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Henry T. Hiester and Melander Brothers Collection

Identifier: PAC 026

Scope and Content

This collection of work by Hiester and other photographers includes work proofs, glass wet-plate negatives but is comprised mostly of stereoscopic views of New Mexico scenes, Pueblos, and Indian portraits. Many of these images have not been seen or used in the photo archives prior to the compilation of this finding aid in May of 2010, although there are some duplicates by Nicholas Brown, Melander Brothers and others.

Due to the lack of accession records or inventory regarding the Museum of New Mexico purchase of the 1966 Melander Collection, of which some Hiester glass negatives were included, any unidentified items in this collection will be given the negative number of PAC026.1, .2 etc. This will designate those items either not identified as Hiester or Melander but part of this assembled collection. The Melander collection includes work by Lewis and Silas Melander, Melander Bros., Melander & Copelin, Melander & Henderson, and Melander & Son.


  • 1873 - 1878


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to researchers pending approval to view original material. Upon approval, researchers may examine material in collection under supervised conditions in the Reading Room.

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

Henry T. Hiester (interchangeably spelled Heister) probably came to Santa Fe in summer of 1871 from Iowa or Texas at the invitation of Dr. Enos Andrews to replace photographer Nicholas Brown. It is thought he brought the first solar camera to New Mexico for making life-size enlargements, generally having them painted by John D. Howland, a Santa Fe artist. Main body of known work is stereo views the length of the Rio Grande Basin in New Mexico and Arizona and the Navajo Reservation area. Hiester made a boat trip down the Rio Grande with Howland in the summer of 1874 and both opened studios in Mesilla, near present day Las Cruces. Hiester evidently worked as an interpreter to the Mescalero Apaches in 1875. He returned to Santa Fe before working in Northeastern Arizona. He was last documented as returning to Santa Fe in 1878. The collection was donated to the photo archives by his nephew Paul Hiester in 1974. Some original Hiester negatives came to the archive as part of the 1966 Melander Collection purchase.


1 linear foot

Language of Materials


Collection Available Online

The Henry T. Hiester/Melander Collection is available at New Mexico's Digital Collections

Separated Material

The Melander and Hiester glass negatives are housed in a negative room cabinet in numerical order. All of these glass negatives have been scanned and can be viewed online at:


The Henry T. Hiester/Melander Collection is available at New Mexico's Digital Collections



Henry T. Hiester/Melander Brothers Collection, 1873 - 1878
Edited Full Draft
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
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