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Tom Bahti collection, 1887-1965


Overview of the Collection

Creator: Armer, Laura Adams, 1874-1963 Link, Margaret Schevill Mathews, Washington, 1843-1905 Wyman, Leland Clifton, 1897-1988
Title: Tom Bahti collection
Inclusive Dates: 1887-1965
Quantity: 5 silkscreen prints, 5 photographic images (5 slides)
Identification: MS-100
Repository: Museum of Northern Arizona
3101 N. Fort Valley Rd.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
928-774-5211 ext. 256 or 269

Biographical Note

Tom Bahti (23 June 1926 – 3 January 1972) was born in Michigan. His interest in Native American culture led him to study anthropology at the University of New Mexico. It was there that he turned his focus to Native American arts and crafts. After graduating, Bahti and his wife Peggy, who had recently married, decided to open Ghost Ranch Trading Post in 1949. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved to Tucson and opened Bahti Indian Arts in 1952.

Bahti was also an activist and dedicated much of his life to causes affecting Native American welfare. He was on the board of the Association for the American Indian and helped found the Tucson Indian Center.

Because of his relationship with Native American artists and his experience running a gallery, Bahti was considered an expert on Southwest Native American arts and crafts and wrote 3 books on the subject. He was working on a 4th in 1972 when he took his own life after suffering years of vertigo.

Bahti’s son, Mark, now runs the family business and has kept up his father’s tradition of activism by continuing to address Native American education, health, and employment issues.

Scope and Content

Collection contains five silkscreen sandpainting reproductions as well as five slides made from these images.


Conditions Governing Access

This collection contains culturally sensitive material (Navajo sandpaintings). Therefore, the entire MS-100 collection has been restricted. The restriction was placed in 2004 by the Navajo Cultural Preservation Department. Contact the Museum of Northern Arizona Archivist; advance permission is required from the Navajo Nation to view the collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished and published manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Related Material

The Museum of Northern Arizona has related archival collections that contain sandpainting images; these have been collected, researched, and cross-indexed by L.C. Wyman with material in his sandpainting file:

MS-22 (Gladys Reichard collection)
MS-27 (Louisa Wade Wetherill collection)
MS-32 (Robert Euler collection)
MS-33 (Leland C. Wyman Sandpainting collection)
MS-34 (Katherine M. Harvey Sandpainting collection)
MS-63 (Father Berard Haile collection)
MS-110 (Leland C. Wyman collection)
MS-132 (Barry Goldwater collection)

Controlled Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Armer, Laura Adams, 1874-1963
Bahti, Tom
Link, Margaret Schevill
Mathews, Washington, 1843-1905
Wyman, Leland Clifton, 1897-1988

Navajo Indians
Navajo Indians -- Painting
Navajo Indians -- Rites and ceremonies

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Tom Bahti collection, MS-100 [Box Number]. Museum of Northern Arizona. Flagstaff, Arizona.

Acquisition Information

Collection was donated in 1967 by Tom Bahti.

Processing Information

Processed in January of 2010. Updated September 2010.

Container List

SP Image Box 112 Washington Mathews, Mountainway, Dew Maidens of the North and West [SP Index MC-35A], 1887
SP Image Box 112 Laura Adams Armer, Navajo Windway, Cloud Couple [SP Index NWC-11AA], 1924
SP Image Box 112 Margaret Erwin Schevill, Male Shootingway, Earth and Sky [SP Index SC-52D], undated
SP Image Box 112 L.C. Wyman, Red Antway, White Horned Toad [SP Index RAC-32D], 1965
SP Image Box 112 Margaret Erwin Schevill, Unidentified [SP Index UN-14], undated