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Royal A. Prentice Collection

Identifier: PAC 016

Scope and Content

Materials include 4x5 and 5x7 glass plate negatives, 4x5 and other various sized film negatives most of which is nitrate, prints, photo albums, film boxes with citation information, hand colored photos and notes.


  • 1893 - 1955
  • 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

Royal A. Prentice was born in Milford, NY on July 19, 1877 and died in Albuquerque, NM on March 4, 1958. Prentice moved to Las Vegas, New Mexico with his parents in 1879 where he graduated from Southwestern Academy as valedictorian of his class at age 15. Following graduation, Prentice worked in a law office in Las Vegas. In 1898 he answered the call for volunteers to fight in the Spanish American War and enlisted with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. After being sworn in at Santa Fe his troop was sent to San Antonio for training and finally shipped to Cuba. As a commissioned lieutenant, he fought in battles at Guasimas and several other engagements. While twice wounded he escaped serious injury but did contract Yellow Fever which required a period of recuperation following his discharge, spending time in Mexico until 1900.

Fluent in Spanish, Prentice supported himself as a court reporter in Mexico before taking a position with the Mexico Central Railroad. A railroad accident caused another period of recuperation. He then took a position with Charles B. Eddy building the Northeastern Railroad between El Paso, TX and Tucumcari, NM where he worked as a mechanical engineer.

In 1906 Prentice was appointed the court reporter for the 6th Judicial District in Tucumcari, NM, an office he held until 1908. During this time, on Christmas Day in 1907 he married Louise Behrens in St. Louis, MO. Together they raised five children.

In 1908 President Taft appointed Prentice Register of the Land Office in Tucumcari, working in this capacity until 1914. This same year he opened a law office specializing in land practice and built a very successful business and assembled a substantial ownership in land, with over 12,000 acres in Quay County alone.

A stalwart Republican, Prentice worked to further the interests of the party in New Mexico. He belonged to and was prominent in a number of fraternal organizations and was very active in the Boy Scouts.

During his early years working in the law offices in Las Vegas Prentice became interested in photography. He devoted himself to this interest the rest of his life and was rarely without a camera in hand. Though he documented military career with photographs it was his interest in trains, archaeology, rock art, ethnology, and documenting family trips and events that comprises the bulk of the collection.


7.5 Linear Feet

Separated Material

Three binders of notes and photos of pottery, rock art and artifacts and nine boxes of artifacts transferred to the Anthropology Lab (Museum of Indian Arts and Culture) in 1977. Document/manuscript holdings in the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library (ACC 225)


Many of the negatives in the Royal Prentice Collection have been assigned negative numbers and contact prints have been made. Some contact prints are in the subject files but the majority are housed along with negatives in several cartons. There appear to be as many unprinted negatives in the collection as those with contact prints. There is also a great deal of duplication between prints in the albums and some unidentified negatives. The albums (16 in total) are for the most part not represented in subject file prints or as negatives although it is believed the original negatives are part of the unidentified material.

A detailed list of film and glass negatives with assigned numbers and subjects is on file in archive.
Royal A. Prentice Collection, 1893 - 1955
Edited Full Draft
© 2010
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