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John K. Hillers Collection

Identifier: PAC 020

Scope and Content

Collections consists of original prints, with some duplicates, of New Mexico scenes, Pueblos and their inhabitants, Arizona, landscapes, and archaeological sites, most dating to 1879-1880. There are 50 duplicate prints in the collection, as many as four copies of some. All are albumen prints, stereoviews, many mounted on card stock, some printed with geologic survey graphics. There are also a number of prints used in the exhibition at the 1915 San Diego World Exposition.


  • 1872 - 1915
  • 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

John K. Hillers, a German immigrant, became one of the greatest photographers of the American West. After serving in the Civil War and as a police officer in Brooklyn, New York, Hillers travelled west with an ailing brother, where he hired on with the John Wesley Powell Expedition through the Grand Canyon. After learning the basics of photography he became the expedition’s chief photographer in the spring of 1872 and served with Powell on subsequent expeditions until 1878. In 1879 he was appointed Chief Photographer for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Ethnology in Washington continuing in these positions until his retirement in 1900.

Recognized as master of his craft, Hillers also possessed a sensitivity and responsiveness that allowed him to capture the grandeur of his subjects. Working extensively in stereo during the early years, he produced a tremendous body of work of American landscapes and the American Indian, mainly with 11x14 wet plate process negatives but worked as large as 24x34 during his time in Washington. Hillers worked in New Mexico and Arizona several times over the years photographing the pueblos and people, with his longest visit being in 1879. His photographs are part of every serious photographic collection in the U.S.


.5 Linear Feet


John K. Hillers Collection, 1872 - 1915
Edited Full Draft
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
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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