Earle Forrest Photographs of Hopi Indians

Huntington Library. Photo Archives
Huntington Library. Photo Archives
Photograph Collections, 1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
(626) 405-2129

Descriptive Summary

Title: Earle Forrest Photographs of Hopi Indians
Dates: 1906-1908
Collection Number: photCL 126
Creator/Collector: Forrest, Earle R. (Earle Robert), 1883-1969
Extent: 77 prints and 1 copy negative in 1 box; prints 9 x 14.5 cm. (3.5 x 6 in.). See itemized list under "Additional collection guides."
Repository: Huntington Library. Photo Archives
San Marino, California 91108
Abstract: This is a group of photographs documenting the dances and rituals of Hopi Native Americans in Arizona. The majority are of the Snake Dance and Blue Flute Dance ceremonies, but there are also candid views of people in their everyday lives, as well as sacred places and objects. The prints are relatively small, on thin paper, and have extensive typed captions by Earle Forrest on the back.
Language of Material: English


Access is granted to qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact the Curator of Photographs at the Huntington Library.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Photographs. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Preferred Citation

Earle Forrest Photographs of Hopi Indians. Huntington Library. Photo Archives

Acquisition Information

Given by Earle R. Forrest on March 8, 1962.

Biography/Administrative History

Earle Robert Forrest was born on June 20, 1883 in Washington, Pennsylvania. After graduating from high school, he took three years off from studying and spent some of that time at his uncle’s farm in Missouri; his encounter with cowboys there instilled in Forrest a desire to travel to the western United States. From 1902 to 1907, Forrest spent his summers and autumns working on various cow camps and ranches throughout the western United States, including Montana, California, and Arizona. In 1906, he had the opportunity to witness the Hopi Snake Dance at Oraibi, Arizona, which he photographed. In the summer of 1907, while working in Flagstaff, Forrest was told by his manager to take an artist, Louis Akin, and go to the Hopi Snake Dance at Mishongnovi. The two men did go to the Snake Dance and also attended a Flute Ceremony at Oraibi; during these travels, Forrest took hundreds of pictures of the Hopi people, their villages, and their rain dance ceremonies. Forrest broke away from ranch work in 1914, when he took a temporary job with the newspaper the Washington Record. Even though the paper folded six years later, Forrest moved on to work for the Washington Reporter, where he specialized in writing daily columns of historical topics until he retired in 1960. Forrest became a well-known contributor to travel and outdoor life magazines, as well as a writer of local Pennsylvania history. Forrest passed away at the age of 86 on August 25, 1969 in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Scope and Content of Collection

The photographs in this collection depict Hopi natives and their families; the Hopi villages of Oraibi and Mishongnovi; the Snake Dance; the Antelope Dance; the Blue Flute Ceremony; the race before the Snake Dance; initiation ceremonies into the Snake Society; kivas; the altar of the Blue Flute Society; preparations for the Blue Flute Ceremony; and crypts (in which smallpox victims were burned) being used as a storage area. There are also photographs of Earle R. Forrest traveling through Arizona and Louis Akin observing the Snake Dance ceremony. A photograph of an amphitheater in Wupatki National Monument and a photograph of a stone serpent head at a temple of Quetzalcoatl in San Juan Teotihuacán, Mexico are included. It appears from the photo captions that Forrest placed these photos in the collection to help explain the origins of the Hopi Snake Dance.

Indexing Terms

Hopi Indians
Rites and ceremonies—Arizona—Hopi Indian Reservation
Snake dance
Indians of North America--Arizona
Akin, Louis, 1868-1913
Forrest, Earle R. (Earle Robert), 1883-1969
Oraibi (Ariz.)
Second Mesa (Ariz. : Mesa)

Additional collection guides