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Appleton Family Papers

Identifier: MSS-531-BC

Scope and Content

The Appleton family papers are dominated by materials relating to the diverse dual careers of Norman Appleton, artist-scientist. The collection is roughly twofold, documenting Norman Appleton and his first wife Carolyn Ten Eyck Appleton (1902-1948) and their careers, which span from the late 20's to her death in 1948. The collection contains research, manuscripts and correspondence, demonstrating the polemics of entomology and the high degree of sophistication and tenacity entomologists practice. Contained within his personal correspondence and entomological research are Norman Appeltons illustrations and photographs of the Rocky Mountain Tent Caterpillar and its New Mexico environment.

In 1943 Mr. Appleton turned to painting under the tutelage of his wife Carolyn. The bulk of his painting was birds, flowers, and portraits. Original negatives of a vast array of Norman Appleton's and Carolyn Ten Eyck Appleton's portfolios of portraits of well known New Mexicans and others are extensive. Artistic treatment of rather esoteric subjects such as hand painted floral patterns intended for blouses and a series of water wells of New Mexico demonstrate Carolyn's interest in drawing as pre-studies for painted New Mexican landscapes. An extensive portfolio of water color landscapes and portraits illustrates how prolific the Appletons were in only a few short years.

Carolyn Appleton's career is well represented within this collection as well. There is no obvious iconographic influence of the couple on each other. They collaborated on two major portraits, one of Archbishop Byrne and a second titled, "Jesus, Son of Man. The former has since been lithographed in full color and sold throughout the United States. It appears that Carolyn Appleton was not able to secure profitable publishing rights for her childrens literature manuscripts. The Cocky Cactus, is only one of a series of four fully illustrated manuscripts. The manuscripts and a series of Travel-Trix cut-out paper dolls were never published. Photographs within the collection were not removed in order to keep the original continuity within the context of the manuscripts. It should be noted that the scrapbooks of clippings were compiled in the 1920's through the 1940's before Carolyn died. The collection reflects the complexities with which the Appletons lived in the dual worlds of science and art.


  • 1920-1972

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Norman Appleton, artist, scientist, and photographer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 22, 1899. He attended Temple University and went on to graduate cum laude from Bucknell University. In 1923, he accepted a position as acting Professor of Zoology at Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio. Due to the onset of tuberculosis, he moved to New Mexico where in 1926, he married Carolyn Ten Eyck. Together, they started the Aspen Ranch School for Boys in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The depression forced the school to close and Mr. Appleton turned to music, organizing the first Civic Symphony in New Mexico and founding the first Community Concert Association in Santa Fe.

It was during the 1930s that Norman Appleton did extensive research for the W.P.A., on parasites of the Rocky Mountain Tent Caterpillar which was devastating the aspen forests of New Mexico. His research has been recognized as a key contribution to the ecological control of harmful insects.

In 1943 Mr. Appleton turned to painting under the tutelage of his wife, Carolyn. The bulk of his work consisted of bird and flower paintings, and portraits. It was at this time that Norman Appleton's interest in photography increased and his photographic work became award winning. Appleton was honored by Bucknell University in 1973 with the Alumni Award for "meritorious achievement." He died in 1974.

Carolyn Ten Eyck Appleton, artist and writer, was born in La Junta, Colorado in 1902. She moved to New Mexico when her father was appointed vice-president and general manager of the New Mexico Railroad in 1918. After graduating from Santa Fe High School in 1920, she studied art with Gerald Cassidy. The pursuit of her favorite subject took her to the New Mexico Normal School, Ferry Hall, and the University of Wisconsin. In 1925, she graduated from the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. During the next decade, Carolyn Ten Eyck Appleton produced a number of portraits, including those of prominent Santa Feans such as: Archbishop Edwin V. Byrne, Francis Wilson, and Judge David Chavez. Mrs. Appleton became an authority on Indian costumes and design and was consulted by Allan True who had been commissioned to decorate the interior of the Bolder dam. She produced a number of fine paper cut-outs of the Indians of the Southwest for children, and worked as the creator and illustrator of the "Cocky Cactus." Carolyn Appleton was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Order of Eastern Star and Altrusa International. She died on November 22, 1948.


5 boxes (3.6 cu. ft.)

Processing Information

Inquire with reference staff for access to unprocessed additions (July 2016, Jan. 2017, Aug. 2017), 5 boxes, B3-11A.
Finding Aid of the Appleton Family Papers, 1920-1972
Processed by CSWR staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 531 BC::Appleton Family papers)//EN" "nmu1mss531bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

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