Papers of Charles Fletcher Lummis 1860-1956(bulk 1890-1920)

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Papers of Charles Fletcher Lummis 1860-1956(bulk 1890-1920)

MS 297

Collection Summary

Creator: Lummis, Charles Fletcher,1859-1928
Collection Name:Papers of Charles Fletcher Lummis
Inclusive Dates: 1860-1956
Bulk Dates: (bulk 1890-1920)
Physical Description: 7.25 linear ft
Abstract:Includes journals, correspondence, writings, notebooks, and photographs, chiefly 1890-1920, of Charles Fletcher Lummis, 1859-1928, writer and librarian, relating to his family and career with the Southwest Society and Los Angeles Public Library. Correspondents include his wives Eve and Dorothea; members of the Lummis family; and friends Adolph Bandelier, Amado Chavez, Edgar Hewett, Denis Riordan, E.R. Ripley, and others.
Collection Number:MS 297
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.

Known by many names--The Lion, Don Carlos, C.R. Lobs, Lum--Charles F. Lummis enjoyed the intellectual and physical challenges of his life, his whiskey and cigars, his friends and enemies. A hard fisted dreamer, he made a bully time of it all.

Scope and Content Note

The Biographical Materials, c.1889-1928, contain a summary article on him by George Wharton James and some miscellaneous clippings and printed materials.

The Journals, 1911-1928, are chiefly typescript carbon copies that Lummis often circulated amongst family and friends. Many in this series are inscribed to his daughter Bertha, his "Darlingest First born." The narrative in these recollections are not limited to activities of that particular year. Instead, many dates recall events in his life ten, twenty or more years before. The bulk of this series covers the years from 1925 to 1928, and details his daily household activities of visitors, mailings, meals, meetings, shopping, errands, telephone conversations, writings, and family affairs. His appraisal of the motives and contributions of others is frank and to the point.

The Correspondence, 1860-1956, is subdivided into Family, General, and Activities, and represents the bulk of this collection. There is some overlap among the subseries, especially in the artificial divisions of General and Activities; and there is a fragment of a letter in the Photographs series in which Lummis strongly protests the unauthorized use of his images in a publication.

The Family Correspondence consists of incoming and outgoing letters amongst Lummis and his three wives, especially Dorothea and Eve, his children, siblings, parents, and relatives. Of note are the Dorothea Lummis (later Moore) files. As a young medical student studying at Boston University, she wrote often to her new husband while he was away in Chillicothe, Ohio, in the early 1880s, and later during a stay in New Mexico. She discusses her feelings for him, her studies at school, family relations, and their current activities and plans.

The letters to Eve Lummis, his second wife, are chiefly from Lummis while on the Villard Expedition to Peru with Adolph Bandelier in 1892. Missing his wife and new baby, he describes in great detail his observations of Peru, his activities, and meetings. There are also other letters between them during their periodic travels apart, and letters between Eve and her children and a few friends. Eve and Lummis separated around 1910, and their divorce file consists of letters to and about lawyers, the settlement propositions, terms of complaint, the children and joint properties.

Additional correspondence in this subseries relates to his children, Jordan, Keith, and Turbese while they are at school or away from home. The letters from his daughter Bertha Page, whom he first met in 1904, demonstrates their developing relationship. The letters between Lummis and his siblings, Gertrude, Harriet, Katherine, Louise, and Laura, and other relatives mostly discuss everyday events, their jobs, travels, and family matters.

The General Correspondence covers a wide range of individuals whose interests converged with those of Lummis. This series represents only a fragment of his general correspondence, especially from 1900 to 1915. Friends and fellow travelers are well noted here and include: the Abeita family, Hector Alliot, Adolph Bandelier, Amado Chavez, Edgar Hewett, F.W. Hodge, J.A. Monk, Harrison Otis, Denis Riordan, E.R. Ripley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and the Valle family.

Lummis' interests in Native American affairs are present in the United States Department of Interior and Sequoya League (in Activities subseries files). His artistic, literary, and educational correspondents include Mary Austin, E.A. Burbank, Maynard Dixon, Sharlot Hall, David S. Jordan and John Muir. The George Wharton James file contains letters regarding him rather than from him. One of the larger files in this series, "Publishers and Publishing" includes letters from many of the editors and periodicals that printed his articles including; American Magazine, Century Company, Harper's, Elbert Hubbard, McClure's Magazine, Puck, Saint Nicholas, Scribner's and Sons, Youth's Companion, and others.

