Photographs made during Matilda Coxe Stevenson's field studies among Southwest Indians, particularly at Zuni. Images primarily document pueblos, people, ceremonies, and daily activities, as well as some photographs of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and ranches, probably those belonging to Stevenson or her friends. The collection includes photographs by William Henry Cobb and Wittick & Russell, as well as Stevenson's assistant May S. Clark and "Mr. Gray," a photographer that Stevenson hired as an assistant.
Matilda Coxe Stevenson (1849-1915; though her birth year is often erroneously listed as 1850) was the first woman to study the American Southwest and the first (and for a long time the only) female anthropologist hired by the US government. Born Matilda Coxe Evans in 1849 in San Augustine, Texas, Stevenson was brought to Washington, D.C., as an infant. She was educated at Miss Anable's English, French, and German School in Philadelphia and through private studies with her father and Dr. William M. Mew of the Army Medical Museum. In 1872 she married James Stevenson, a geologist with the US Geological Survey of the Territories. From 1872-1878, Matilda joined James on Ferdinand V. Hayden's geological surveys to Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah, and assisted him by compiling geological data. When the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) was created in 1879, Matilda Stevenson was appointed "volunteer coadjutor [sic] in ethnology" and she went with James on his BAE expeditions to the Southwest.
After James Stevenson's death in 1888, BAE Director John Wesley Powell hired Matilda Stevenson to organize her husband's notes. In 1889, Stevenson became regular BAE staff. From 1890 to 1907, Stevenson did substantial individual fieldwork at Zuni and published "The Zuni Indians: Their Mythology, Esoteric Fraternities, and Ceremonies" in the Bureau of American Ethnology's Twenty-Third Annual Report (1901-2). Starting in 1904, Stevenson conducted comparative studies at Zia, Jemez, San Juan, Cochiti, Nambe, Picarus, Tesuque, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, and Taos. In 1907 she purchased a ranch (Ton'yo) near San Ildefonso, which became her base for fieldwork. Stevenson died in Maryland on June 24, 1915.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 23
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Stevenson photographs previously filed in BAE number 4325, MS 4624, MS 4717, Photo Lot 14, and Photo Lot 33 have been relocated and merged with Photo Lot 23. These photographs were also made by Stevenson and form part of this collection.
Additional glass negatives made by Stevenson are held in the National Anthropological Archives in the BAE historical negatives.
The National Anthropological Archives holds Matilda Coxe Stevenson's papers in MS 4689.
Photographic images and portraits of Stevenson are in the National Anthropological Archives in the following collections: Photo Lot 33, Photo Lot 70, Photo Lot 89-19, and Photo Lot 90-1.
Additional photographs of We'wha, probably commissioned by Stevenson at a studio in Washington, D.C., are in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 2004-03.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.