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Collection P 028:

Mesa Verde (Colo.) photographs collection inventory

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Scope and contents

Historical note

Administrative information

Series descriptions

Container list


Center of Southwest Studies collection inventories

Center of Southwest Studies

Introduction/ Scope and contents

1891-1999 (bulk years are 1920-1991)

2.5 linear shelf feet (approximately 1,026 items in 33 folders and 123 sleeves: housed in 3 document cases and 1 photonegatives box )

This collection contains photographs pertaining to Mesa Verde National Park.  It was compiled from various sources.  See also the Mesa Verde printed materials collection M 082 at the Center of Southwest Studies.

Access terms:
Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.)
United States. National Park Service. Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.)
National parks and reserves--Colorado--Mesa Verde--Pictorial works

Historical note

Mesa Verde National Park was established by an Act of Congress on June 29, 1906.  This Act also made Mesa Verde the first cultural park in the United States to be set aside in the National Park System.  Mesa Verde National Park was later designated a World Cultural Heritage Site on September 8, 1978 by UNESCO, a United Nations organization formed "to preserve and protect both cultural and natural heritage of designated international sites."

Mesa Verde, a Spanish term meaning "Green Table," continues to offer visitors from around the world a memorable opportunity to see and experience an ancient cultural and physical landscape.  Visitors walk through cliff dwellings and numerous mesa top villages built by Ancestral Pueblo people between about AD 600 and 1300.   The September 29, 1999 issue of the Durango Herald cited the October 1999 issue of the National Geographic Traveler declaring that Mesa Verde National Park has joined the Vatican City, the Acropolis and the Pyramids of Giza as one of "50 destinations of a lifetime" around the world.

Administrative information

Acquisition information:  Items in the Center of Southwest Studies' Mesa Verde photograph collection (P 028) were acquired through various sources, including accessions 1964:12012 (100 photographs from an unknown donor in 1964) and 1988:09003 (photos related to commercial activity at Mesa Verde National Park -- from Dale Anderson).

Processing information Fort Lewis College Southwest Studies Professional Archival Intern Jerrid Lee Miller arranged and described this collection in February of 2007.  This inventory was produced by Jerrid Lee Miller and Todd Ellison.

Arrangement scheme/ about the organization of this collection: Materials in this collection are arranged by series.  The series are numbered consecutively. Because we do not expect to add to this collection, the boxes are numbered in one single numbering scheme starting with 1.  Folder numbers start with 1 in each box. Items within each series (e.g., correspondence, reports) and within each folder are arranged chronologically, unless noted otherwise.  The series are organized from highest hierarchical level to lowest; from most general to most specific.

Records sent elsewhere:

Related collections:  For hundreds of additional Mesa Verde National Park postcards, and photographs and printed materials, see Collection M 194: Nina Heald Webber Southwest Colorado Collection at the Center of Southwest Studies.

Picture side of postcard -- click to view larger imageSee also this rare book (the Center has two of this 1893 volume and numerous copies of the reprint dated 1979 at E78.C6 N6713 1979 ): The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde: Southwestern Colorado: Their pottery and implements/ by G. Nordenskiold, translated by D. Lloyd Morgan.  Published by P. A. Norstedt & Soner, Chicago & Stockholm: 1893.  Printed in Stockholm at the Royal Printing Office.  Call number: F778.N8.

The picture at left is from the 1893 edition of The Cliff Dwellers, page15, figure 5: Cliff House Plan.

Series descriptions

1.    Photoprints, 1891-1990, 12 folders in Box 1. Contains 217  related images of Mesa Verde National Park taken during the years of 1899-1970s by such photographers as G. Nordenskiold, William Pennington and Rowland. While the bulk of the series contains images of Cliff Palace and Balcony House, there are also numerous images dedicated to the subjects of tourists, the Wetherill family (who "discovered" several ruins in Mesa Verde) as well as surrounding landscapes.

2.    Scrapbook pages, c. 1925, 7 folders in Box 2. Contains 92 images displayed on several pages of a scrap book originally created by photographer George Beam. Included in the images are Mesa Verde National Park landmarks such as Spruce Tree House, Spring House, Balcony House, Knife Edge Road, Soda Canyon, Watch Tower, Cliff Palace as well as others famous landmarks located inside the park.

