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Matilda Coxe Stevenson Collection

Identifier: PAC 006

Scope and Content

The collection consists of photographic images produced by Matilda Coxe Stevenson circa 1890s through 1900. They depict ceremonial activities and daily life in the pueblos of Zuni and Sia (Zia). All photos were made with a Kodak No. 2 camera. Subject references made by the photographer are to the Annual Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology to which the photos are keyed. There is no acquisition history for this collection however HP.1984.15 and HP.1984.24 contained photos which are more than likely incorporated in this collection.


  • 1890 - 1900
  • Majority of material found in Placeholder Unit Date Text


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to researchers on an appointment basis only, pending approval of application to view original material.

Copy Restrictions

Permission to publish must be obtained from Photo Archives. Online Request Permission form available at: User responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical Information

Born on May 12, 1849, in San Augustine, Texas, Matilda Evans grew up in Washington, D.C. In April 1872 she married James Stevenson, a geologist and from 1879 executive officer of the U.S. Geological Survey. She took an interest in her husband's work and in 1879 accompanied him on an expedition to New Mexico to study the Zuni for the Bureau of American Ethnology. For some years her assistance to her husband was largely unacknowledged, but in 1884 the British anthropologist Edwin B. Taylor visited the Stevenson’s, discovered the extent of her original contributions, and publicly commented on her work. On several visits to the Zuni she studied their domestic life and in particular the roles, duties, and rituals of Zuni women. Her first major published paper, "Religious Life of the Zuni Child," appeared in the 1883-84 annual report of the Bureau of American Ethnology and opened an entirely new area of anthropology in the study of children.

In 1885 she helped found and became first president of the Women's Anthropological Society of America. In March 1888 her important paper on "Zuni Religions" appeared in Science. On the death of her husband in July of that year she was appointed to the staff of the Bureau of American Ethnology. In 1889 she undertook a study of the people of the Zia Pueblo in New Mexico, her report on which appeared in the 1889-90 volume of the Bureau's annual reports. The Zuni remained her principal interest, however. They held her in great esteem, and in consequence she was able to learn much that had been concealed from earlier investigators.

The Twenty-Third Annual Report of the Bureau in 1901-02 published her 600-page The Zuni Indians: Their Mythology, Esoteric Fraternities, and Ceremonies, her most important written work. The Thirtieth Annual Report of 1908-09 printed her "Ethnobotany of the Zuni Indians." She also contributed to American Anthropologist and other journals, and her subjects later included the Taos and Tewa Indians as well. From 1904 to 1915 she lived near the San Ildefonso Pueblo; when her health failed in the latter year she returned east to Oxon Hill, Maryland, where she died on June 24, 1915.


.5 Linear Feet

Matilde Coxe Stevenson Collection, 1890 - 1900
Edited Full Draft
© 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 NMHM Palace of the Governors Photo Archives Repository

113 Lincoln Ave.
Santa Fe NM 87501 USA