The Lee Marmon photographs collection contains 94 color and black and white photographic prints. Subjects include Laguna and Acoma elders (1950-1965), publicity images of celebrities (1967-1973), Native American portraiture (circa 1987), the New Mexico pueblos and landscape, and the potter Lucy M. Lewis, her daughters, and their pottery (1987). The photographs were shot by Lee Marmon (Laguna Pueblo), circa 1950-1987.
Scope and Contents:
The Lee Marmon photographs collection contains 94 color and black and white photographic prints that were shot by Laguna Pueblo photographer Lee Marmon, circa 1950-1987. Subjects include people, sites, and landscapes around Laguna Pueblo and Acoma Pueblo (1950-1965) in New Mexico; publicity images of celebrities (1967-1973) including Bob Hope and Dean Martin; Native American portraiture (circa 1987);and the potter Lucy M. Lewis, her daughters, and their pottery (1987).
Small prints organized in photo folders; and larger prints are stored in oversize boxes.
Lee Howard Marmon was born as the second son of Lily and Henry "Hank" Marmon on September 25, 1925 in Laguna, New Mexico. Marmon's interest in photography was sparked when he took his first photograph at the age of 11 of an automobile accident on Route 66. Initially planning to attend the University of New Mexico to study geology, Marmon dropped out after several semesters to begin his World War II career as a Sergeant-Major on Shemya Island, Alaska in 1943. Marmon's service to the United States in the Aleutian chain lasted until 1946, after which he returned to Laguna.
Marmon retained an interest in photography and purchased his first professional camera, a 2¼ x 2¾ Speed Graphic. Later in his career, he would use a 4x5 Speed Graphic, a Rolleiflex, a Hasselblad Superwide, and a Hasselblad C model. When Marmon began photographing, he favored Kodachrome sheet film (ASA 8) and super speed B&W (ASA 100). As Marmon was learning this new hobby, his civilian life included employment as the Laguna postmaster and as a worker in his father's store, The Laguna Trading Post. Photography escalated from a hobby to a more serious pursuit after Marmon's father suggested that his son bring a camera along while making store deliveries in order to take portraits of the Laguna elders. These early black and white photographs, taken using fixed-lens cameras and natural light, became some of Marmon's most well-known images.
While Marmon mainly focused on documenting the traditions and lifestyles of the Laguna and Acoma Pueblos, a departure from this theme occurred when he moved from New Mexico to Palm Springs, California in 1966. As the official photographer for the Bob Hope Desert Classic Golf Tournament from 1967 until 1973, Marmon took publicity photographs of golfers participating in the competition along with celebrity entertainers and guests at the accompanying Bob Hope Ball. Marmon also worked as a freelance photographer throughout this time, contributing to publications such as Time Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post, working as a still photographer for Columbia Pictures, and completing a commission from President and Mrs. Nixon to photograph a collection of New Mexican Puebloan pottery.
Marmon moved back to Laguna in 1982, and in the following years he showed his work in a variety of venues, opened a bookstore called The Blue-Eyed Indian, and won an ADDY award for his contribution to the PBS documentary series, Surviving Columbus: The Story of the Pueblo People. In 2003, Marmon published a book, The Pueblo Imagination: Landscape and Memory in the Photography of Lee Marmon, in collaboration with his daughter, author Leslie Marmon Silko, and poets Joy Harjo and Simon Ortiz. The book was heralded as a success, collecting first place awards from The Mountains and Plains Bookseller's Association and from Independent Publisher Online.
After the publication of his book, Marmon's photographic activity began to diminish. His final show, Pueblo Faces and Places, was held in 2007 at the Sky City Cultural Center in Acoma, New Mexico. In recognition for achievements in the photographic field, Marmon was honored as the 88th Annual Inter-Tribal Ceremonial's "Living Treasure" of 2009, the first photographer to be given the award. Throughout his life, Marmon produced a great volume of work. In May of 2009, he donated his personal papers and over 65,000 photographs to the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections (CSWR) at the University of New Mexico. From a humble beginning of taking photographs of village elders, Marmon eventually built a career out of saving the memories of the Laguna and Acoma tribes and is now one of the country's best-known Native American photographers.
Lee Marmon passed away in March 2021 at age 95.
