Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, New Mexico -- Missions
Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, New Mexico
This collection of photographs, shot by Reverend James O. Arthur while serving as a missionary for the Reformed Church of America, documents the activities on the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska in 1913 as well as Mescalero and Chiricahua Reservation in White Tail, New Mexico from 1914-1919. Additional images depict vacations and travels throughout the United States by the Arthur family and friends between the years 1913-1928.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains 701 photographs shot by Reverend James O. Arthur while serving as a missionary for the Reformed Church of America and documents the activities on the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska in 1913, and on the Mescalero Apache and Chiricahua Apache Reservation in White Tail, New Mexico from 1914-1919. The photographs depict informal portraits of Winnebago, Mescalero Apache, Chiricahua Apache, and Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache people; Reverend James O. Arthur, his family, and friends on the reservations and their travels throughout the United States between the years 1913 to 1928; groups such as Indian school children, quilt sewing circles, and Indian police and fire brigade; activities such as church life, fairs, picnics, sports, hunting, horticulture, agriculture, and building construction; and animals such as cattle, deer, turkeys, and wolves. Notable images include those of an elderly Chief Naiche (Chiricahua Apache), Jasper Kanseah [nephew of Goyathlay (Geronimo)], and Eugene Chihuahua (son of Chihuahua).The majority of the images were photographed by Rev. James O. Arthur himself, except for the few images in which he appears. This collection also contains Reverend Arthur's negative envelopes which include his typed notes about the photographs such as dates, subject matter, and his ratings of the photographs. Arthur used a Vest Pocket Kodak camera from circa 1913-1914 and a 3A Folding Kodak camera from circa 1914-1928.
The titles of the photographs were assigned by the photographer.
The collection is intellectually arranged in 15 series by location and then chronologically.
The nitrate negatives were originally physically organized by Reverend James O. Arthur in two sets of envelopes first by image size and then by chronology. Upon donation, NMAI image numbers where assigned to the nitrate negatives and then physically stored according to this number in four boxes; Box 1 (N53103-N53272), Box 2 (N53273-N53460), Box 3 (N53461-N53663), Box 4 (N53664-N53801). The 2 prints are stored in Photo Folder 1. Box 5 contains the envelopes in series 5. In 2008 the nitrate negatives were moved to an offsite storage facility.
Reverend James Osborne Arthur (1887-1971) and his wife Katherine Arthur (1883-1960) were missionaries for the Reformed Church of America, working on the Nebraska Winnebago Reservation from 1912 to 1914 and among the Chiricahua and Mescalero Apaches in the Whitetail section of the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico from June 1914 to 1919.
Arthur was born in South Dakota in 1887 to Frank G. Arthur (1861-1948) and Jean O. Schuler (Scouller; 1863-1914), but spent his early life in Iowa. James had 5 siblings Margaret W. Arthur (b. 1889), F. Gale Arthur (1892-1952), Dorothy M. Arthur (b.1894), Jeanie (Jeanne) Arthur (1896-1961), and Jessie M. Arthur (1899-1992).
On June 26, 1911, James Arthur married Katherine Magdeline Gottberg Rhoades (1883-1960). The Arthurs had five children who are documented in this collection: Margaret Jean (1913-2010), James, Jr. (1915-2002), John Paul (1917-1987), Robert Lee (1919-2000) and Kathryn (1923-). Reverend Arthur died in August 1971 in Lomita, California.
The following book documents the Arthurs' work and life on the Mescalero Apache Reservation: Herbert, D. and R. K. Herbert. Yah Et-Te: A Struggling Missionary's Record of Work Among Geronimo's People on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in 1914-1919. Philadelphia: Xlibris Corporation, 2000.
This collection was donated to NMAI in 2007 in memory of Reverend James O. Arthur and Katherine Arthur by Barbara Jane Arthur Jacobs (the Arthurs' granddaughter) and family.
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Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to firstname.lastname@example.org.