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Elizabeth Willis DeHuff Pictorial Collection

Identifier: PICT-000-099

Scope and Content

The collection contains photographs of Hispanic and Native Americans, landscapes, and cultural life of New Mexico from the 1920s to approximately 1945. Most of the printed photographs are duplicates of lantern slide images, some of which are hand-colored. The slides of principle tourist attractions in New Mexico were used to illustrate Mrs. DeHuff's lectures at La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe for the Fred Harvey Company's Indian Detours excursions. Native American material is extensive and covers most pueblos in New Mexico, as well as Hopi, Ute, and Navajo tribes. Also included are images of Indian artists Fred Kabotie and Maria and Julian Martinez. The collection also contains photos of Mrs. DeHuff, her family, and friends. A later addition (Folder 71) contains illustrations by Indian and non-Indian artists for children's books by Elizabeth DeHuff. Some of these are Gisella Loeffler, Jose Rey Toledo, and Dorothy N. Stewart. There is also a fold-out titled "Inter-Tribal Ceremonial/Gallup, New Mexico" with screen print illustrations by Indian artists Velino Herrera (Ma-Wi-Pe) and others. Also contains picture of Steve Honani Tawie.

Also included are 334 glass lantern slides with images of various Southwestern locations and communities, including many depictions of various Pueblos in New Mexico.

An second addition of prints and negatives of Fred Kabotie paintings once owned by the DeHuffs was accessioned in 2005.


  • 1899-1945


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research. Glass lantern slides may be seen by appointment. They have been digitized and are available on-line on New Mexico Digital Collections.

Copy Restrictions

Duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.


Elizabeth Willis DeHuff had a long and multi-faceted career as an author, lecturer, patron of Indian arts, and publicist of the diverse history and culture of the Southwest. Although her birth date is sometimes given as 1892, the best evidence suggests that she was born in 1886 to John Turner and Ann Boyd Wilson Willis of Augusta, Georgia. The five Willis children--Ralph, Elizabeth, John, Nanette, and Francis--grew up in Augusta and also spent time at the family property on Beech Island, South Carolina.

After her schooling at the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens, GA, and at Barnard College in New York City, Elizabeth departed from convention and took a teaching job in the Philippine Islands in 1910. During her time there, she met John David DeHuff (1872-1945), who had also gone to the Philippines to teach. Elizabeth returned to the United States, married John David, and accompanied him to his new post at the Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1913. In 1916, he became superintendent of the Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, an appointment which proved to be a turning point in his life, and in his wife's as well.

Elizabeth was fascinated with the art and culture of the Southwest, and got John David's permission to "borrow"; several boys from their classes at the Indian School. Fred Kabotie, Otis Polelonema, Velino Herrera (also Velino Shije and Ma-Pe-Wi) were some of the boys who, as a result, started to paint dances and other Indian scenes in the DeHuff living room. The tradition of Indian painting thus begun remains popular and significant to this day.

Elizabeth De Huff also became a prolific writer, and is especially noted for her children"s books with Indian themes. In addition, she was involved in many civic and artistic events in Santa Fe. She lectured several nights a week at La Fonda Hotel from 1927 to about 1945 for Indian Detours; she carried on a voluminous correspondence; and she raised the three DeHuff children, David, Ann, and Frances. After John David's death in 1945, Elizabeth eventually returned to Georgia, where she actively pursued her writing and genealogical research until her death in 1983.


1635 plus items (15 boxes) : 1290 photographic prints, 5 negatives, 4 photograph albums, 336 lantern slides, 3 CDs, uncounted postcards and drawings

Language of Materials



Photographs of Hispanic and Indian peoples, landscapes, and cultural life of New Mexico from the 1920s to approximately 1945.

Physical Location

B2. Shelved by Pictorial Number.

Collection Available Online

A portion of the collection is available on-line, on New Mexico Digital Collections.

Separated Material

Pictorial material separated from the Elizabeth Willis DeHuff Family Papers.


Contact Information

  1. University of New Mexico
  2. MSC05 3020, 1, University of New Mexico
  3. Center for Southwest Research
  4. Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
  5. Phone: 505-277-7173
  6. Fax:
  7. Email:
  8. URL:
Finding Aid of the Elizabeth Willis DeHuff Pictorial Collection, 1899-1945
Processed by Pictorial Collections Staff
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Language of description
Script of description
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Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131