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Rio Grande Historical Collections southwest photograph collection

Identifier: Ms-0338

Scope and Content Note

This collection is a grouping of 58 pictures from several purchases that the New Mexico State University Library made from Russ Todd Books. There are several different photographers represented in the collection, including: Ben Wittick, J.C. Burge, W.H. Jackson, D.B. Chase, J.N. Furlong, George Mellen, T.H. O'Sullivan, F.E. Evans, Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, Atchison and Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, along with unknown photographers.

The pictures cover many areas in the southwest from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century such as Apache life, pueblos, scenic and historic areas, buildings, outings, and national parks. There are photographic stereo views, copy negatives of some of the images, but most images are black and white photographs posted on a backing.


  • 1860 - 1900

Language of Materials


Access and Use Restrictions

This material may be examined by researchers under supervised conditions in the Search Room.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with copyright and other applicable statutes.

Copyrights associated with this collection have not been transferred and assigned to New Mexico State University.

Biographical Sketches

William Henry Brown

(1844-December 19, 1886) was the son of Nicholas Brown with whom he traveleded to Santa Fe in 1866 and worked with as a photographer until a trip to Chihuahua, Mexico in1867. Henry Brown stayed in Chihuahua to run a studio until 1869 and then returned to Santa Fe. In early 1880, Brown partnered with George C. Bennett. Brown also worked with Genevus and John Burke and his wife Fannie. Brown did work with the New Mexico Historical Society making portraits of Territorial notables. Some of Brown's work can be found at the University of New Mexico.

J.C. Burge

(ca. 1839 - Jan. 1, 1897) was active as a photographer in the Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso areas. He was also extensively involved in lodge activities. His work can be found at the Branigan Memorial Library in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Burge images are contained within the Black Range Museum Collection, depicting in particular the Hillsboro-Kingston mining area.

D.B. Chase

( -ca. 1897) took pictures of various Colorado and New Mexico locations around 1873-1897. Some of Chase's pictures are also kept in the Museum of New Mexico and the Albuquerque Public Library.

T.H. O'Sullivan

was born circa 1840. Apprenticed to photographer Mathew Brady, he took photographs during the American Civil War and was included in the first published collection of civil war photographs. He was photographer for the Geological Exploration of the Fortieth Parallel, the first survey of the American West, and srved as chief photographer for the United States of America. He died of tuberculosis in 1882.

W.H. Jackson

(1843-1942) fought in the American Civil War, including at the battle of Gettysburg. After the war, he joined the Oregon Trail. He won a commission from the Union Pacific Railroad to document the scenery for promotional reasons. On an expedition with Ferdinand Hayden, Jackson took pictures of the Grand Tetons, Old Faithful, and the rest of Yellowstone. Jackson also took pictures of the Anasazi dwellings at Mesa Verde, Colorado. Jackson went to Washington, D.C. in 1924 and produced murals of the Old West for the U.S. Department of Interior and was an advisor for the movie Gone with the Wind. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

George Benjamin Wittick

For 25 years, made a photographic record of western landscapes and southwestern native peoples, including Apache and Navajo war chiefs, Indian army scouts.Ben Wittick was one of the first to photograph the Hopi snake dance ceremony. Wittick joined the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad in 1878 from Illinois to document western landscapes and Southwestern native people. He documented the native American population until his death at Fort Wingate, New Mexico in 1903.


Rudisill, Richard. Photographers of the New Mexico Territory, 1854-1912. Albuquerque: Museum of New Mexico. 1973.


5 linear inches


Photographs covering the southwest area from various photographs Ben Wittick, Henry Brown, T.H. O'Sullivan, D.B. Chase, W.H. Jackson, J.C. Burge, J.N. Furlong, F.E. Evans.


  1. RG84-041 Russ Todd Books
  2. RG85-101 Russ Todd Books
  3. RG84-115 Russ Todd Books
  4. RG85-121 Russ Todd Books

Related Material

Broder, Particia Janis. Shadows on Glass - The Indian World of Ben Wittick. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 1990.


Contact Information

  1. Archives and Special Collections
  2. New Mexico State University Library
  3. P.O. Box 30006
  4. Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-8006
  5. Phone: (505) 646-3839
  6. Fax: (505) 646-7477
  7. Email:
  8. URL:




Rudisill, Richard. Photographers of the New Mexico Territory, 1854-1912. Albuquerque: Museum of New Mexico. 1973.
Finding guide for the Rio Grande Historical Collections southwest photograph collection, circa 1860-1900
Processed by Cassie McClure
© 2005
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 New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA