Travel, Exoticism, and the Writing of Region:
Charles Fletcher Lummis and the
"Creation" of the Southwest
A local magazine this is and always will be— but never a narrow
one. . . . Geographically, its area is California, New Mexico,
Arizona, and whatever further patches constitute the Southwest. In
that area there is probably a wider range and variety of subject-matter than in
all the rest of the Union together; besides which, this is exclusively the
romantic corner of the United States as well as the wonderland of the
continent. The tallest and noblest peaks in the United States, the deepest and
noblest chasms in the world, our finest (and our only) ruins, the strangest and
grandest scenery, the most remarkable geographic contrasts-all are in this
extraordinary area. So, too, is the latest and highest development of modern
civilization, the climax of human achievement to date, the most radical and
important experiment ever made by the race which Just now stands at the head of
—Charles Fletcher Lummis, "In the Lionq's Den."
Land of Sunshine 4:2 (January 1896), p. 89
On September 11, 1884, Charles Fletcher Lunu-nis embarked on a
self-styled "tramp across the continent" from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Los
Angeles, California. The trek ended on February 1, 1885, after 143 days
and 3,507 miles of walking. Planned as both a personal endurance trip
and a publicity stunt, the "tramp" was a deliberate attempt to step outside the
boundaries of Eastern society and engage in a frontier existence in the Southwest. It was also a sporting adventure, a masculinist athletic
trial, an escape from his home in malarial Ohio, a symbolic departure
from the realm of perceived decadence in the East, a chance to avoid
marital responsibility toward his first wife Dorothea, and, in practical
terms, the means of securing the city editor's position at the young Los
Angeles Times newspaper. En route Lummis sent two series of letters to
the Chillicothe Leader newspaper in Ohio and to the Los Angeles
Times. His letters to the Times later formed the basis for the book
A Tramp Across the Continent, published in 1892. Travel westward for
Lummis meant a deliberate move away from an East he perceived as economically
And morally corrupt, subject to race mongrelization, and scourged by a cruel
climate in which the full bodily and mental potential of the individual
could not be realized. Yet the enigma of southwestern travel was that
while it was a self-conscious departure away from the perceived threat of
immigration to Anglo-Saxon racial and cultural purity in the East, it was
a move into one of the most racially and ethnically diverse regions of
Fiction writer, poet, journal editor, historian of "Spanish" America,
explorer, archaeologist, ethnologist, folklorist, raconteur, and feisty
eccentric, Lummis was one of a generation of Anglo intellectuals who
became fascinated with the Southwest in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. A Harvard-educated Eastern transplant who came
to live most of his life in Los Angeles, he was hyperbolic, self-aggrandizing,
and relentlessly enthusiastic in his promotional writing. Between
1884, when he first "tramped" through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and
southern California, and his death in 1928, Lummis wrote voluminously about the
region's natural landscapes and its populations of American Indians and
Mexicanos.1 In the 1890s, when the bulk of his books on the
Southwest were published, and through to the end of his life in 1928, Lummis
was judged by his peers as one of the foremost writers on the
In brief, I am arguing that from the moment he entered the region
Lummis was actively engaged in mapping a new cultural geography of
the Southwest. Through highly romanticized commentaries on the region's
spectacular natural landscapes, archaeological and anthropological antiquities,
and "exotic" populations of American Indians and Mexicanos, Lummis transcribed
selected parts of the Southwest into the bodies of written texts. His
voluminous writings about New Mexico and Arizona stood alongside descriptive
travelogues of the Southwest by such writers as John C. Bourke, Ernest
Ingersoll, Susan Wallace, and George Wharton James.3 Indeed,
together with James, Lummis was probably the most enthusiastic promoter of the
Southwest in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Lummis's
interest in the cultural antiquity of the region echoed the ongoing pursuits of
pioneering archaeologists and anthropologists in the Southwest, foremost among
them Adolph Bandelier, Frank Hamilton Cushing, Jesse Walter Fewkes, Washington
Matthews, and James and Matilda Cox Stevenson. These individuals developed a
greater personal and professional familiarity with the Southwest, and in the
process of producing knowledge about the region's landscapes and peoples they
helped rationalize the hitherto unfamiliar cultural terrain of the region for
government, popular, and professional audiences.4 While there were
significant differences among the texts written on the Southwest by Wallace,
Lummis, and Cushing, collectively they contributed to the process whereby the
colonial frontier of the Southwest was claimed by intellectual authority and,
in tandem with social and economic activities, was transformed into a U.S.
