Carl Moon Photographs of Indians of the Southwest and Oklahoma

Finding aid prepared by Suzanne Oatey.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
© 2014
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Overview of the Collection

Title: Carl Moon Photographs of Indians of the Southwest and Oklahoma, 1904-1917
Dates: 1904-1917
Collection Number: photCL 313
Creator: Moon, Carl, 1878-1948.
Extent: 293 photographs in 17 oversize portfolio boxes: prints (approx. 13 x 16 inches) on oversize mounts (approx. 22 x 26 inches). Also includes a typescript index by Carl Moon and 1 box of ephemera and newspaper clippings.
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Abstract: This collection of photographs by photographer Carl Moon documents Native Americans living in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma between 1904 and 1917. The primary tribes represented are Hopi, Navajo and Taos Pueblo Indians, but there are also Osage, Apache and several other Southwestern tribes. There are many portraits, as well as posed, romantic scenes depicting storytelling, hunting, weaving, or playing instruments. Additional candid views show people in their daily activities, pueblos, and dance ceremonies.
Language of Material: The records are in English.


Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Carl Moon Photographs of Indians of the Southwest and Oklahoma. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


Purchased by Henry E. Huntington from Carl Moon, 1923.

Biographical Note

Carl E. Moon (originally spelled Karl) was born in Wilmington, Ohio in 1878. After graduation from high school, he served two years with the Ohio National Guard before apprenticing with various photographers in Ohio, West Virginia and Texas. He moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1903, where he set up a photography studio and began making "art studies" of the Native Americans of the Southwest, both in photographs and in oil paintings, sometimes living for weeks at a time in Navajo villages. From 1905-1906, Moon had a short-lived partnership in Albuquerque with businessman Thomas F. Keleher, called the Moon-Keleher Studio. After the partnership dissolved, Moon continued working, photographing carefully selected Indian "subjects" in a romantic, posed style. His photographs began appearing in magazines and he exhibited at the Museum of Natural History in New York. President Theodore Roosevelt invited Moon to exhibit his Native American photographs at the White House.
In 1907, Moon signed a contract with the Fred Harvey Company to produce photographs for what would be the Fred Harvey Collection of Southwest Indian Pictures. Beginning in 1911, he operated out of El Tovar Studio in the Grand Canyon. While employed by the Fred Harvey Co., he also worked as a photographer for the Santa Fe Railroad. For seven years, from 1907 to 1914, Moon photographed the native people of the Southwest, in his studio and in their villages. His images appeared (often uncredited) in brochures and publications for both companies.
Moon resigned from Fred Harvey Co. in 1914, and he and his second wife, Grace Purdie Moon, moved to Pasadena, California, where he continued to work as a photographer and painter. In 1923, Henry E. Huntington purchased from Moon 293 large, mounted photographic prints and 12 oil paintings (12 more paintings were purchased in 1925). This remains the largest and most complete collection of Carl Moon's work extant.
In 1924, Moon began work on "Indians of the Southwest," a set of 100 of his finest prints. Published in 1936, only ten copies were ever produced. With his wife Grace, he also wrote and illustrated many children's books about the Indians of the Southwest. Moon died in 1948, in San Francisco, at the home of his daughter.

Scope and Content

This collection of photographs by photographer Carl Moon documents Native Americans living in Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma between 1904 and 1917. In a letter to Henry Huntington, Feb. 12, 1923, Moon describes these photographs as "a complete collection of my Indian pictures made from the beginning of my work in 1904 to 1917. It includes … the pick of the Fred Harvey collection that I made for them during the period of my contract with them, 1907 to 1914, and my own collection made since the latter date."
Moon mostly traveled by himself, and spent time getting to know his subjects before photographing them. He seems to have made a series of shots of his subjects, sometimes with different attire or props, and sometimes assigning different titles to the photographs (see images 214, 225, 235, for example).
Besides the portraits, there are scenes of Indians in their daily activities, including baking bread in outdoor ovens, gathering water in pots, riding horses and tending livestock. There are also views of the Hopi Snake Dance, and the Corn Dance at Santo Domingo.
Almost all of the photographs are signed "Karl Moon" – his name until 1918, when he changed the spelling to Carl. Many of the prints are also stamped "copyright Fred Harvey" which indicates they were made while Moon was under contract there, 1907-1914. Moon also copyrighted many of his own works, and a dated copyright stamp is embossed in the prints. The copyright date does not always indicate the year the photograph was made – it could be several years later (see image 214, for example).
Other items in collection
Box 18:
- Typescript introduction and index to the photographs, titled "A Brief Account of the Making of this Collection of Indian Pictures," by Carl Moon, 1924, 54 pp.
- Newspaper clippings related to Moon, 1904-1936 (bulk 1911-1923).
- Exhibition brochure for artist Thomas Moran, mentioning "Karl Moon," 1916.


