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Bell Ranch Photograph Collection

Identifier: PICT-989-002

Scope and Content

This collection contains photographs and postcards by Douglas Kent Hall relating to the history of the Bell Ranch. It includes portraits of Arthur J. Tisdall & Mrs. Arthur J. Tisdall (Francis Harriott), a panoramic reproduction of Bell Ranch, and postcards of ranch employees, Jason Eicke and Floyd Sanders.

This is an artificial collection created by the Center for Southwest Research. It includes photographs, postcards, and negatives previously numbered 989-016-0001, 989-030-0001-0003, and 990-003-0001 to 990-003-0006.


  • 1896, 1984

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.


The Bell Ranch was a ranch of more than 700,000 acres located in eastern San Miguel County about 50 miles northwest of Tucumcari, New Mexico. It was originally two Mexican land grants, the Baca Location No. 2 and the Pablo Montoya Grant of 1824. After the war with Mexico in 1846-1847, the Pablo Montoya heirs applied for confirmation of their grant. John S. Watts who led the confirmation process took a large part of the grant as his legal fee; he also acquired the adjoining Baca Location No. 2. Watts later sold a major part of this property to Wilson Waddingham. Arthur J. Tisdall and Charles M. O'Donel were general managers of the Bell Ranch in the late 1800's. By 1885, Waddingham and his ranch manager, Michael Slattery were running large herds of cattle on the range with little regard to sustainability of the land. By 1893, overstocking and grazing of stock from other ranches combined with drought to leave the range severely overgrazed. Waddingham had to sell the land due to financial problems.

In 1898, E.G. Stoddard, president of the New Haven Bank, founded the Red River Valley Company to buy the Bell Ranch. From then until 1946 this company, headed first by Stoddard and after 1923, by Julius G. Day, survived the ups and downs of the cattle markets of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1932, Bell Ranch manager Charles O'Donel retired, but stayed on as vice president of the Red River Valley Company. Philip C. Garrett replaced him as ranch manager. Garrett's tenure was short. He was succeeded by Albert K. Mitchell, who managed the Bell Ranch from January 1, 1933, until the Red River Valley Company sold it in 1947. The Bell Ranch was broken up into seven smaller ranches. Mrs. Harriet E. Keeney bought the headquarters unit consisting of 130, 855 acres and acquired the rights to the Bell brand. She asked George F. Ellis to manage the "Old Bell Headquarters" unit which he did until 1970.


uncounted items (1 folder) : uncounted photographs

Language of Materials



This collection contains photographs relating to the history of the Bell Ranch.

Physical Location

B2. Small Collections box 7. Filed by Pictorial Number.

Related Archival Material

Felipe Chaves Pictorial Collection , Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. George F. Ellis Pictorial Collection , Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Red River Valley Company Photograph Collection , Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Processing Information

This collection was assembled by the Center for Southwest Research.
Finding Aid of the Bell Ranch Photograph Collection, 1896, 1984
Edited Full Draft
Pictorial Collections Staff
© 2007
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