Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
2 documents - page 1 of 1

Sonora Carver Papers

Creator:
Carver, Sonora Webster, 1904-2003  Search this
Names:
Lighthouse for the Blind.  Search this
Extent:
3 Cubic feet (8 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Place:
Atlantic City (N.J.)
New Jersey
Date:
1891-1994, undated
1891-1994
Summary:
Collection documents Sonora Carver's career as a diving horse rider and her advocacy work with the Lighthouse for the Blind.
Scope and Contents:
Collection consists primarily of materials relating to Carver's career as a diving horse rider and her advocacy work for the Lighthouse for the Blind. It is arranged into six series. Series one contains biographical information about Sonora Webster Carver and her family and dates from 1924-1994. Series two includes material relating to Carver's career as a diving horse rider on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Series three documents Carver's later life and work on behalf of people with visual impairments dating from 1953-1977. Series four contains material relating to the creation of the Walt Disney Pictures film Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken dating from 1990-1993. Series five consists of materials relating to Dr. William Frank "Doc" Carver and the Wild West dating from 1891-1975. Series six contains miscellaneous materials dating from 1962-1991.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into six series.

Series 1, Biographical Information, 1924-1994, undated

Series 2, Diving Horses Career and Atlantic City, 1924-1986, undated

Series 3, Visual Impairment and Advocacy, 1953-1977, undated

Series 4, Walt Disney Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken Movie, 1990-1993, undated

Series 5, Dr. William Frank "Doc" Carver and the Wild West, 1891-1975, undated

Series 6,: Miscellaneous, 1962-1991, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Sonora Webster was born on February 2, 1904, one of six children, in Waycross, Georgia. In 1923, she became a performer with Dr. William Frank "Doc" Carver's carnival act. Dr. Carver, a trained dentist, acquired target shooting and horseback riding skills that lead to his success as a world-class marksman. By 1924, Sonora began performing a stunt created by Dr. Carver, an act that required her to mount a running horse as it reached the top of a forty-foot tower and lie on the horse's back as it plunged into an eleven-foot-deep pool of water. She and other female performers traveled the country with Dr. Carver eventually settling in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After Carver's death in 1927, his son Albert (Al) Floyd Carver assumed responsibility for the show. Sonora Webster married Albert Carver in 1928. That same year Sonora's sister Arnette Webster French joined the show. It was in 1931 that Sonora's life dramatically changed when she became legally blind as the result of retinal detachment. This condition was caused during one of her dives when she hit the water off balance with her eyes open. Determined to continue with the show, Sonora performed the diving horse act until 1942. Later that year that she and her husband Al Carver moved to New Orleans. She learned Braille and worked as a Dictaphone typist. In 1961, Sonora Webster Carver published her autobiography A Girl and Five Brave Horses. She retired from her position as a Dictaphone typist in 1979. Walt Disney Pictures released the movie Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken in 1991 which was loosely based on Sonora Carver's autobiography. Sonora Webster Carver died at the age of ninety-nine on September 21, 2003 in Pleasantville, New Jersey.
Related Materials:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Archives Center Wild West Collection (AC1466)

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana (AC0060)

L.F. Foster Wild West Scrapbooks, Photographs, and Copy Negatives (AC1289)

Duncan P. Schiedt Photograph Collection (AC1323)
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Archives Center by Sonora Carver, 1994.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Horsemen and horsewomen  Search this
Diving  Search this
Blindness  Search this
Blind athletes  Search this
Women in horse sports  Search this
Steel Pier (Atlantic City, N.J.)  Search this
Horses  Search this
Citation:
Sonora Carver Papers, 1891-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0521
See more items in:
Sonora Carver Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0521
Online Media:

Red Lips' first diving picture---Houlton, Maine, 1929 / Sonora riding [black and white photoprint]

Photographer:
Porter Studios, The (Houlton, Me.)  Search this
Names:
Carver, Sonora Webster, 1904-2003  Search this
Collection Creator:
Carver, Sonora Webster, 1904-2003  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (9.75" x 7.75".)
Type:
Archival materials
Photographs
Place:
Maine
Date:
1929
Scope and Contents:
Diving horse with woman rider (Sonora Carver).
Local Numbers:
02052102.tif (AC Scan)
General:
In Box 2, Folder 4.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research use on site by appointment. Photographs must be handled with cotton gloves unless protected by sleeves.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Women athletes  Search this
Diving  Search this
Women in horse sports  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 1920-1930
Collection Citation:
Sonora Carver Papers, 1891-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Sonora Carver Papers
Sonora Carver Papers / Series 1: Biographical Information / Scrapbook of newspaper clippings and photographs, pages 1-30
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0521-ref625

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By
  • Archives Center, National Museum of American History