Sources consulted:
Driebe, Tom. In Search of the Wild Indian: Photographs and Life Works by Carl and Grace Moon.Moscow, Pa.: Maurose Publishing Co., 1997.
Faris, James C. Navajo and photography: a critical history of the representation of an American people.Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996.
Moon, Carl. "A Brief Account of the Making of this Collection of Indian Pictures," 1924. (Part of this collection), Huntington Library.

Alternative Form of Materials Available

Visit the Huntington Digital Library to view additional digitized images from the Native American Photographs Project.  

Related Collections:

- Copy Photographs from Carl Moon Negatives of Indians of the Southwest and Oklahoma, approximately 1903-1917 (photCL 195). This is a set of contact prints only; there are no negatives.
- Carl Moon Family photograph collection (photCL 484).
- Carl Moon's paintings. The Huntington Library has oil paintings by Carl Moon based on his photographs. Moon intended his paintings "to give the student of the future the true coloring of the Indian and his surroundings." Please contact Art Collections for additional information.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  


Moon, Carl, 1878-1948.
Nampeyo, approximately 1856-1942.


Acoma Indians -- Photographs.
Apache Indians -- Photographs.
Arapaho Indians -- Photographs.
Cheyenne Indians -- Photographs.
Cliff-dwellings--Arizona -- Photographs.
Havasupai Indians -- Photographs.
Hopi Indians -- Photographs.
Hopi Indians--Rites and ceremonies -- Photographs.
Indian baskets--Southwest, New -- Photographs.
Indians of North America--Southwest, New -- Photographs.
Indians of North America--Great Plains -- Photographs.
Isleta Indians -- Photographs.
Kivas -- Photographs.
Laguna Indians -- Photographs.
Looms -- Photographs.
Mission churches--New Mexico -- Photographs.
Navajo Indians -- Photographs.
Osage Indians -- Photographs.
Pueblo dance -- Photographs.
Pueblo pottery -- Photographs.
Pueblo Indians -- Photographs.
Pueblos--Arizona -- Photographs.
Pueblos—New Mexico -- Photographs.
Ruins -- Photographs.
Taos Indians -- Photographs.
Weaving -- Photographs.
Zuni Indians -- Photographs.


Arizona -- Photographs
New Mexico -- Photographs
Oklahoma -- Photographs
Acoma Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs
Chelly, Canyon de (Ariz.) -- Photographs
Cochiti (N.M.) -- Photographs
First Mesa (Ariz. : Mesa) -- Photographs
Isleta Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs
Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico -- Photographs
Nambe Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs
Oraibi (Ariz.) -- Photographs
Pueblo of San Ildefonso, New Mexico -- Photographs
Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico -- Photographs
San Felipe Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs
San Juan Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs
Santo Domingo Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs
Second Mesa (Ariz. : Mesa) -- Photographs
Taos Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs
Tesuque Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs
Walpi (Ariz.) -- Photographs
Zuni (N.M.) -- Photographs

Document types

Landscape photographs.

Additional item: Carl Moon's Introduction and Index



Physical Description: 293 photographs in 17 boxes


Titles transcribed from Moon's handwritten titles on photograph mounts. Go to digital image for further information about each photograph.
Box  1

Photographs 1-20


Edge of the Mesa. Hopi. Second Mesa.


Ancient Hopi Dwelling.


Tewa Trail. Hopi. First Mesa.


Hopi Wall stairs. First Mesa.