Recent critics have noted that the incorporation of the conquered
territories of the Southwest into the U.S. in the aftermath of the Mexican-
American and Civil Wars proceeded along aesthetic as much as economic and
political lines.5 Writers of turn-of-the-century travelogues and
ethnological reports contributed to the process of cultural incorporation by
exoticizing the livelihoods of contemporary Pueblo Indians and Navajos and by
romantically conjecturing on the pre-Columbian past of the Southwest. In
representing dramatic natural landscapes such as the Grand Canyon, large-scale
archaeological antiquities such as Pueblo Bonito (in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico),
and the adobe-structured homes of Pueblo Indians, writers produced the
Southwest for popular and professional rederships.6 In the 1880s and
1890s, as travelers became attracted to the Southwest for the full exercise and
expression of their physical and creative energies, their voices joined with
regional boosters to rhetorically construct the region as a land of
enchantment. New Mexico and Arizona, in particular, were prized for the
varieties of authentic experience they afforded. Curtis Hinsicy argues that
late-nineteenth-century "aesthetic claim staking" in the Southwest "reflected
... a widespread appetite in post-Civil War American society for varieties of
authentic experience: authentic aesthetic/religious sensibilities, relations
to landscape, modes of production, sexual identities, and social
relationships."7 He further argues that around 1900 these responses
were commodified and thereafter "the association of authenticity with the
Southwest fed powerful market forces" through to their powerful elaboration
in the 1990s.8 Nowhere is the link between personal experience,
authenticity, and promotion stronger in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-
century representations of the Southwest than in Lummis's texts.
In tramping across the continent, Lummis strived to embodv and
incorporate the geographical expanse of the U.S. through his athletic
activity. Initial travel through the Southwest was an opportunity to escape
what he saw as the debilitated culture of the East by regenerating
his "Saxon" identity outside the bounds of "civilized" society. After
1884, he demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the promotion of the
racially invigorating qualities of New Mexico, Arizona, and southern
California. Extensive travel through the region in subsequent years
formed the basis of his knowledge of the history and cultures of the
Southwest. Significantly, it was Lummis's personal investment in the region
that afforded him the expertise to make grandiose, sweeping statements about
its attributes, and this expertise was in large part founded on what he and
many contemporaries saw as his authentic experience of place. Thus Lummis's
chief capital in claiming authority on the Southwest became his own
experience—"authentic" experience that was created and commodified
through the act of writing.
This article examines Lui-nmiss "creation" of the Southwest for popular
readerships in both the East and the West in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. His association with the Southwest in general, and New
Mexico in particular, went through three distinct phases: initial encounter
(the "tramp"), participant observation (prolonged stays at San Mateo and Isleta
Pueblo), and yield (removal to Los Angeles and capitalization of his
"expertise" on the region). The discussion proceeds in three parts.
First, I examine how Lummis wrote about the Southwest when first
visiting the region. While proceeding on the walk with fierce athletic
intensity, he also labeled his account "the wayside notes of a happy
vagabondizing."9 This combination of almost tireless activity with
the advocation of a less-hurried and less-regimented livelihood was central
to Lummis's character and his work, and was only seemingly paradoxi-
cal. As we will see, the combination was the site of a productive tension
that was first evidenced in the "tramp" itself.
