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Wesley Bradfield Collection

Identifier: PAC 046

Scope and Content

This small yet historically significant collection covers a range of Bradfield's photography over his career. While not comprehensive it does touch on many of his areas research and interest. As this collection was disbursed through the subjects files, retrieval of additional Bradfield material will occur over time.


  • 1910 - 1929


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

Wesley Bradfield was born in Michigan in 1876, attended Cornell and University of Michigan before joining the U.S. Forestry Service and being transferred to Santa Fe in 1909. He resigned from this position, went into the curio business and became an expert photographer. As his skills developed he came to the attention of Edgar L. Hewett, director of the Museum of New Mexico, who sent him to Guatemala in 1912 to photograph and procure molds of Mayan monuments at Quirigua to be used at the 1915 San Diego Exposition. He subsequently served as an archaeologist, curator, and photographer for the Museum of New Mexico and the School of American Research and for the period of 1926 – 1927 was associate director of the San Diego Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

In 1917 he visited Chaco Canyon with Hewett and quickly became known for his scientific approach to excavation, photography and his techniques for museum preparatory work. One of his major contributions was a monograph on the archaeology of the Mimbres Valley of New Mexico, the result of five years of intensive research.

Bradfield was a well-known and popular lecturer. He also developed unusual skill in the reconstruction of pottery and photography of artifacts. He was tireless and meticulous in his attention to detail in the field and his work in the laboratory, even developing a technique for photographing the interior of bowls to flatten designs without distortion. He died unexpectedly in Santa Fe on November 11, 1929.


.5 Linear Feet

Wesley Bradfield Collection, 1910 - 1929
Edited Full Draft
© 2011
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