Snake Priest. Hopi. First Mesa.


Hopi Snake Priests. Ascending the Mesa.


Hopi Basket maker.


Ancient Building in Walpi. Hopi.


Trail to Hopi Burying Place. First Mesa.


Hopi Maiden. Village of Oraibi.


Snake Priest.


Hopi Mother. Village of Sipaulovi.


Cha-za of Walpi. Hopi.


Oraibi Mother and Child. Hopi.


Sichomovi Street Scene. Hopi.


Walpi Street Scene. Note weaver's loom on roof.


Hopi Women. Second Mesa.


Hopi Mother and Baby.


Edge of the Mesa. Painted Desert at left. Hopi.


Hopi Snake Dance.

Box  2

Photographs 21-40


The Path-finder. Arizona. Bad Lands.


Hopi Stairway. Village of Walpi.


Pool in the Desert.


Street Scene. Tewa. Hopi Village of Tewa.


Erosion Rock. Walpi. Showing Snake Kiva.


End of Snake Ceremony. Snake Priest drinking emetic after dance.


Snake Priest of Walpi. Hopi.


Walpi Home and Kiva. Hopi.


Oraibi Children. Hopi.


Plaza of Sipaulovi. Hopi.


Walpi Architecture. Hopi Girl on Ladder.


Hopi Mother and Child. Walpi.


Sipaulovi from housetops of Mishongnovi. Sipaulovi in the distance. Hopi.


Hopi Mirror. Pool near Walpi.


Hopi Maiden. Note mosaic ear ornament. Oraibi.


Snake Kiva of Walpi. Hopi.


Walpi. Hopi.


Nem-peyo [Nampeyo]. Famous Hopi Pottery Maker.


Chief men of the Snake Clan. First Mesa.


Walpi Snake Priests. Hopi.

Box  3

Photographs 41-60


Snake Dance at Sipaulovi. Hopi.


Snake Priest. Second Mesa.


Hopi Snake Priests. Prior to the Dance.


Snake Dance. Sipaulovi. Second Mesa. Hopi.


Last of His People.


Sipaulovi Street Scene.


Snake Dance. Sipaulovi. Second Mesa. Hopi.


Hopi Weaver. Men do all the weaving among the Hopis.


Hopi Architecture.


Walpi Tunnel. Hopi.


The Mesa Trail. Hopi. First Mesa.


Edge of the Desert. Hopi Land.


Coy-yah'-wamah. Hopi Snake Priest.


Coy-yah'-wamah. Hopi Snake Priest.


Antelope Kiva. Hopi.


Grinding Corn. Hopi.


Navaho Brigand.


Mountain Chant. Navajo boy singing ceremonial song.


Bi-yazh'. Navajo.

Box  4

Photographs 61-80


Hostin Nnāez or Nez. Navajo.


Going to the Dance. Navajo.


Chief Vicente. For many years Chief of Navajos.


Elle. Navajo.


Hos-tin Cli. Medicine Man. Navajo.


Navajo Mother and Baby.


Navajo Land.


Navajo Maid.


Navajo Patriarch.


Tso-ha'-che. Navajo.


Old Navajo Medicine-man. Sho-mai-ee.


Tom of Ganado. Navajo Man.


Nah-dez-pah. Navajo.


Shina'-li. Navajo.


Yaz'-yah. Navajo.


The Call. Naez. Navajo.


Haz-pah. Navajo.


Navajo Woman.


Navajo Boy. Che-bah-nah.


Hostin Naez. Navajo.

Box  5

Photographs 81-100


Tom of Ganado. Navajo.


Sah'-ne. Navajo.


Be'so-thlanie. Navaho Medicine-Man.


Meguelito. Navaho.


Navajo Maid.


Navaho Maid. Haz'-pah.


Navajo Shepherd Boy.


The Wolf. Ma'-itso. Navajo.


Tom of Ganado. Navajo.


Navajo Papoose.


Navajo Patriarch.


Navaho Weaver. Canyon de Chelly.


Evening. Navajo Land. At the edge of the Painted Desert.


Tso-ha'-chē. Navajo.


Navajo Silversmith.


Meguelito. Navajo.