Second, I take the years 1888-92 as Lummis's period of participant
observer ethnography in the Southwest. After arriving in Los Angeles in
1885 and expending himself in three years of characteristically frenzied
activity at the Los Angeles Times, Lummis suffered a severe stroke and
left the city to recover in New Mexico. For almost a year he stayed in or
around San Mateo with the family of Amado Chaves, former Speaker of
the New Mexico territorial government. Out of his experience with the Chaves
family grew a fierce regard for the beliefs and practices of the old
Spanish colonial elite and a sympathetic, albeit patronizing, affection
for the local population of "humble" Mexicanos.
Lummis then removed to Isleta Pueblo, where he lived for three years,
eventually overcoming his paralysis. Lummis spent much of his time at
the pueblo recording what he saw for publication. A flow of books, remarkable
for their quantity if not their quality, issued from Lummis's pen, half of them
published while the author was still residing at Isleta.
A New Mexico Daiid (1891), A Tramp Across the Continent (1892), Some
Strange Corners of Our Country (1892), The Land of Poco Tiempo (1893),
The Spanisb Pioneers (1893), The Man Who Married the Moon (1894),
The Enchanted Burro (1897), and The King of the Broncos (1897) all drew
from their author's intimate experience of locale and combined travelogue,
ethnology, archaeology, storytelling, and regional history in their exposition
of southwestern themes. Written primarily for an Eastern audience, these texts
trumpeted the Southwest as a "foreign" country within the U.S. For Lummis it
was the very difference of the region, measured in terms of landscape and
population, that was its chief cultural asset. Thus he celebrated Pueblo Indian
festivals, Navajo rug-makers, "Mexican" shepherds, and hidalgo Indian-fighters,
while also writing negatively about Native American beliefs in witchcraft and
the activities of the Hispano Penitentes. In this section, I endeavor to
unravel the complex web of racial, ethnic, gender, class, and cultural
relations in Lummis's representations of Pueblo Indian life and his disparaging
portrayal of the Penitentes.
Third, I overview Lummis's writing on the Southwest after his move
back to Los Angeles in 1893 by examining his editorship of the influential
magazine Land of Sunshine (later renamed Out West). Initiated in
1894 as a promotional journal for Los Angeles and southern California,
the magazine quickly took a more literary turn after Lummis assumed
the editor's position in 1895. As editor and chief contributor, Lummis
relentlessly praised the climate and culture of southern California, paying
particular attention to the region's "Spanish" heritage by actively
campaigning for the preservation of its mission buildings. El Alisal,
Lummis's home on the outskirts of Los Angeles in the Arroyo Seco, became a
gathering point for southern California literati, artists, and politicians.
Visitors included many writers who were published in Land of Sunshine/Out
West and who remain well known today, among them Mary Austin, Ina
Coolbrith, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and John Muir.
"THE WAYSIDE NOTES OF A HAPPY VAGABONDIZING"
The eleventh of twenty-four letters Lummis sent to the Chillicothe
Leader in Alamosa, Colorado, was dated November 18, 1884. He described
coming into La Veta, a small town lying at the foot of the Spanish Peaks, just
north of the New Mexico territorial line:
The day was full of interest to me, for in it, I stepped across the
line from an alleged American civilization into the boundaries of
one strangely diverse. Two miles out from little Cucharas, and on
the willowy banks of Cucharas creek, I ran across a big plaza of
Mexicans—Greasers as they are called out here. A Westerner would
no more think of calling a "Greaser" a Mexican, than a Kentucky Colonel would
of calling a negro anything but "nigger."10
He continued by characterizing local ranchers as "a snide-looking set,
twice as dark as an Indian, with heavy lips and noses, long, straight, black
hair, sleepy eyes, and a general expression of ineffable laziness." And he
added: "Their language is a patois of Spanish and Mexican. These may
be poor specimens along here. I hope so. Not even a coyote will touch
a dead Greaser, the flesh is so seasoned with the red pepper they ram
into their food in howling profusion."11
