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Harry Heffner Empire Ranch photograph collection circa 1875-1954

MS 506

Collection Summary

Creator: Heffner, Harry 1874-1965
Collection Name: Harry Heffner Empire Ranch photograph collection
Inclusive Dates: circa 1875-1954
Physical Description:2.25 linear feet
Abstract:Reminiscences, photographs, and photograph albums relating to the Empire Ranch between 1893 and 1905 including cattle and ranching activities. There are also typescript copies of letters written to Edward L. Vail, between 1875 and 1877, from Walter Vail and others.
Collection Number:MS 506
Language: Materials in English
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

Harry Heffner was employed by Walter Vail of Vail and Gates at the Empire Ranch, Pantano, Arizona from June 1893 to 1905. He started as a ranch hand, and later was manager of the ranch from 1902 to 1905. Heffner moved to California in 1905 where he owned various ranches, managed the Gates estate, and was director of various water districts. From 1939 to 1944, he was Vice President of the Cortaro Farms Company in Marana.

Scope and Content Note

Primarily photographs but also a small amount of reminiscences, typescripts of letters, and notes concerning Harry Heffner’s involvement with the Empire Ranch from 1893 to 1905. There are typescript copies of letters written to Edward L. Vail, 1875 to 1877, mostly by Walter Vail, and there are original ranch and water documents from Heffner’s California activities, 1905-1937

There are photographs of ranch life, cattle and horses, and the McFadden family. Two large photograph albums, one with 102 photographs, the other with 101 photographs relating to Harry Heffner and the Empire Ranch operations, ca. 1893-1905. Images depict cattle and ranching activities including branding, ranch houses, wagons and automobiles (including an 8-team wagon and the “first Oldsmobile in Arizona, 1904”). There are images of Harry Heffner, H. V. McFadden, Bert Alvord, the Herbert Drachman family, the Vail family, and Jim Seaver. Also present are images of Crittenden ruins, Tucson buildings, and Gardner Ranch (Colossal Cave)


This collection is organized into two series
Series I: Biographical, histories, and reminiscences, ca. 1875-1954
Series II: Photographs and photograph albums ca. 1893-1905



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

The photographs in the albums and other items have been digitized as part of the University of Arizona Institutional Repository and can be found under the Empire Ranch Collection;and an oral history interview with Harry Heffner by Charles U. Pickrell is located at AZ 21.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Heffner, Harry, 1874-1965
Vail, Walter L., 1852-1906--Correspondence.

Family Name(s)
McFadden family.

Geographic Name(s)
Empire Ranch (Ariz.)—Pictorial works.

Cattle—Arizona—Pictorial works
Ranch life—Arizona—Pictorial works.

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Harry Heffner Empire Ranch photograph collection (MS 506). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Series I: Biographical, histories and reminiscences , 1875-1954
This series is arranged topically
11 Biographical materials, undated
12 Heffner’s letters and reminiscences, 1936-1954
13 Ranch and water documents, California, 1905-1937
14 Typescript letters to Edward L. Vail, 1875-1877
Series II: Photographs and photograph albums , 1893-1905,
This series is arranged topically,
15 Harry Heffner, 1893-1905
16 People, 1893-1905
17 Hadden McFadden family, 1896-1902
18 Empire Ranch – Views, 1893-1905
19 Empire Ranch buildings, 1893-1905
110 Empire Ranch cattle and ranching, 1893-1905
111 Empire Ranch horses, wagons, roads, 1893-1905
112 Miscellaneous photographs, undated