George P. Thresher Negative Collection of the Southwest: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Michelle Sanchez.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2013
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: George P. Thresher Negative Collection of the Southwest
Dates (inclusive): approximately 1898-1910
Collection Number: photCL 449
Creator: Thresher, G. P. (George P.)
Extent: 408 photographs in 8 boxes : 83 glass plate negatives and 129 film negatives in 7 boxes; 8 lantern slides and 188 copy prints made from the original negatives in 1 box.
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Email: reference@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
Abstract: A collection of glass plate and film negatives by amateur photographer and Los Angeles real estate broker George P. Thresher (1854-1927) focusing on the American Southwest and Native Americans of the region, particularly of Arizona, and the Gila River crossing area, from ca. 1898 to 1910. Tribes depicted include Yuma, Apache, Navajo, Maricopa, Pima, and Papago (Tohono O’Odham). There are views of native peoples in their daily lives, as well as posing in studio portraits. There are also landscape and town views, including Phoenix, Arizona, Santa Fe, New Mexico, missions at San Antonio, Texas, and the Salt Lake Temple in Utah.
Language: English.

Access

Advance arrangements for viewing negatives must be made with the Curator of Photographs. The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

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

George P. Thresher Negative Collection of the Southwest. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

Purchased from Alta California Books, February 24, 1978.

Biographical Note

George P. Thresher was born on September 11, 1854, in Massachusetts and immigrated to California in 1895. Described variously as an amateur photographer and real estate developer, he lived in Los Angeles until his death in 1927 at the age of seventy-two. Between 1904 and 1926, Thresher appears in the Los Angeles business directories, often listed as a real estate broker with office addresses on either the 200 or 300 block of Broadway. At various points in his career, he served as the Director of the Artesian Company of Los Angeles and the Vice President of the Los Angeles Building Company. He married Florence Evans Stone in 1878 and they had three daughters together. From 1905 until his death, he resided at 37 Westmoreland Place in Los Angeles.
Thresher took up photography at some point in his life, concentrating his efforts on California and the Southwest. A few of his photographs depicting missions and similar subjects appear in books by noted lecturer, author, and promoter, George Wharton James. James credited images to Thresher in The Old Franciscan Missions of California (1913), In and Out of the Missions of California (1906), and Through Ramona’s Country (1909). Thresher eventually sold his negatives to Charles C. Pierce, the proprietor of a large photographic supply business and studio as well as the largest picture library in Los Angeles. Once Pierce purchased a photographer’s images, he rarely credited the creator, stamping his own name on the print instead. This practice may explain some of the confusion surrounding attribution of Thresher’s prints, which are variously credited to Pierce and George Wharton James. Adding to the confusion, some of Thresher’s negatives in the Huntington collection appear to be copies of images by other photographers of the period.
NOTE ON SOURCES:
  • Information drawn from County of Los Angeles death certificate and “Western History-Material” document at the Los Angeles Public Library. Copies of both documents are in the collection file.
  • Letter from C.C. Pierce to Leslie E. Bliss, Librarian at the Huntington, November 16, 1933. See C.C. Pierce Collection File (photCL Pierce), Photo Archives. See also the C.C. Pierce Collection finding aid  for more information on Pierce and his business.

