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Frank Waters Pictorial Collection

Identifier: PICT-000-332

Scope and Content

Portraits of Frank Waters, his family, friends and home. Photographs document the packing and transport of Waters personal papers by UNM Library personnel. Other photos show aspects of Hispanic life in N.M. (principally agriculture), Indians of N.M. and Arizona, Taos, Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Laguna, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan), Zuni, Hopi, and Navajo, their dwellings, arts and; crafts, subsistence activities, and ceremonial dances. Some early snapshots of Indians (1900-1909) include girls at Indian School in non-traditional dress. There are many excellent Tourist Bureau and commerical photographers' images of National Parks, Monuments, and ruins in N.M., Colorado, and Arizona. Others are related to his books "Midas of the Rockies" and "Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs." These include portraits of Winfield Scott Stratton, Stratton family homes, and charitable institutions funded by that family. There are also pictures, some reproductions of early photos, of Colorado mines and mining towns. There is a good, identified portrait of the members of the Santa Fe County Sheriff's posse on horseback (circa 1950). There is a large poster entitled "Frank Waters Centennial", as well as oversize prints of Mount Shasta, the Elk Chief, Faye Avazhoya, and two prints by Bill Bridges.


  • 1870-2002


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

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.


Frank Waters, writer and editor, was born July 25, 1902, at the foot of Pike's Peak, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His father, who was part Cherokee died when Frank was 12 years old. It was his father who initially sparked Frank's interest in Indian culture. Waters attended Colorado College (Colorado Springs) from 1922-25 as an engineering student. He dropped out after his third year to take a job as a laborer in the Salt Creek, Wyoming oil fields. He later worked as an engineer for the Southern California Telephone Company on the Mexican border.

Waters moved back to Colorado in 1935 to work on the second two volumes of his Colorado mining trilogy. He moved to New Mexico's Mora Valley in 1937, and relocated to Taos in 1938. When World War II broke out, he worked for the office of Inter-American Affairs, Washington, D.C., as a chief content officer and propaganda analyst. After the War, Waters returned to New Mexico and bought his home in Arroyo Seco. He was editor of El Crepusculo, a weekly Spanish-English newspaper (1949-1951); and book reviewer for the Saturday Review of Literature (1950-1956). Waters also held positions as information consultant for Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, New Mexico, and for the City of Las Vegas, Nevada, (1952-1956). He held a variety of other jobs, including writer for C.O. Whitney Motion Picture Co., Los Angeles (1957), writer-in-residence, Colorado State University, Fort Collins (1966); and director, New Mexico Arts Commission, Santa Fe, (1966-68). Waters' first publication was a short story called, "How It Was Settled," published in 1916. He began publishing in earnest in the 1930s. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 25 books and numerous articles and short works. Thematically, many of his publications relate to the Southwest and Native American culture. Mayan cosmology, atomic physics, and taoism are other topics evident in Waters' works. Waters' style distinguishes between the popular Western and the novel of the Southwest. His revealing, stark descriptions of the Southwestern landscape and the story of human adaptation to the environment has turned People of the Valley and The Man Who Killed the Deer into classics. In addition to his popular and successful publications, Waters' historical novel, River Lady has been produced as a film (Universal International.) Articles by Waters have appeared in numerous periodicals and publications. Foreign translations are in languages including French and German. Frank Waters died in New Mexico on June 3,1995 at the age of 92.


295 items (4 boxes, 1 folder) : 294 photographic prints, 1 poster

Language of Materials



Portraits of Frank Waters, his family, friends and home; as well as prints of Native Americans, landscapes, and ruins.

Physical Location

B2. Shelved by Pictorial Number. Oversize box shelved in Big Box location by Pictorial Number.

Separated Material

Photographs separated from the Frank Waters Papers.

Processing Information

The material in box 3 and the oversize poster are an addition to the original collection.

Small addition processed March 2016.
Finding Aid of the Frank Waters Pictorial Collection, 1870-2002
Pictorial Collections Staff
© 2007, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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 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