3.    Promotional photos, c.1957-1977, 14 folders in Box 3. Includes 260 photoprints and 334 negatives relating to the tourist industry around Mesa Verde National Park during the years of 1957-1977. Originally used for marketing and ad campaigns, these images depict various transportation companies, Mesa Verde National Park employees and vendors, Far View Motor Lodge accommodations as well as other images related to the tourist industry in and around Mesa Verde National Park.

4.    Photoprint negatives, c.1957-1977, 123 sleeves in Photonegative Box 42. The bulk of this series contains negatives of the promotional photos that are found in Series 3.

Container list

Box 1:     Series 1 -- Mesa Verde National Park photoprints, folders 1-12:

Folder 1:    Ruins, tourists, the Alamo Ranch and the Wetherills photoprints, 1899-1935. Includes 26 photoprints on 23 cards numbered from 1.2.1-1.2.28 that relate to Far View Ruins, Cliff Palace, Balcony House, the Wetherill family, as well as several other photoprints that tie in with these subjects.

Folder 2:    Nordenski√∂ld 's photoprints, c.1900. Includes 8 photocopied photos and 106 images of  various Mesa Verde sites. The bulk of the photos (numbers 11075-11099 and 11101-11182) have Spanish subtitles that identify the site locations and names. Donated by Bob Heyder.

Folder 3:     Sepia, Balcony House photo, c.1900. Contains 1 sepia photograph of Balcony House mounted on the back of a card.

Folder 4:    Sepia, Rock art in Cliff Palace photo, c.1900. Contains 1 sepia photograph of rock art in Cliff Palace mounted on the back of a card.

Folder 5:    Sepia, Spruce Tree House photo, c. 1900s. Contains 1 sepia photograph of Spruce Tree House taken from across the canyon as well as the negative for it.

Folder 6:     Ruins, artifacts, landscape, group pictures and a map, c.1920. Reprints c.1970. Contains 30 mounted images on 16 cards that depict pottery, matates, various Mesa Verde ruins as well as a map of the Mesa Verde National Park. The photographers identified in taking the bulk of these photographs are Pennington and Rowland.

Folder 7:     Denver Convention &Visitors Bureau, Inc. and the Colorado Association, c.1925. Contains 25 photographs of various Mesa Verde sites.

Folder 8:     Automobiles at the entrance, c.1930. Contains 1 photograph mounted on a card depicting the entrance of Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 9:     Pioneer Photo Finishers of the West and other photos, 1936. Contains 8 photographs of tourist views in the Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 10:    Ruins photos, c.1970s. Contains 4 photographs of various ruins around the Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 11:    Cliff Palace photos by the Durango Herald Printing Department, undated. Contains 4 photographs of what has been identified as Cliff Palace.

Folder 12:   Other Mesa Verde National Park photos, c.1921. Includes 2 photographs mounted on cards that depict both the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park as well as Cliff Palace.

Box 2:     Series 2 -- Mesa Verde National Park scrapbook pages, folders 1-7:

Folder 1:     Scrapbook of ruins, landscapes and artifacts (P.3-22), c.1925. Includes  14 photos of Spruce Tree House, Spring House, Balcony House, artifacts as well as several other photos that depict modes of tourist transportation within the park. Photographs taken by George Beam.

Folder 2:    Scrapbook of ruins, landscapes and artifacts (P.37-41), c.1925. Includes 14 photos of Square Tower House, Knife Edge Road, as well as other photos.

Folder 3:     Scrapbook of ruins, landscapes and artifacts (P.33-36), c.1925. Includes 14 photos of Soda Canyon, Pipe Shrine House, Far View Tower kivas, as well as several other photographs.

Folder 4:     Scrapbook of ruins, landscapes and artifacts (P.51-55), c.1925. Includes 12 photographs on 6 cards that depict tourists, Cliff Palace, Balcony House as well as the highways going through and around Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 5:     Scrapbook of ruins, landscapes and artifacts (P.42-48), c.1925. Includes 15 photographs of Spruce Tree House, Cliff Palace, Knife Edge Road and Balcony House.