Such brutal humor at the expense of rural Hispanos was hardly a new
facet of Anglo travel writing on the Southwest; indeed, it appears that
prior to first contact Lummis crossed the Spanish Peaks with his racial
prejudice formed.12 Soon after writing from Alamosa, however, his
opinion changed and, in his next letter to the Leader, written in Santa
Fe, New Mexico, he praised "Mexicans" for their hospitality and personal
warmth. Given the opportunity to revise his account of the "tramp" in later
years, Lummis highlighted his earlier racism by asking a rhetorical question:
"Why is it that the last and most difficult education seems to
be the ridding ourselves of the silly inborn race prejudice ?"13
This gesture of public penance was fully expressed in A Tramp Across
the Continent, when he rewrote his entry into "a civilization that was
then new to me" by explaining:
In Colorado the Mexicans are much in the minority, and are
frequently nicknamed "greasers"—nomenclature which it is not wise to
practise as one proceeds south, and which anyway is born of an unbred
boorishness of which no Mexican could ever be guilty. They are a simple, kindly
people, ignorant of books, but better taught than our average in all the social
virtues—in hospitality, courtesy, and respect for age. They are neither
so "cowardly" nor so "treacherous" as an enormous class that largely shapes our
national destinies; and it would be a thorn to our conceit, if we could realize
how very many important lessons we could profitably learn from them. I speak
now from years of intimate, but honorable, personal acquaintance with
them—an acquaintance which has shamed me out of the silly prejudices
against them which I shared with the average Saxon.14
Rhetorically, the passage suggests a significant change in Lummis's
interpretation of Mexicano culture. On the basis of personal contact, Lummis
not only dismissed Anglo stereotypes of Mexicanos but praised their "social
virtues" in direct relation to the "unbred boorishness" of lower-class Anglos.
His succeeding writing on Hispanos, however, proceeded to reformulate rather
than overturn existing Anglo assumptions about Hispano culture.
When writing about New Mexico after his return from Los Angeles
in 1888, Lummis characterized the territory's charm as that of "the land
of poco tiempo." This representation contributed to equally debilitating
Anglo notions of Hispano backwardness, rustic simplicity, and lack of
competitive spirit measured in social, economic, and racial terms.
Representations of Hispanos generally divided local people into two camps.
On the one hand, Lummis related a number of stories about pobres, the
humble shepherds, farmers, and miners of the region; while, on the other hand,
he dramatized the lives of ricos, a privileged class of landowners and
officials. These stories were often based on tales of Indian fighting and
"heroism" told to him by Colonel Manuel Chaves of San Mateo. Emergent from this
largely dualistic attention to character and deeds in New Mexico was
storytelling that stressed fatalism, sentimentalism, heroism, and romance in
the lives of Hispanos. Stories were nuanced so as to emphasize the perceived
fatatism of pobres to the rigid social hierarchy of Hispano culture and
the similarly passive acceptance among ricos of their diminished authority and
wealth in Anglicized New Mexico. As we shall see in the next section, a
significant exception to this general rule of representation is found in
Lummis's fanatical pursuit of the Penitentes, whom he saw as a threat to the
otherwise orderly incorporation of Hispano culture into U.S. society.
Turning to Lummis's initial view of Pueblo Indians, it is ironic,
considering his later period of residence there, that Lummis's first impression
of Isleta Pueblo was not complimentary. In a letter to the Chillicothe
Leader, he labeled the pueblo "tolerably interesting."15 At that
point of his account, Lummis was more concerned with describing other details
of his walk from Albuquerque to El Rito, New Mexico. Thus he wrote about lava
beds, agates, the scarcity of water, and the loneliness of the country, before
describing a meeting with cowboys (whom he saw favorably) and his arrival in
the "tiny Indian town" of El Rito. In his next letter, however, he wrote with
vigor about his own appearance at Laguna Pueblo as "Pa-puk-ke-wis," wildman of
the plains.16 What Lummis claimed to have occurred was described
with characteristic flamboyance.
