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Ralph M. Pearson Collection

Identifier: AC 380

Scope and Content

Collection contains personal and business papers, including correspondence, letters, financial statements, legal documents, and some photographs of Ralph Pearson and other people associated with him during his time in Taos, New Mexico. The major categories are correspondence and financial records of Margaret Hale/Ralph Pearson's business venture (in alphabetical order by businesses or individuals), correspondence of their business partner Joseph Foster, and personal letters between Margaret Hale and Ralph Pearson. There are also series of letters and correspondence between Margaret Hale and Joseph Foster.

Collection also contains materials from Margaret Hale's brother Swinburn Hale, that she held for him for safe keeping. There are series of letters from Beatrice Forbes Robertson to Swinburne Hale; correspondence between Swinburn Hale and Gretchen Hercz; letters from Witter Bynner to Swinburne Hale; letters from Swinburne Hale's parents, William Gardner Hale and Harriet Knowles (Swineburne) Hale; miscellaneous letters from friends; and Swinburne Hale's divorce papers from Marie Tudor Garland. Swinburne Hale also retained historical correspondence between family members from the late 19th century.

Additional material (added 01.2011) includes samples of Pearson’s etchings and Foster’s card and envelope stock, both blank and printed. Some Pearson and Foster correspondence is included, along with manuscripts of two of Foster’s unpublished books. Also included are a large number of photographs (mostly snapshots in black and white) which have been transferred to Photo Archives (HP 2004.2).


  • 1870-1930

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical History

Ralph M. Pearson born in Angus, IA, went to highschool and later to the Chicago Art Institure. Early on, his fascination with etching which was almost unknown in the United States at the time, Pearson perfected his craft, and became an accomplished printmaker. In 1914, Pearson moved to New York where he associated with the Elverhoy Colony of Artists and the Craftmen at Milton-on-Hudson and attended classes at the Mordern Art School. In 1917, Pearson left New York crisscrossing the country and eventually ending up in Taos, New Mexico, where he remained until ca. 1923 before moving on to California. At Ranchos de Taos he converted 50 acres of sage brush into a ranch, built an adobe studio, and began giving his energy to his art and established a card business for selling his artwork. His wife Margaret Hale, with whom he had one daughter (Pavli), was his business manager. Eventually, Pearson hired Joseph Foster as a distributor for his card collection. Upon Pearson's divorce from Hale, Joseph Foster and Margaret Hale got together and continued to distribute Pearson's works. Margaret Hale's brother, Swinburne Hale, poet, socialist activist, and lawyer for the Communist Party, spent most of his time between 1922 and 1924 in Taos. Hale arrive in Taos after his marriage of twelve years to Beatrice Forbes-Robertson (1883-1967), a successful stage actress and important woman suffrage advocate, ended in divorce in 1920. Hale remarried Marie Tudor Garland in 1921. Hale was friends with many important poets of the 1910s and 1920s such as Witter Bynner who, too, eventually ended up in New Mexico.


4.50 Linear Feet

Related Archival Material

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to Photo Archives (HP 2004.02)


Contact Information

  1. Fray Angelico Chavez History Library
  2. P.O. Box 2087
  3. The Palace of the Governors
  4. Santa Fe, NM 87504-2087
  5. Phone: 505-476-5090
  6. Email:
  7. URL:


Inventory of the Ralph M. Pearson Collection, 1870-1930
Processed by tj
©2005, updated ©2011
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library Repository

Fray Angélico Chávez History Library
New Mexico History Museum
113 Lincoln Ave
Sante Fe NM 87501 USA
(505) 476-5090