The Activities Correspondence selectively represents Lummis' interests and energies as editor, founder, and officer in a wide variety of enterprises, but especially in the Los Angeles Public Library, Southwest Society, and its Southwest Museum. One of his fondest desires to preserve the legacy of the Southwest was realized in the development of the Southwest Society (founded 1903) and the Southwest Museum (incorporated 1907). His influences in the organization, membership, staffing, collections and publications of these two bodies is amply evidenced. Differences with the Executive Committee led to his resignation as Secretary in 1915. The Institute of the West (incorporated 1917) attests to his efforts to continue the program of the Society, as well as his futile fight to prevent its disincorporation by the directors of the Southwest Museum.

As director of the Los Angeles Public Library form 1905 to 1910, Lummis largely abandoned his writings to concentrate, in his singular manner, on improving the administration and mission of the library. There are letters, scrapbooks (some indexed) of clippings, reports, and memorandums documenting his innovative and turbulent leadership. There are some letterheads of The Bibliosmiles, "a rally of librarians who are nevertheless human." Lummis devoted part of his talents to preserving the cultural traditions and landmarks of the Southwest. The brief files on the Landmarks Club record his efforts to save the Spanish missions in California from pending destruction. The Order of Panama materials relate to the promotion of local civic pride and fellowship in preserving the history of San Diego. The Sequoya League files document the protection of American Indians in California from the capriciousness of government policies and politics, and the improvement of their rights for better lands and working conditions.

The Land of Sunshine and Out West files are selective examples of Lummis' thoughts and writings as editor of those new voices of the West. He writes in response to readers on book reviews, personalities, and, in general, defends his magazines and authors as worthy of advancing the timely topics.

The Writings, 1882-1928, consist of articles, short stories, newspaper columns, poems, and speeches by Lummis. Also present is Turbese Lummis Fiske's biography of her father which incorporated large segments of his personal journals in its narrative. The articles and short stories are present in handwritten, typescript and printed versions. The newspaper articles largely document his early career in Ohio working for Scioto Gazette. There are only a few selections of his poems and speeches, and his major works from 1879 to 1929 are not represented.

Turbese Fiske dedicated much of her life to preparing Lummis' biography. Uncompleted at her death, Keith Lummis carried her work forward to publication in Charles F. Lummis: the Man and his West (1975). Drafts of her manuscripts with the working title "It was fun being Lummis" are present here. The typescripts and carbons often have several revisions reflected on the page numeration. While there is a consecutive run of 549 pages in Box 15, folders 1 to 6, it should be noted that portions of the text are missing. The remaining supplemental drafts have far less cohesion than those first six folders.

The next series, Notebooks, 1886-1922, contain several indexes, ledgers, and miscellaneous bound items. Of note are: the excerpts from visitors to El Alisal in the House Book; his index to letters sent which demonstrates the volume of his correspondence; and his notebook as a reporter in the field in Arizona with federal troops during the Apache campaign of 1886, along with a copy of an Army report on the hostilities.

The Photographs, c.1891-1921, are chiefly his cyanotypes of antiquities, landscapes, pueblos, and Indians in New Mexico and Arizona. Selected New Mexico locations include: Isleta, Santa Clara, Acoma, Cubero, Pecos, and Inscription Rock (El Morro); selected Arizona are Montezuma Castle and Grand Canyon. The portraits contain some black and whites of Jordan and Turbese as children, C.F. Lummis with guitar, and his portrait, "Facing the Mystery," of John Burroughs made six days before the latter's death in 1921.

The Supplemental Files, 1896-1921, contain mostly miscellaneous bills to Lummis; a partial inventory of zaguan, museo, and dining rooms in El Alisal in 1921; assorted labels and envelopes containing his various mailing address in California and Ohio; and a short bamboo fishing pole which might attest to his passionate regard for trout fishing, a talent bequeathed to Lummis from his grandfather during his New England childhood.


This collection is organized into seven series



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.

Related Material

Other collections containing records pertaining to Charles F. Lummis are: Frances Douglas Papers (MS 37), Charles F. Lummis Collection(MS 39).

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Douglas, Frances, 1870-1969
Fiske, Turbese Lummis
Moore, Dorothea

Apache Indians - Wars, 1883-1886
Arizona - Pictorial Works
Los Angeles Public Library - History
New Mexico - Pictorial Works
Sequoya League. Los Angeles Council - History
Southwest Museum - History
Southwest Society (Los Angeles, Calif.) - History

Genre Form(s)
Journals (notebooks)

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Papers of Charles Fletcher Lummis (MS 297). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Acquisition Information

This collection consists of donations to the Library from Keith Lummis, and purchases from dealers, 1974-1976.