My nondescript appearance as I climbed up a house and sat down
on the roof, captured the whole outfit, as well it might. The sombrero with its
snake-skin band, the knife and two six-shooters in my belt, the bulging duck
coat and long-fringed, snowy leggins, the skunk skin dangling from my blanket-
roll, and last but not least, the stuffed coyote over my shoulders, looking
natural as life, made up a picture the like of which I feel sure they never saw
before and never will see again. They must have thought me Pa-puk-ke-wis, the
wild man of the plains. A lot of the muchachos and muchachas (boys and girls)
crowded around me, and when I caught the coyote by the neck and shook it, at
the same time howling at them savagely, they jumped away, and the whole
assembly was convulsed with laughter. An Indian appreciates a joke, even if it
be a rather feeble one.17
Here we see Lummis's relish for the drama of self-creation. In representing
himself as "Pa-puk-ke-wis," he made himself more "wild" than the
Indians. His cultivation of a rough-edged "Southwesterner" guise manifested a
deep desire to go beyond the East in order to revitalize his mind and body out
West. Read as the sign of cultural liberation, Lummis's role-playing in the
Southwest found him wearing the clothes of the other, as measured in class,
racial, and ethnic terms. At the same time, for all the spontaneity that may
have attended this first instance of dressing-up in the Southwest, the act was
quickly commodified through the process of writing for popular readerships.
In his combination of roles as touristic adventurer, enthusiastic athlete,
and professional writer, Lummis closely resembled his friend from Harvard,
Theodore Roosevelt, who also wrote extensively on Western themes in the late
nineteenth century. Roosevelt and others of his generation and elite social
standing in the East, such as artist Frederic Remington and writer Owen Wister,
traveled West to shore up what they saw as the threatened identity of White
Anglo Saxon Protestants in the U.S. According to G. Edward White, they went
West in order to experience for themselves the perceived distinction between
the West as an "agrarian, rural, egalitarian, and ethnically homogeneous"
social order and the East as an "Industrial, urban, elitist, ethnically
heterogeneous, and racially-mixed" social order.18 To live the
outdoors life in the West was to partake of a stabilizing influence on a social
body threatened by economic depression, labor unrest, crises of management, and
large-scale immigration. By appealing to male, and particularly youthful,
readers in the East through his advocacy of the rigorous Western life,
Roosevelt sought to invigorate what he saw as their limpid bodies. Nature,
youth, manhood, and the state were conjoined in Roosevelt's understanding of
what constituted the health of the body politic, and it was through a symbolic
reassertion of the primacy of man over nature that men grew strong
Lummis shared with Roosevelt a passion for fierce athleticism, hunting, and
the masculinist pursuit of rugged individualism. Letters from the tramp were
filled with details of food and trophy hunting, trout fishing, and scrapes with
mountain lions. Adventures that put a premium on quick thinking and sharp
physicality taxed the body into an often ecstatic expenditure. These adventures
were, in turn, seen as a remedy for a social sickness identified by Lummis in
the following terms: "Somehow, our civilization has always seemed to me to
civilize backwards. Its whole tendency is toward laziness, for it is always
inventing something to supplant work.... Yes, civilization is mighty fast
ruining the race physically, and the mental and moral decay are inevitable
corollaries of the bodily."20
These sentiments echoed a pervasive fear among many middle-class
and upper-class Easterners, a fear that Donna Haraway argues was figured forth
in the specter of decadence that "threatened in two interconnected ways, both
related to energy—limited, production systems—one artificial, one
organic. The machine threatened to consume and exhaust man. And the sexual
economy of man seemed vulnerable both to exhaustion and to submergence in
unruly and primitive excess."21 For Haraway, the establishment of
Carl Akeley's African Hall in New York's American Museum of Natural History in
the early twentieth century was an emblematic expression and assuagement of
Eastern anxiety over the threatened social superiority and racial purity of
privileged whites in the U.S. The museum was the "ideological and material
product of the sporting life" advocated by Western enthusiasts.22
Therein, the purity of nature was given manifest form through the art of
taxidermy and the construction of dioramas that joined animals and man "in
The ideological underpinnings of the institutional growth discussed
by Haraway are much the same for Lummis's case in the 1880s. Lummis's