Scope and Content of Collection

A collection of glass plate and film negatives by amateur photographer and Los Angeles real estate broker George P. Thresher (1854-1927) focusing on the American Southwest and Native Americans of the region, particularly of Arizona, and the Gila River crossing area, from ca. 1898 to 1910. The majority of the Thresher Collection contains images of towns and sites in Arizona, including Phoenix, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Montezuma Castle, Peach Springs, and adobe ruins. Photographs of Texas are well represented in the collection, including many views of Missions San Concepcion, San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo), San Francisco de la Espada, and Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo. There are also images of Colorado (Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, and Castle Rock), New Mexico (Santa Fe, Tesuque, and possibly Laguna), and unidentified pueblos. Notable portraits from California are of Victoriano, chief of the Soboba Indians, and his unnamed third wife. There is a separate and very interesting sequence of images depicting the Mount Beauty Mine and its operations in San Diego County, California.
A small assortment of lantern slides is at the end of the collection showing Indians of Arizona, California, and New Mexico (191-198). There are no copy prints for the following negatives: (16), (23.1), (33), (40.1), (45.1), (63), (80.1), (96), (111), (120-122), (131), (136-137), and (157).
It appears that the Thresher images at the Huntington are a sub-section of a larger collection that the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, purchased in 1978. The Thresher photographs at the Bancroft depict the California Missions and various scenes in Los Angeles and California generally from 1899 through 1916. See William Roberts, “California Views of George P. Thresher,” in Bancroftiana (November 1981), pp. 3-4.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  
Adobe houses -- Photographs.
Apache Indians -- Photographs.
Hopi Indians -- Photographs.
Indians of North America—Funeral customs and rites -- Photographs.
Indians of North America—Southwest, New -- Photographs.
Luiseño Indians -- Photographs.
Maricopa Indians -- Photographs.
Mines and mineral resources--California--San Diego County -- Photographs.
Mission San Antonio de Valero -- Photographs.
Mission Concepción (San Antonio, Tex.) -- Photographs.
Mission San Francisco de la Espada (San Antonio, Tex.) -- Photographs.
Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo (San Antonio, Tex.) -- Photographs.
Mission San Xavier del Bac (Tucson, Ariz.) -- Photographs.
Missions, Spanish -- Photographs.
Montezuma Castle (Ariz.) -- Photographs.
Navajo Indians -- Photographs.
Salt Lake Temple -- Photographs.
Sihasapa Indians -- Photographs.
Tohono O’Odham Indians -- Photographs.
Ute Indians -- Photographs.
Wickiups -- Photographs.
Yuma Indians -- Photographs.
Buckskin Charlie, Ute chief -- Photographs.
Casa Grande (Ariz.) -- Photographs.
Castle Rock (Colo.) -- Photographs.
Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, Colo.) -- Photographs.
Gila River (N.M. and Ariz.) -- Photographs.
Las Vegas Hot Springs (N.M.) -- Photographs.
Peach Springs (Ariz.) -- Photographs.
Phoenix (Ariz.) -- Photographs.
Pike’s Peak (Colo.) -- Photographs.
Pueblo of Laguna (N.M.) -- Photographs.
Salt Lake City (Utah) -- Photographs.
Santa Fe (N.M.) -- Photographs.
Tesuque Pueblo (N.M.) -- Photographs.
Film negatives.
Glass negatives.
Lantern Slides.
Negatives.
Photographs.
Portraits.


Collection Contents

Box 1

Copy prints (Items 1-190)

 

Arizona

 

Phoenix

Box 1, Item 1

Woman and child outside residence.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 2

Street scene with Mexican children playing.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 3

Cave opening in cliff. Graffiti?

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 4 - 5 (variant)

"Turk on horseback."

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 6

Horse and rider.

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 7

Arizona Falls on Salt River, near Phoenix.

Note

Glass plate negative
 

Flagstaff area

Box 1, Item 8-8.1

First relay station between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon.

Note

(8) Glass plate negative; a cropped version of (8.1) negative.
Box 1, Item 9

Dinner station halfway to Grand Canyon.

Note

Negative
 

Garden of the Gods [Actually located in Colorado, not Arizona]

Box 1, Item 10

Entrance to the Garden of the Gods.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 11-13

Balance Rock.

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 14

"Mother Grundy" (rock formation).

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 15-20

Mission San Xavier del Bac.

Note

(16) glass plate negative, no print; (17) glass plate negative.
Box 1, Item 21-23.1

Montezuma Castle.

Note

Glass plate negatives; same image.
Box 1, Item 24-26

Indians at Peach Springs.

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 27

Indians at Yuma Station, 1908.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 28

Hotel.

Note

Negative.
 

Gila River Crossing

Box 1, Item 27

Cooking shelter.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 28

Village with granary.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 29

Woman with metate.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 30

Woman winnowing grain.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 31

Wickiups.

Note

Glass plate negative; no print.
Box 1, Item 32

Wickiup.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 33

Granary.

Note

Glass plate negative and negative.
Box 1, Item 34

Woman carrying pot on head.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 37-37.2

Family outside adobe structure.

Note

Glass plate negatives (37.1-37.2 are variants)
Box 1, Item 38

Family outside adobe structure. Woman with metate.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 39

Brush structure.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 40

Adobe structure; wagons under shed roof.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 40.1

Adobe structure; wagons under shed roof.

Note

Negative, no print; same image as (40).
Box 1, Item 41

Irrigation ditch.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 42

Cactus and mesquite near Gila River.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 43

Cactus with arrows.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 44

Mother and child.

Note

Glass plate negative and 2 positives (glass and film)
Box 1, Item 45

Mother with child on back.

Note

Negative and positive
Box 1, Item 45.1

Mother with child on back. Slight variation in pose.

Note

Negative and glass positive, no print
Box 1, Item 46

Woman with pot on head. Copyright 1901.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 47

Cooking shelter. Copyright 1900.

Note

Negative and positive
Box 1, Item 48

Winnowing grain.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 49

Weaving basket [Pima].

Note

Glass plate negative and film.
Box 1, Item 50

Woman carrying large pot.

Note

Glass plate negative and film.
Box 1, Item 51-53

Papago woman making pot.