Folder 6:     Scrapbook of ruins, landscapes and artifacts (P.56, 66, 69  and other unnumbered pages), c.1925. Includes 16 prints on 8 cards of Cliff Palace, Sleeping Ute Mountain, Spruce Tree House, Balcony House and the surrounding areas.

Folder 7:     Scrapbook of ruins, landscapes and artifacts (P.73, 74 and one unnumbered page), c.1925. Includes 7 photographs of such landmarks as Watch Tower and Cliff Palace.

Box 3:     Series 3 --Mesa Verde National Park promotional photos, folders 1-14:

Folder 1:     Buses, c.1977. Includes 28 photographs and 16 negatives of promotional photos for the transit companies of Mesa Verde Buses and Community Responsive Transit that provided transportation within Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 2:     Group photograph, August, 1957. Contains 1 slide of a group photograph taken in bleachers at Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 3:     Miscellaneous photos, c. mid-1970s. Contains 23 photographs and 31 negatives of concession stands, park rangers, gas stations, scenic views and tourist buses.

Folder 4:     People, c.1970s. Contains 33 photographs and 41 negatives of Mesa Verde National Park staff, concessionaires, park rangers, entertainers and tourists.

Folder 5:    Pictographs and petroglyphs, undated. Contains 5 slides that depict pictographs and petroglyphs within Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 6:     Ruins, undated. Contains 13 photographs and 11 negatives of the various ruins found throughout Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 7:     Scenic photos, undated. Contains 10 photographs and 16 negatives of landscape scenes in and around Mesa Verde National Park.

Folder 8:     Sandpaintings, undated. Contains 30 photographs and 29 negatives of mostly sandpaintings as well as some Navajo woven rugs with their listed prices and respective dimensions.

Folder 9:     Far View Motor Lodge, Gift Shop and Cafeteria, c. 1970s. Contains 72 photographs and 85 negatives of the Far View Lodge, its rooms, the interior of its gift shop as well as its gas station.

Folder 10:     Far View Motor Lodge food, c.1970s. Contains 16 photographs and 18 negatives of the various foods that were served at the Far View Motor Lodge.

Folder 11:     Local motel, restaurant and campground architecture, c.1970s. Includes 3 photographs and 41 negatives of the Lazy C campground, the Moki Trading Post and the Mesa Verde Point Camp Park.

Folder 12:     Morfield, c.1970s. Contains 10 photographs and 11 negatives of Willie Yazzie, a Navajo silversmith, and desserts served at the Morfield.

Folder 13:     Spruce Tree Building and food, c.1970s. Contains 21 photographs and 28 negatives of the Spruce Tree Terrace, its accommodations and the food that is served there.

Folder 14:     Mesa Verde price increase presentation, c.1970s. Includes 7 negatives used in the National Park Service price increase presentation for Mesa Verde.

Box 4:     Series 4 -- Mesa Verde National Park photoprint negatives:

Photonegs Box 42:    Photonegatives, c.1970s. 123 sleeves of negatives. Catalogued according to processing order.

Box 5:     Series 5 -- Mesa Verde National Park Sally Cole Rock Art photos

Box 6:     Series 6 -- Mesa Verde National Park Fire in the Park photos

Box 7:     Series 7 -- Mesa Verde National Park Laura N. - Site Conservation Program photos

Doing your own research: This description of a portion of the collections at the Fort Lewis College Center of Southwest Studies is provided to inform interested parties about the nature and depth of the repository's collections.  It cannot serve as a substitute for a visit to the repository for those with substantial research interests in the collections.

These collections are located at the Center of Southwest Studies on the campus of Fort Lewis College.  Interested researchers should phone the archivist at 970/247-7126 or send electronic mail to the archivist at: archives@fortlewis.edu .   Click here to use our E-mail Reference Request Form. The Center does not have a budget for outgoing long-distance phone calls to answer reference requests, so if you do not provide an email address for our response you will need to be willing to accept a collect call from the Center.


 ¬© 2007 by Fort Lewis College Foundation, Center of Southwest Studies account
Page last modified: September 05, 2007