advocacy of the Southwest in succeeding years pivoted about a similar concern
for the preservation of threatened manhood, the consolidation of racial
identity, and the conservation of both natural and cultural resources for moral
and exploitative purposes. Since the walk West was a means of recreating his
personal identity in a way that stressed individualism and self-reliance in the
most testing of circumstances, it is also significant that Lummis made little
reference to his wife Dorothea Rhodes Lummis in the letters sent either to Ohio
or Los Angeles. It appears that Lummis's tramp was motivated in part by a
desire to avoid confronting the reality of his failing marriage.24
Lummis's virtual silence concerning Dorothea in his public letters demonstrates
how the assertion of a masculinist self meant denying the domestic
"THE LAND OF SUN, SILENCE, AND ADOBE"
In A Tramp Across the Continent, Lummis wrote: "I have lived now in
Isleta for four years, with its Indians for my only neighbors; and better
neighbors I never had and never want. They are unmeddlesome but kindly,
thoughtful, and loyal, and wonderfully interesting. Their endless and beautiful
folklore, their quaint and often astonishing customs, and their startling
ceremonials have made a fascinating study"26 While residing in New
Mexico between 1888 and 1892, Lummis used his informal participant observer
ethnography of not only Isletans but other Pueblo groups, Navajos, Utes, and
Apaches to fill out his accounts of regional landscapes and peoples. Part
travelogue, part regional history, part ethnology, part folklore, and part
adventure storytelling, Lummis's articles and books on the Southwest all
capitalized on 1-iis intimate experience of locale. These articles, largely
published in Eastern magazines such as Scribner's Monthly, St. Nicholas, and
Harper's Monthly, transported images of the Southwest across the country in
the years that Lummis spent in New Mexico. The articles were incorporated
wholesale or in revised form into Lummis's books which, in turn, tended to
crowd one another as passages in one volume were duplicated or amplified in a
While residing at Isleta Pueblo, Lummis sent a number of stories to
St. Nicholas. The magazine was published by Century Company of New,
York and designed for an audience of children. Similar to its parent
publication, Century magazine, St. Nicholas was cosmopolitan in
fare, featuring myriad stories and travelogues that described locations across
the globe. Thus in his writing for St. Nicholas, Lummis capitalized on
an existing market for stories and travelogues with "exotic" locations. Lummis
Wrote two series of articles that described the landscapes and peoples of the
Southwest and retold folk tales from Isleta Pueblo. These articles were
published in the magazine between 1891 and 1894, and later were collected in
two books, Some Strange Corners of Our Country and The Man Who
Married the Moon (later renamed Puebla Folk-Tales). Aimed toward a
young male audience, the articles jostled for readers' attention alongside many
other adventure stories, travel narratives, and historical fictions. Typically,
young female readers were offered domestic fictions. sentimental poems
(including several by Lummis's first wife Dorothea), and college-girt romances.
At this point I want to single out one of Lummis's clutch of southwestern
books for attention in order to examine the terms on which American Indians and
Hispanos were to be incorporated into the U.S. Some Strange Corners of Our
Country was published by Century Company in 1892, although most of its
chapters had been published previously in St. Nicolas. Marketed toward
a middle-brow juvenile audience in the East, Lummis began the book by
chastising his audience for not taking greater pride in the natural wealth and
historical drama of American culture. Lummis quickly turned to the Southwest as
a part of the country that would cure his audience of its "unpatriotic
slighting of our own country":
There is a part of America—a part even of the United
States—of which Americans know as little as they do of inner Africa,
and of which too many of them are much less interested to learn. With
them "to travel" means only to go abroad; and they call a mail a traveler who
has run his superficial girdle around the world and is as ignorant of his own
country (except its cities) as if he had never been in it. I hope to live to
see Americans proud of knowing America, and ashamed not to know it; and
it is to my young countrymen that I look for this patriotism to effect so
needed a change.27
The writing that followed was relentlessly hyperbolic. Lummis's key
words were "wonder" and its variations: "curious, "marvelous," "astonishing"
and "strange." The Grand Canyon, featured in the first chapter, was described
as a "stupendous chasm," then an "unparalleled chasm," and later a "peerless
gorge," before Lummis declared that he couldn't describe it at all.