Note

(51) and (53) glass plate negative; (52) film negative.
 

Native Americans identified by tribe

Box 1, Item 54

Apache chief. (Used as illustration in Arizona Illustrated).

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 55

Hopi woman (with basket, pot, corn).

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 56

Navajo man (blanket in background).

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 57

Maricopa woman ("Slippery Kate").

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 58

Papago woman.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 59

Papago man and oven.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 6

Yuma chief, with bow and arrows.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 61

Yuma man.

Note

Glass plate negative (color added)
Box 1, Item 62

Two Yuma women.

Note

Glass plate negative
 

Native Americans not identified by tribe

Box 1, Item 63

Family inside dwelling, 1899. (Metate, basket, buckets).

Note

Glass plate negative, no print
Box 1, Item 64

Blind woman.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 65

Woman, two men (one with rifle) outside wickiup.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 66

Woman holding bow and arrows and with child in carrying basket.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 67

Two women potters.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 68

Family by wickiup at Leemore [Lemmon?].

Note

Positive
Box 1, Item 69

Family at Leemore (?) just returned from funeral.

Note

Positive
Box 1, Item 70

Men and scoop-shaped basket.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 71

Man with staff.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 72

Woman weaving.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 73

"Juan, the Indian wood carrier."

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 74

Hopi (?) man in doorway, with his feet on ladder.

Note

Glass plate negative
 

Miscellaneous

Box 1, Item 75

[Ramada].

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 76

Wickiups.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 77

"Old time Indian method of burying dead: a custom now obsolete."

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 78

Baskets. (Pima?)

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 79

[Mexican] family outside adobe. One of the women is making tortillas.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 80

[Mexican] family outside adobe.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 80.1

[Mexican] family outside adobe.

Note

Variant of (80), no print.
Box 1, Item 81

[Mexican] family outside adobe.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 82

Front of Doña Martina's house.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 83

Desert landscape with adobe houses on dirt road.

Note

Box 1, Item 84

Adobe ruins, "Banditti." [Arizona?]

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 85

Adobe residences. [Arizona?]

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 86

River landscape. [Arizona?]

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 86.1

Rock face with cave openings. [Arizona?]

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 86.2

Rock face with rock structure built against it. [Arizona?]

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 86.3

Desert landscape with animal carcasses. [Arizona?]

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 86.4

Burro outside log structure. [Arizona?]

Note

No negative
 

California

Box 1, Item 87

"Victoriano, Chief of the Soboba Indians (136 years old)."

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 88

Captain Victoriano.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 89

Victoriano's third wife (107 years old).

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 90

Native American woman (California?) inside brush hut.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 91

Luiseño basket maker, Soboba.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 92

Luiseños, San Luis Rey.

Note

Glass plate negative. For photographs of mines in San Diego County, see 162-179.
 

Colorado

Box 1, Item 93

Typical Denver homes.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 94

Castle Rock.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 95

Pike's Peak Railroad: engine and car at Manitou.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 96

Railroad station, Pike's Peak (rear view).

Note

Negative, no print.
Box 1, Item 97

Railroad station, Pike's Peak (front view).

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 98

Government building, Pike's Peak.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 99

Granite Canyon.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 100

Seven Falls and view of Cheyenne Canyon.

Note

Glass plate negative. [Scene doesn't seem to match title.]
Box 1, Item 101

Prospect Dome, Cheyenne Falls.

Note

Glass plate negative. [Scene doesn't seem to match title.]
Box 1, Item 102

"Buckskin Charley and band of Ute Indians."

Note

Glass plate negative
 

Idaho

Box 1, Item 103-105

Wickiups, Bannock Reservation.

Note

Negatives
 

[Montana]

Box 1, Item 105.1

"Indian camp. Blackfeet, Piegans, Saree, and Bloods.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 105.2

“Near Gleiohan, B. C." [Missing]

 

Nevada

Box 1, Item 106-109

Las Vegas.

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 110

Las Vegas, Hot Springs.

Note

Negative. [Note: Research has shown that (#110) Las Vegas Hot Springs are actually located in New Mexico]
 

New Mexico

Box 1, Item 111

Sante Fe.

Note

Negative, no print
Box 1, Item 112-114

Santa Fe.

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 115

Beggar, Sante Fe.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 116

Beehive oven, Santa Fe.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 117

Schoolhouse and school children, Sante Fe.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 118

Schoolroom, Sante Fe.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 119

Government building, Sante Fe.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 119.1

Street scene. Men on burros. Wall posters for opera (The Rose) and Seligman Bros., Santa Fe., General Merchandise.

Note

No negative
Box 1, Item 120-121

Hot Springs basket maker.

