide available at

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Bailey, Philip A., 1885-1970.

Arizona -- History -- To 1912.
Folklore -- Arizona.
Folklore -- California.
Miners -- Arizona -- Folklore.
Miners -- California -- Folklore.
Mines and mineral resources -- Arizona -- Folklore.
Mines and mineral resources -- Arizona.
Mines and mineral resources -- California -- Folklore.
Mines and mineral resources -- California.
Overland journeys to the Pacific.
Pioneers -- West (U.S.).
Southwest, New -- History -- To 1848.
Tales -- Arizona.
Tales -- California.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Arizona Collection, MSS-91, Arizona State University Library.


The Philip A. Bailey Papers were received from his son in law, John M. Lewis, with the assistance of John Reed in 1990.

Container List

Series I: Published and Unpublished Works
Sub-Series A: Golden Mirages
11 1st Manuscript, Undated
21 Bound typescript, 1940
22 Golden Mirages - Letters (bound), 1936-1958
31 Golden Mirages - Part of Rejected Manuscript, Undated
32 Gold in the Desert (bound typescript), 1940
33 Pegleg Smith - Holograph Notes, Undated
34 Pegleg Smith - Manuscript, Undated
35 Pegleg Smith and Others - Holograph Notes and Manuscripts, Undated
36 Sketches from the Life of Pegleg Smith (bound holograph), 1854-1945
37 Thomas L. Smith "Pegleg" Chronology, Undated
Sub-Series B: Gold Trails
41 Gold Trails - Typescript, Undated
42 Gold Trails - Holograph Manuscript, Undated
51 Gold Trails - Holograph Notes, Undated
Sub-Series C: Miscellaneous Writings
52 Gold Mine Yarns (bound typescript), 1866-1951
53 Ghosts of the Desert (holograph), Undated
54 Ghosts of the Gold Country (holograph and typescript), 1945
55 The Parabolic Equation, y=a+bx+cx2 and Equations for Orthogonial Polynomials, 1944
61 The Adventures of Bessie the Burro (manuscript), Undated
62 The Adventures of Bessie the Burro (typescript), Undated
63 The Adventures of Bessie the Burro/Enchanted Hill (typescript), Undated
64 The Mountains Whisper (manuscript), Undated
65 The Mountains Whisper (typescript), Undated
66 Short Story Manuscripts, Undated
67 Stories, Undated
68 Miscellaneous Writings, 1937-1961
Series II: Research Materials
Sub-Series A: Bailey's Notes
69 Mostly Vol. 1, 1937, Undated
610 Original Notes for Vol. 1, 1939, Undated
71 Volume 1 (bound typescript), 1940
72 Volume 1 (bound typescript, copy 2), 1940
81 Volume 2 (bound typescript), 1940
82 Volume 2 (typescript), 1941
83 Volume 2 - Miscellaneous Notes, Undated
91 Volume 3 (bound typescript), 1942
92 Volume 3 (typescript, 2nd copy), 1942
93 Volume 3 - Holograph Notes, Undated
101 Volume 4 (bound typescript/holograph), 1945
111 Volume 5 (bound typescript/holograph), 1949
121 Volume 6 (bound typescript/holograph), 1951
131 Volume 7 (bound typescript/holograph), 1957
132 Notes for Volume 1 and Volume 3, Undated
133 For Next Book of Bailey's Notes, 1954-1965
Sub-Series B: Notebooks
134 Notebook #1 (holograph), Undated
141 Notebook #2 (holograph), Undated
142 Notebook #3 (holograph), Undated
143 Notebook A (holograph), Undated
Sub-Series C: Miscellaneous Papers
144 Bancroft Library Newsletters, 1953-1961
145 Bolas de Platas (Bales of Silver), Undated (Volume 2, Page 136)
146 Charles L. Camp Correspondence and Miscellaneous Notes, 1965, Undated
147 Gila River Route, 1951
148 Gila Route 1849 (bound volume), 1932-1949
149 Henry Clay, J. J. Warner Correspondence, 1842, 1853
1410 San Diego Rainfall, Undated
151 Western Pioneers (bound volume), 1866-1923
152 Miscellaneous Notes, Undated
153 Miscellaneous Notes (and Correspondence), 1936-1965
161 Miscellaneous Notes (and manuscripts), Undated
162 Miscellaneous Notes, Manuscripts, and Correspondence, 1936-1965
163 Miscellaneous Papers (found on desk of PAB), 1939-1941
Series III: Personal Papers
Sub-Series A: Correspondence
164 International Development Co. Correspondence, 1946-1955
165 Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1931-1960
Sub-Series B: Biographical Material
166 Bailey - Biographical, 1907-1959
Sub-Series C: Genealogical Material
171 Genealogical Notes/Miscellaneous Papers, Undated
Sub-Series D: Miscellaneous Papers
172 Bruce C. Bailey Interest Tables, 1926-1927
173 Lillian Nelsen/San Diego Zoo Prints, Undated
174 P. A. Bailey - 3348 Dumas - San Diego - Personal, 1928-1961
175 Miscellaneous Papers, 1884-1925