Access to NMAI Archives Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Copyright held by the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections at the University of New Mexico.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Lee Marmon photographs, image #, NMAI.AC.054; National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Photographs documenting Native American Public Programs events, including images of Native American artists and examples of their work during demonstrations and lectures at the National Museum of Natural History. Photographs were mostly made by Smithsonian photographers, including Carl C. Hansen, Richard Strauss, Chip Clark, Laurie Minor-Penland, Eric Long, Alan Hart, Rick Vargas, Dane Penland, and Christina Taccone. Included are a large number of photographs of Don Tenoso (Hunkpapa), an artist-in-residence at the National Museum of Natural History, and performances by James Luna (Luiseno/Digueno), Guillermo Gomez-Pena (Chicano), and Coco Fusco. Crafts and arts depicted include beadwork, basket weaving, dollmaking, peyote fanmaking, weaving, hand games, quilting, clothing making, leatherwork, woodcarving, saddlemaking, sculpture, painting, story-telling, and performance art. There are also images of Dolores Lewis Garcia and Emma Lewis Garcia (daughters of Acoma potter Lucy M. Lewis) and their pottery, Joallyn Archambault with artists, and the 1990 American Indian Theater Company reception.
Other depicted artists include Maynard White Owl Lavadour (Cayuse/Nez Perce), Evangeline Talshaftewa (Hopi), Lisa Fritzler (Crow), Marian Hanssen, Vanessa Morgan (Kiowa/Pima), Marty Good Bear (Mandan/Hidatsa), Katie Henio and Sarah Adeky (Navajo), Geneva Lofton and Lee Dixon (Luiseno), Chris Devers (Luiseno), Mary Good Bear (Mandan), Robert and Alice Little Man (Kiowa), Lisa Watt (Seneca), Jay McGirt (Creek), Bill Crouse (Seneca), Kevin Johnny-John (Onondaga), Rose Anderson (Pomo), Francys Sherman and Margaret Hill (Mono), Thelene Albert and Annie Bourke (White Mountain Apache), Bob Tenequer (Laguna), Jimmy Abeyeta (Navajo), Lou Ann Reed (Acoma), Melissa Peterson (Makah), Jennifer and Kallie Keams Musial (Navajo), Joyce Growing Thunder-Fogarty and Juanita Fogarty (Assiniboine/Sioux), David Neel (Kwakiutal), Mervin Ringlero (Pima), Jhon Goes-In-Center (Oglala), D. Montour (Delaware/Mohawk), Rikki Francisco (Pima), Annie Antone (Papago), Angie Reano-Owen (Santo Domingo Pueblo), Carol Vigil (Jemez), Gregg Baurland (Miniconjou), Greg Colfax (Makah), Lydia Whirlwind-Soldier (Sicangu Dakota), Martin Red Bear (Oglala), Michael Rogers (Paiute), Alta Rogers (Yurok/Paiute), Dorothy Stanley (Miwok), Lisa Little Chief (Dakota), Tom Haukaas (Sicangu Dakota), Nora Navanjo-Morsie (Santa Clara Tewa), Seneca Women's Singing Society, Molly Blankenship and Martha Ross (Eastern Cherokee), Julia Parker (Miwok/Pomo), Candy and Claudia Cellicion (Zuni), Sally and Lorraine Black (Navajo), Carmen Quinto-Plunkett (Tlingit), Ina McNeil (Hunkpapa), and Ellen and Faye Quandelancy (Zuni), and Rikki Francisco (Pima).
Native American Public Programs was founded in 1989 as a part of the Department of Education in the National Museum of Natural History. Under the directorship of Aleta Ringlero, its main activity was the arranging of demonstrations by Native American artists and craftsmen in the exhibition areas of the museum.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 91-26
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Audio of James Luna's lecture for the Native American Public Programs office held in National Anthropological Archives in MS 7514.
Dolls made by Don Tenoso for the Native American Public Programs office held in Department of Anthropology collections in accession 390905.
Additional photographs of Tenoso held in the Smithsonian Institution Archives in SIA2009-2222 and 90-13726.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Indians of North America -- Southern states Search this
Lucy M. Lewis (Lucy Lewis/Lucy Martin Lewis), Acoma Pueblo, ca. 1898-1992, Dolores Lewis Garcia (Delores Lewis Garcia), Acoma Pueblo, b. 1938, and Emma Lewis-Mitchell (Emma Lewis), Acoma Pueblo, b. 1931 Search this