Note

Positives, no prints
Box 1, Item 122

Hot Springs washing place.

Note

Positive, no print
 

Pueblos

Box 1, Item 123

Laguna (?).

Note

Negative. (Same view identified on another neg envelope as Isleta.)
Box 1, Item 124

Laguna (?).

Note

Glass plate negative; identified on negative envelope as Isleta, but same view as (123).
Box 1, Item 125

Laguna.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 126

Brush structure, Tesuque.

Note

Positive
Box 1, Item 127-130

Tesuque.

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 131

Tesuque.

Note

Negative, no print
Box 1, Item 132

Church, Tesuque.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 133

Unidentified pueblo.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 134

Unidentified pueblo.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 135

Unidentified pueblo.

Note

Glass plate negative
 

Texas

Box 1, Item 136

El Paso. Plaza in winter.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 137

El Paso. Plaza in winter.

Note

Positive. Same image as (136)
Box 1, Item 138

Houston. Open air restaurant.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 139

San Antonio. Entrance to the Alamo.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 140

San Antonio. The Alamo.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 141

San Antonio. The Alamo and two freight wagons.

Note

Negative and positive
 

Missions

Box 1, Item 142

La Purísima Concepción de Acuña. [Founded 1716, established in San Antonio 1731.]

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 143

San Francisco de la Espada, SW corner. "Built 1731." (Ruins).

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 144

San Francisco de la Espada, NW corner. (Ruins).

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 145

Mission San Francisco de la Espada.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 146

San Francisco de la Espada. "3rd mission."

Note

Ngative
Box 1, Item 147-148

Granary, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 149

Main doorway, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 150

Window, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 151

Chapel door, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 152

Undercroft?, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 153-154

Front façade, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Note

Negatives
Box 1, Item 155

Side view, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 156

Ruined arches (San José?).

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 157

Bullfight montage.

Note

Glass plate negative, no print
 

Utah

Box 1, Item 158

Salt Lake City. Mormon Temple.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 159

Salt Lake City. Mormon Temple Annex.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 160

Salt Lake City. Outside Mormon Tabernacle.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 161

Ogden. Washington Avenue.

Note

Negative
 

Mount Beauty Mine (San Diego County, California)

Box 1, Item 162

Chihuahua Valley, looking south.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 163

Mount Beauty trip. From top of Chihuahua Mountain showing Warner's Ranch and Chihuahua Valley.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 164

President's office.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 165

Secretary's office.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 166

Mining camp.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 167

Croppings, looking north.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 168

Croppings, looking south.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 169

Two tunnels and two dumps.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 170

Tunnel One and Tunnel Two.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 171

Tunnel One, or upper tunnel.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 172

Tunnel entrance, dump, and ore.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 173

Tunnel and men at work (lower tunnel #2).

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 174

Tunnel, long range.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 175

Main draw, looking north.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 176

"Our abundant water supply."

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 177

Mill site.

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 178

June Bug Tunnel and outcroppings. (Mount Beauty Mine?).

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 179

June Bug Tunnel. (Mount Beauty Mine?)

Note

Glass plate negative
 

Unidentified scenes

Box 1, Item 180-181

Industrial activity (mining?)

Note

Glass plate negative
Box 1, Item 182-183

Hillside houses.

Note

Glass plate negative. Note on (183): "Don't print from this."
Box 1, Item 184

Railroad tracks.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 185

Man with 2 burros.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 186

25th Street showing Reed Hotel and Public Library. [Also shows Adams Bros. photographers.] Flag at half mast.

Note

Negative; print is backwards
Box 1, Item 187

Street scene with French Hotel.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 188

Saloon.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 189

Cemetery.

Note

Negative
Box 1, Item 190

Building in rocky landscape. "CH" painted on one slab.

Note

No negative
Box 1

Lantern slides (Items 191-198)

 

Arizona

Box 1, Item 191

Blind woman.

Note

Same as (64)
Box 1, Item 192

Blind woman.

Box 1, Item 193-194

Brush structures.

 

California

Box 1, Item 195

Woman in brush hut.

Note

Same as (90)
Box 1, Item 196

Three Luiseños, San Luis Rey.

Note

Same as (92)
 

New Mexico

Box 1, Item 197-198

Hot Springs basket maker.

Note

Same as (120-121)
 

Negatives

Access Information

Advance arrangements for viewing negatives must be made with the Curator of Photographs.
Neg. Box 1

Negatives 1-31

Neg. Box 2

Negatives 32-50

Neg. Box 3

Negatives 51-80

Neg. Box 4

Negatives 81-110

Neg. Box 5

Negatives 111-145

Neg. Box 6

Negatives 146-176

Neg. Box 7

Negatives 177-189