Container List

Series I: Biographical materials 1889-1928
Arranged chronologically.
Contains a tearsheet of an article on C.F. Lummis by George Wharton James describing his literary and educational accomplishments; some clippings; a March Hare party invitation and menu of an "Yo Alcalde Mayor" dinner.
11 Biographical materials 1889-1928
Series II: Journals 1911-1928 14 folders
Arranged chronologically.
Mostly carbon typescripts of entries from 1925-1928.
12 1911-12
13 1915 March
14 1921 October-December
15 1924 August-October
16 1925 March-November
17 1926 February-June
18 1926 July-August
19 1926 September-December
110 1927 February-July.
111 1927 August-December
112 1928 January-February
113 1928 March-April
114 1928 May-June
115 1928 July-August
Series III: Correspondence , 1860-1956 6.5 feet
Divided into Family, General, and Activities, then alphabetical.
Contains handwritten, typescript, and carbon copies of incoming and outgoing correspondence. The photocopied typescripts in Box 3/11-12 are compiled excerpts of Dorothea's letters.
Subseries 1: Family Correspondence
21 Panchita Amate 1922-1926
22 Iva Kendrick 1908-1927
23-9 Eve Lummis 1892-1915
210 Eve Lummis divorce 1910-1927
211 Gertrude Redit Lummis 1907-1921
212 Harriet Lummis 1905-22
213 Henry and Hattie Lummis 1905-1906
214 Jordan "Quimu" Lummis 1909-1921
215 Katherine Lummis 1905-1928
216 Keith Lummis 1909-1910
31 Keith Lummis 1910-1923
32-5 Louise "Lulie" Lummis 1907-1928
36-9 Turbese Lummis 1901-1956
310 Gertrude Lummis Mesker 1910-1928
311-12 Dorothea Rhodes Lummis Moore (typescripts) 1879-1888
41-4 Dorothea Moore 1881-1911
45 Dorothea Moore (to Turbese Lummis) circa 1934-1935
46 Dorothea Moore (to Lilla Perry) circa 1935-1941
47 Dorothea Moore (poetry) no date
48-13 Bertha Page, 1907-1919
48-13 Bertha Page, 1907-1919
51-2 Bertha Page, 1920-1923
53-4 Laura Lummis Schutz and family, 1905-1928
55 Mary Tatum, 1910-1928
56 Margaret R. Tew, 1908-1927
57-8 Relatives, 1897-1928
Subseries 2: General Correspondence
61 A no date
62 A.J. Abbott, 1911
63 Abeita Family, 1894-1911
64 Hector Alliot, 1909-1911
65 Mary Austin, 1903-1929
66-8 B no date
69 Adolf F. and Fanny Bandelier, 1891-1918
610 Herbert E. Bolton 1908-1914
611 E.A. Burbank 1902-1908
612 C no date
613 Amado Chavez, 1901-1911
614 Mattie A. Clarke, 1879-1883
615 D.C. Collier, 1911-1914
616 D no date
617 Joseph F. Daniels, 1904-1911
618 Maynard Dixon, 1901-1911
619 Mary Drake, 1909-1911
71 E no date
72 Louise Elliot, 1901-1911
73 Ella Ellis 1879-1880
74 F no date
75 George H. Fitch, 1909-1911
76 Alice Fletcher, 1909-1911
77 Fred Harvey Company 1902-1910
78 Elizabeth B. Fremont 1910-1911
79 G no date
710 Hamlin Garland, 1908-1909
711-12 H no date
713 Sharlot Hall, 1901-1910
714 John P. Harrington, 1908-1915
715 Phoebe Hearst, 1901-1910
716 Edgar L. Hewett, 1908-1914
717 F.W. Hodge, 1904-1928
718 I no date
719 Fanny C. Iglehart, 1909-1911
81 J no date
82 David S. Jordan, 1908-1911
83 George Wharton James (letters regarding), 1899-1901
84 K no date
85 Henry Kaune, 1903-1911
86 A.L. Kroeber and family, 1909-1911
87 L no date
88 Thomas Leggett, 1908-1910
89 Richard Lund and family, 1908-1911
810-11 M no date
812 John McGroarty, 1909-1911
813 John Muir, 1910
814 J.A. Monk, 1908-1910
815 N no date
816 Charles D. Norton, 1901-1911
817 Jesse Nusbaum, 1910-1911
91 O no date
92 Harrison G. Otis, 1891-1917
93 P no date
94 Gifford Pinchot, 1910
95-10 Publishers and publishing circa 1890-1930
911 R no date
912 Denis M. Riordan, 1901-1911
101 E.R. Ripley, 1905-1911
102-3 S no date
104 T no date
105 Will M. Tipton, 1901-1908
106 U-V no date
107 United States (Presidents and agencies), no date
108 Valle family, 1888
109-10 W no date
1011 E.H. Weegar, 1904-1905
1012 Y-Z no date
1013 Unidentified no date
Subseries 3: Activities Correspondence
111 Institute of the West, Inc., 1915-1919
112 Land of Sunshine, 1896-1901
113 Landmarks Club, 1908-1911