Taos River.


Young Warrior of Taos.


Trysting Place. Note buckskin wedding dress.


The Warriors Return.

Box  6

Photographs 101-120


Cho-bah Aye'. Navajo.


Cho-bah Aye'. Navajo.


The Black Jar.


Taos Man. Antonio.


Taos Valley.


Taos Man. In Dance Costume.


Home from the Hunt. Taos.


Juan Marabal. Taos.


Clou'-toodle. Taos.


Canyon Lucero. Near Taos.


Venturo of Taos.


Cloutoodle. Taos.


American Arab. Clou-toodle of Taos.


Baking Bread. Taos.


Voice of the Stream. Taos.


The Scout. Taos Mountains.


Crucita. Taos.


War Captain of Taos.


Indian Hunter.

Box  7

Photographs 121-140


Light and Shadow. Taos Valley.


Indian Runner.


The Out-rider.


Taos Valley.


Taos Boy. Ben Lucero.


Jose Concho. Taos.


At the Ford. Taos.


Their First-born.


Jose Concho. Taos.


Jose Mandragoon. Taos.


Sage Country. Taos Valley.


The Peace-pipe.


Medicine man. Taos.


Primitive Art. Picture writing. Taos.


Their Rendezvous. Taos.


Awaiting the Signal. Taos Pueblo.


Maria of Taos. Note straight white boots.


Jose Marabel. Taos.


Beside the Trail.

Box  8

Photographs 141-160


The Story-teller. Taos.


Taos Youth.


Gray Hawk. Taos.


Indian Bride. Taos.


Ruin of first Mission at Taos.


North Pueblo of Taos.


Governor of Taos.


Lucretia Gomez.


Lucretia Gomez. Taos.


Taos Boy. Ben Lucero.


Cristiano. Taos.


The Flute Song. Taos.


The Medicine Drum.


The Corn Song. During corn festival at Taos.


Wild Flowers. Taos Girl.


The Love Song.


Indian Farmer. Taos Valley.


The Meeting Place. Border of New Mexico near Colorado line.

Box  9

Photographs 161-175


Gray Hawk. Taos.


Pueblo of Taos. Taos was formerly a walled town.


War Captain of Taos.


The Arrow-maker.


A Tale of the Tribe. Taos Story Teller.


The Hunter. Taos.


Indian Music. Taos.


On the way to the Spring.


Mending the Belt.


A Dancing Lesson. Taos.


Osage Woman. Osage.


Bro'-ga-hee-ge. Osage.


Little Wing. Osage.


Little Wing. Osage.


The Tribal Historian. Osage.

Box  10

Photographs 176-190


The Lookout. Taos.


Bro'-ga-hee-ge. Osage.


Son of Chief Lookout. Osage.


Left hand. Osage.


Wind cloud. Cheyenne.


Chief White-spoon. Arapaho.


Osage Patriarch.


Mu-she'-tamoie. Osage.


Chief Big horse. Cheyenne.


Mo-shē'-ta-moie. Osage.


Osage Maiden.


Bear legs. Osage.


Tah'-coomo-la. Havasupai.


Bear-legs. Osage.


Mrs. Big-heart. Osage.

Box  11

Photographs 191-205


Big Feather. Taos.


Big Feather. Taos.


Land of no Fences. Taos Mountains.


The Dreamer.


Zuni Water-carrier. Note footless stockings.


Up the Acoma Trail. Acoma.


Kee-yah'-ta-di. Laguna.


Sun Priest of Zuni.


Santo Domingo Corn Dance.


Santo Domingo Corn Dance.


Delight makers or Clowns. Santo Domingo Corn Dance.


San Juan Pottery-maker.


Village Drummer. Tesuque.


Isleta Woman. Juana Marie.


San Felipe Auto.

Box  12

Photographs 206-220


Pueblo of Laguna. Showing freshly plastered walls.


Corn Dance. Santo Domingo.


Pueblo of Santa Clara. Rio Grande in distance.


Santo Domingo Corn Dance. Showing Chanter, Drummer and Clown.


Estufa of Santo Domingo. Entrance at top where ladder is seen.


