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Charles F. Lummis papers, 1559-1973

MS 039

Collection Summary

Creator: Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928
Collection Name:Charles F. Lummis papers,
Inclusive Dates: 1559-1973
Physical Description: 2.5 Linear Feet
Abstract:The collection includes correspondence (1879-1928), biographical materials and memorabilia (1884-1973), photographs (1889-1928), and historical materials (1559-1932), including original and typescript historical documents mainly from Spain and California.
Collection Number:MS 039
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

Charles Fletcher Lummis was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on March 1, 1859, and died in Los Angeles on November 25, 1928. He was educated at home, and later attended Harvard University until 1881. He soon moved to Chillicothe, Ohio, where he briefly managed his father-in-law's farm before taking a job as reporter, and later as editor, with the local newspaper Scioto Gazette. He introduced himself to the West on foot during his famous 143 day walk from Cincinnati to Los Angeles. He began work there as editor of Harrison G. Otis' newspaper, The Los Angeles Times. From 1885 on, Los Angeles was his base from which he explored, defended, and promoted the Southwest. His energy and enthusiasm were as broad as the land he loved. He investigated the Apache Wars in Arizona in 1886, recovered from a stroke and shooting in New Mexico, traveled with Adolph Bandelier to Peru, edited one of the most progressive periodicals of the region Land of Sunshine and Out West, built a monumental hilltop home El Alisal, and served as librarian to the Los Angeles Public Library. His aggressive drive to establish permanent cultural institutions and civic traditions culminated in his work for the Landmark Club, Sequoya League, and, closest to his heart, the Southwest Society and its Southwest Museum A prolific promoter of the Southwest and California history, Lummis wrote many books on the area including A New Mexico David, Some Strange Corners of Our Country, A Tramp Across the Continent, and The Land of Poco Tiempo. His poetry, articles and reviews were also widely distributed in the leading magazines of his day. His friends ranged from Presidents to fisherman. His favored causes, such as pristine lands, native peoples, or historical monuments, were empowered by his forceful advocacy in print and in person of their collective needs. Lummis was married and divorced from Dorothea Rhodes (1880-1891), Eva Frances Douglas (1891-1910), and Gertrude Redit (1915-192?). His children were Bertha Belle Page, b. 1879, Dorothea Turbese, 1892-1968, Amado Bandelier, 1894-1900, Jordan (Quimu), b. 1900, and Keith, 1904-1991.

Scope and Content Note

The Correspondence, 1879-1928, includes members of the Lummis family, admirers of his writing, literary colleagues like Hamlin Garland, and political friends that include President Theodore Roosevelt and Major General Leonard Wood. The Biographical materials and memorabilia, 1884-1973, includes miscellaneous personal items, autobiographical notes including the incomplete typescript of his memoirs, "As I Remember," with different versions and rewrites by his daughter, Turbese. Also includes extracts from Lummis' journal, clippings and a scrapbook. The Photographs, 1889-1928, including over 300 photographs, many of which are cyanotypes. They depict Lummis throughout his life; his family; his home "El Alisal" being built in 1904; various places he visited; and friends, such as the historian Sharlot Hall, the naturalist John Burroughs, and the artist William Keith. Photographs of the Pueblo Indians date from 1889 to 1896; Acoma and Isleta Pueblos are the most represented. A smaller group of photographs from 1902 depicts Mohave Indians in Needles, California. Historical materials, 1559-1932, including original and typescript historical documents mainly from Spain and California. The original Spanish ones are a 1559 manuscript concerning the reform of the royal hospital near Burgos, Spain; a 1584 manuscript relating the legal history of this hospital from the 1450's to the 1580's; and a 1613 "purity of blood" testimonial attesting to the non-Jewish background of Estaban Ruiz of Santa Marta, Spain. Among the original California documents are a 1796 manuscript, in Spanish, relating to the Santa Cruz Mission; an 1849 list of ship passengers on board the "Orpheus," from New York to San Francisco; and an 1883 narration, in Spanish, on the century's events in California: including the arrival of the Americans, Santa Ana, and the first printing enterprise.


This collection is organized into five series:
Series I: Correspondence, 1879-1928
Series II: Biographical Materials and Memorabilia, 1884-1973
Series III: Photographs, 1889-1928
Series IV: Works, 1887-1927
Series V: Historical Materials, 1559-1932



There are no restrictions on this collection.


It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928 -- Archives

Corporate Name(s)
Southwest Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.) -- History

Geographic Name(s)
California -- History -- 19th Century -- Sources
Santa Cruz Mission -- History -- 18th Century -- Sources

Antisemitism -- Spain -- History -- 17th century -- Sources
Hospitals -- Spain -- History -- 16th century -- Sources
Indians of North America -- Southwest, New -- Photographs
Mohave Indians -- Photographs
Pueblo Indians -- Photographs
Ships -- Passenger lists

Genre Form(s)

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Charles F. Lummis papers (MS 039). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Processing History

Processed by Staff in 2001 and Emma Luthi in 2020.

Container List

Series I: Correspondence, 1879-1928
11 Correspondence, undated
12 Correspondence, 1879-1888
13 Correspondence, 1889-1917
14 Correspondence, 1918-1928
Series II: Biographical materials and memorabilia, 1884-1973
15 Southwest Museum, Los Angles. Photographs, floor plans; article by C.F.L. published in North American Review; Article by Phil T. Hanna, "Nestor on the Amerinds," about F.W. Hodge, published in Touring Topics , August 1928 and February 1932
16 Indians, Notes and articles (holograph, typescript), undated
21 Miscellaneous personal items, undated
22 Autobiographical notes, undated
23a "As I Remember" part 1, undated
23b "As I Remember" part 2, undated
24 "As I Remember" edited by T.L., undated
25 "As I Remember" re-writes and fragments, undated
26 Extracts from C.F.L.'s journal, undated
Series III: Photographs, 1889-1928
31 Lummis, undated 93 photos, some duplicates
32 "El Alisal", undated 77 photos
33 Family, mother, father, sister, undated 6 photos
34 Trip to New York, Washington, etc, 1901 15 photos
35 Cave dwellings, undated 4 photos
36 Penitentes, undated 5 photos
37 Pueblo Indians, undated 58 photos
38 California, undated 17 photos
39 Arizona, undated 19 photos
3b1 Friends, undated 10 photos
3b2 Miscellaneous New Mexico, undated 13 photos
3b3 Miscellaneous, mostly unidentified, undated 23 photos
3b8 Photographs, 1900-1910 30 photos
Series IV: Works, 1887-1927
3b4-5 Articles (holograph, typescript, printed), undated
3b6 Poems, undated
41 Miscellaneous biographical material by others, undated
42 Clippings, 1888-1953
3b7 Archaeological Institute of America Bulletin, May 1, 1907
Series V: Historical Material, 1559-1932
43 Various Spanish Documents, undated
44 Various American Documents, undated