Southwestern landscapes were described in what had become standardized terms by
the late nineteenth century. The "Great American Desert" was a "vast, arid
waste," while throughout the book the immensity of open terrain and the
unrelenting indifference of mountains and deserts to the presence of (Anglo)
humans were played upon by the author.28 Further chapters described
such natural, albeit "freak" phenomena as the Petrified Forest, the natural
bridge of Pine Creek, and the lava fields of El Malpais. In giving travel
directions to many of these same "forbidding" landscapes, Lummis made it
obvious to readers that a touristic infrastructure had been set up which
facilitated relatively easy access to most of the places described in the book.
Consequently, the first chapter of the book ended with details of travel, food,
and accommodation costs for visitors to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Presumably these details, largely absent from the original articles in St.
Nicolas, were included for the book's adult readers.
The bulk of the book related the customs of contemporary Hopi, Navajo, and
Pueblo Indians, and speculated on the fate of the Pueblo's cliff-dwelling
ancestors. Common to chapters on the Hopi Snake Dance, Navajo "superstitions,"
witchcraft, Navajo and Pueblo medicine men, and the lsleta Scalp Dance was
Lummis's rhetorical wonder at the prevalence of practices in the modern U.S.
that "properly" belonged to another time and place. In setting the scene for an
account of the Hopi Snake Dance, Lummis wrote: "It is in these strange, cliff-
perched little cities of the Hupi ('the people of peace,' as the Moquis call
themselves)that one of the most astounding barbaric dances in the world is
held; for it even yet exists. Africa has no savages whose mystic performances
are more wonderful than the Moqui snake-dance—and as much may be said
for many of the other secret rites of the Pueblos."29
But the Hopis, Navajos, and Rio Grande Pueblos did not belong to another
time and place really, and Lummis knew it. Instead he realized they were a
vitalistic part of the Southwest's contemporary cultural geography, and as such
were liable to be objects of fascinated viewing in the eyes of Anglo visitors.
Lummis played upon cultural antiquity, "quaintness as well as alleged
barbarism, and "exotic" practices among the Hopis and other groups of Native
Americans, not simply to relegate their beliefs and acts to the past, but,
instead, to make this textualized "past" their entry into the contemporary U.S.
It is no coincidence that Some Strange Corners of Our Country was
published only a year before the opening of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893,
for the book shared in the display and commodification of the non-Anglo other
that was so much a part of the fair. In terms of the fair itself, it might be
said that the book erred less toward the pedagogical purpose of displays in and
around the Anthropological Building, under the supervision of Frederick
Ward Putnam and Franz Boas, than it partook of the character of the Midway
Plaisance, that "jumble of foreignness" where quasi-ethnological types and
exotic "curiosities" were exhibited.30
For Curtis Hinsley, borrowing from Walter Benjamin's analysis of the
mid-nineteenth-century French poet Charles Baudelaire, the flaneur who
walked the Midway was the newly emergent modernist type through
whom the older P. T. Barnum-esque human freak show and the public ideal of
late-nineteenth-century museum-based anthropology were conjoined: "The eyes of
the Midway are those of the, flaneur, the stroller through the street
arcade of human differences, whose experience is not the holistic, integrated
ideal of the anthropologist but the segmented, seriatim fleetingness of tile
modern tourist 'just passing through.'"31
I propose that Lummis's book itself amounted to a gallery of quickly
sketched portrayals of racial, ethnic, and cultural differences that were
designed to thrill as much as educate the reader. Some Strange Corners of
Our Country thus shared with the fair the quasi-ethnological exposition
of the lives of non-Anglo peoples, although in this instance the others
dwelled within the U.S. This quasi-ethnological curiosity was piqued by
taking a readerly stroll through the pages of a book full of suggestions, in
the guise of travel directions, on how to purchase the experience of cultural
interaction for oneself.