Beginning Corn Dance. Santo Domingo Plaza.


Santo Domingo Corn Dance.


Bah-chin-ili. San Felipe.


The Water-carrier. Early art subject.


Repairing the House walls. Note crude Indian scaffolding. San Juan.


San Juan at sunset.


Baking Bread at Isleta.


Santa Clara Mother.


Spirit of the Corn.


Santa Clara Woman.

Box  13

Photographs 221-235


San Juan Maiden.


Isleta Woman.


Pecheco. San Felipe.


Indian Bridge. Santa Clara.


The Chieftain's Daughter. Laguna.


Jose Naranjo. Santa Clara.


San Ildefonso Maiden.


Corner in San Ildefonso.


Cay-ēti. Santa Clara.


Indian Courtship. Santa Clara.


Lolita. Laguna.


Harvest dance at Acoma.


Terraced Houses. Acoma. Enchanted Mesa in distance.


Coma-ci'-ta. Laguna.

Box  14

Photographs 236-250


Two Hills. Governor of Santa Clara.


Laguna. Old end of the pueblo.


Chu-pa-ca. Santo Domingo.


Chu'-pa-ca. Santo Domingo.


San Ildefonso. Ancient section of village.


Last of their Tribe. Two last full bloods of Nambe.


House tops of Santa Clara.


Two Maids of San Juan.


Burning Pottery. Santa Clara.


Acoma Houses.


The Ladle of Acoma.


San Felipe Turquoise driller. From pueblo of San Felipe.


Enchanted Mesa. Near Pueblo of Acoma.


Pool at Santa Clara.


After the Storm, near Zuni. Mesa at left contains Zuni shrines and sacred altars.

Box  15

Photographs 251-266


Santa Clara Valley. Santa Clara woman with water jar.


Isleta Pottery Painter.


Pueblo of Laguna.


A Water Hole. Hopi women of First Mesa.


White-house Ruin. Canyon de Chelly.


Havasupai Sweat-house.


Havasupai Canyon. Near Havasupai village.


Havasupai Man.


Havasupai Girl.


Canyon de Chelly.


Rock. Havasupai.


Cliff Ruins. Canyon de Chelly.


Cliff Ruin. Canyon de Chelly.


Finishing the Basket. Taos.


Nara-kee'-ge-etsu. Jicarilla Apache.


Nara-kee'-ge-etsu. Jicarilla Apache. Scout under Kit Carson.

Box  16

Photographs 267-280


Apache Mother and Children.


Nearing the End of the Trail. White Mountain Apache.


Apache Man. White Mountain Apache.


The Half-breed. Apache and Mexican.


Apache Youth. White Mountain Apache.


Tile'-goot. Old Apache Scout.


Ulla-tiz'-neh. White Mountain Apache.


Apache Woman. White Mountain Apache.


Apache Mother and Baby.


Apache Maidens. White Mountain Reservation.


Apache Women. San Carlos.


Al-che-say'. Chief of the White Mountain Apaches.


Children of the Desert. Near Oraibi. Hopi.


San Juan Dooryard.

Box  17

Photographs 281-293


The Harvesters. Bringing in the corn, melons, and beans. Walpi.


South Pueblo of Taos. Showing part of ancient wall.


Ti-koya. Hopi of First Mesa.


Hopi Family Homeward bound. Bringing in the harvest.


Navajo Chicken pull. Naho'qai qaltqe.


Naho'-qai alĕ' or Navajo Chicken pull.


Chindi-tqa. (Place of the Dead.) Navajo.


Navajo Travelers.


Shi-dez'-hĕ. Navajo.


Cochiti Basket Dance. Beginning.


Cochiti Basket Dance. Middle of dance.


Cochiti Basket Dance. End of dance.


White-buffalo Dance. Cochiti Indians.

Box 18

Other Materials in Collection

Physical Description: 1 box Typescript introduction and index to the photographs titled "A Brief Account of the Making of this Collection of Indian Pictures," by Carl Moon, 1924; newspaper clippings related to Moon, 1904-1936 (bulk 1911-1923); 1916 exhibition brochure for artist Thomas Moran, mentioning "Karl Moon."