114-6 Los Angeles Public Library, 1905-1911
117 Los Angeles Public Library, Scrapbook, index, 1906-1909
121 Los Angeles Public Library, Reports II, May-November 1906
122 Los Angeles Public Library, Reports VI, December 1908-August 1909
123 Los Angeles Public Library, Reports, October 1909-March 1910
131-2 Order of Panama (San Diego, Ca.), 1913-1914
133 Out West, 1901-1912
134 Sequoya League. Los Angeles Council, 1904-1911
135-7 Southwest Society and Southwest Museum, 1904-1921
138 Southwest Museum Expedition to Spanish-America and the South Seas, 1914-1915
139-10 Southwest Society Bulletinsand printed materials, 1905-1910
Series IV:Writings , 1882-1928 3 manuscript boxes
Divided into Articles, Newspaper Articles, Poetry, Speeches, and Biography; thereunder chronological
Contains handwritten, typescript and tearsheets, and photocopies of originals, chiefly relating to his short stories and newspaper articles; also includes drafts of Turbese Lummis Fiske's biography of her father, "It was fun being Lummis."
Subseries 1:Articles
141 Pablo Apodeca's Bear no date
141 The Big Pickerel no date
141 The Home of Ramona 1888
141 [Grand Canyon] circa 1893
142 The Witch Dear 1893
142 Honest Big Ears circa 1894
142 A Penitente Flower Pot 1894
143 My Friend Will 1894
142 The quest of the Misti 1894
143 Bonito 1897
143 Candelaria's Curse 1897
143 The Awakening of a Nation: Mexico As It Is. II 1897
143 The Awakening of a Nation:Third paper (on Porfirio Diaz) 1897-1898
144 King of the Broncos 1897
144 Bonifacio's Horse Thief 1897
144 Bravo's Day Off 1897
145 The Gunshot Mine 1899
145 A View of Catalina Fishing 1903
145 The Independent Guinea Pig 1905
145 Catching Our Archaeology Alive 1905
145 A Cosmic Intaglio: An Appreciation of Grand Canyon National Park 1919
146 The Prose of It (on Geronimo) circa 1926
147 Fragments circa 1894-1928
Subseries 2: Newspaper Articles
148 Chillicothe Leader, Ohio 1884-1889
149 Los Angeles Times circa 1888-1920
1410-11 Scioto Gazette, Ohio 1882-1884
1412 Scioto Gazette, sample of originals no date
1413 Miscellaneous circa 1888-1912
Subseries 3:Poetry
1414 Poetry 1894-1928
Subseries 4:Speeches
1415 Speeches circa 1890s-1928
Subseries 5: Biography
151-6 "It Was Fun Being Lummis" by Turbese Lummis Fiske, pages 1-549 no date
157 Supplemental drafts no date
161-4 Supplemental drafts and notes no date
Series V: Notebooks 1886-1922 13 volumes, 1 report
Arrangement: Unarranged
Contains handwritten entries in bound notebooks and ledgers; copies of extracts from a visitors book and U.S. Army report; and fragments of a trade publication of sheet music.
171 House book excerpts from guests at El Alisal no date
172 Index to letters sent, 4 volumes 1891-1897
173 Index to subjects in books read circa 1900
174 Ledger to personal expenses 1892-1896 1908-1910
175 Notebook of Apache War campaign, Arizona circa 1886
176 Copy of Army report on pursuit of hostiles April, 1886
177 Notebook of visit to Isleta, expenses circa 1895
178 Notebooks on hens and miscellaneous 1903-1907 1916-1922
179 Sheet music for guitar and banjo no date
Series VI: Photographs circa 1891-1921 8 folders
Arranged by state or subject
Contains chiefly cyanotypes taken by C.F. Lummis in New Mexico and Arizona of antiquities and American Indians and their pueblos; also includes some family portraits and his portrait of John Burroughs.
181 Arizona circa 1891
182-4 New Mexico circa 1889-1899 no date
185 New Mexico, copy negatives and proofs, 12 envelopes no date
186 Portraits 1900-1921
187 Pottery and Jewelry no date
188 Miscellaneous no date
Series VII: Supplemental Materials 1896-1921 5 folders
Arrangement: Unarragned
Contains mostly miscellaneous bills, labels and envelopes, and an inventory of rooms at El Alisal.
191-2 Financial records 1896-1921
193 Partial inventory of El Alisal Rooms 1938
194 Miscellaneous labels and envelopes no date
195 Fishing equipment no date