As Hinsley notes, at the fair the commodity relation largely decided
the nature of the exchange between Anglo visitors and those ethnic others
brought in from the imperial (or internal colonial) periphery to the urban
center of Chicago for the purposes of exhibition. Similarly, in succeeding
years, travelers bent on following Lummis's directions to the Southwest would
find that within the part of the country the author had labeled the domain of
"still savage peoples, whose customs are stranger and more interesting than
those of the Congo," there were indigenous people increasingly able to sustain
their livelihoods by capitalizing on tourists' very desire to purchase
authentic artifacts from them.32
Although Lummis's writings about southwestern American Indians exoticized their
cultural practices and made them the object of an incorporative gaze, it is
important to emphasize that incorporation was a complex and dynamic process of
negotiation between dominant and marginalized cultures. E. L. Wade notes that
as early as 1880, when the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad reached Albuquerque,
there was a developing infrastructure for the sale of local Indian wares at
main depots in the Southwest."33 Subsequently, the arts and craft
trade at stations, hotels and pueblos helped sustain many American Indian
communities in the Southwest. By the late 1880s, Pueblos and Navajos, in
particular, were able to capitalize on traditional crafts as a way of
contributing to their livelihoods. In some cases Pueblo Indians left their
homes to travel great distances in order to participate in Anglo cultural
festivals such as the Los Angeles Fiesta, in which Isletans performed
ceremonial dances, displayed traditional crafts, and participated in
elaborately staged tableaux. The increasing numbers of tourists and curiosity
seekers who viewed American Indians performing their "authentic" selves in the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries helped further commodify Native
livelihoods. Yet commodification neither at the turn of the century nor today,
when arguably the arts and crafts trade thrives more than ever, simply co-opted
Native American "traditionalism." Over the past hundred or so years, despite
much internal contestation over the degree to which tourism should be engaged,
Native communities have learned to profit from Anglo interest in their arts,
crafts, and homes.
Turning to Lummis's representation of Mexicanos, the terms of cultural
incorporation proved different from those associated with Native Americans. In
Some Strange Corner of our Country, he praised the Spanish for making in
the Southwest "a heroic history which is quite without parallel."34
While elite Hispanos allegedly owed their nobility to 'pure" Spanish blood and
their direct lineage to Europe, poor Hispanos were seen as mestizos whose
racial and cultural traits were confused. Lummis both sentimentalized and
demonized pobres in his travelogues and fictions. As noted earlier,
Lummis claimed to have liberated himself from racialist assumptions about
Mexicanos after his initial arrival in the Southwest. His writing on the
Penitentes, though, demonstrates both continued racialism and a fanatical
obsession with making their activities into the cultural property of his
readership. By taking a close look at how Lummis invented the Pentitentes for
public consumption, we arrive at a more solid understanding of how such
representations were an integral part of constituting a cultural claim on
In several published articles and book chapters, Lummis wrote about
the occasion on which he photographed the crucifixion of a Brother-hood member
in San Mateo, New Mexico. The fullest account of this episode is to be found in
The Land of Poco Tiempo (1893), in a chapter that pivots about the twin
axes of attraction and repulsion.35 For Lummis, the Brotherhood was
a grotesque wonder of the Southwest whose acts of penance during the four weeks
of Lent were to be highlighted and exploited for representational gain. In the
chapter, "The Penitent Brothers," Lummis described "a procession of
flagellants" "in which voters of this Republic shredded their naked backs with
savage whips, staggered beneath huge crosses, and hugged the maddening needles
of the cactus; a procession which culminated in the flesh-and-blood crucifixion
of an unworthy representative of the Redeemer."36
According to Marta Weigle, the Penitentes were a subsection of the
Hispano population of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. "Penitentes"
was a pejorative label, and officially their organization was named "La
Fraternidad Piodosa de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno"("The Pious Fraternity of
Our Father Jesus Nazarite").37 The Brother-hood's roots were in the
late eighteenth century and their influence on local folkways grew in the mid-
1830s, after the secularization of missions in Mexico. For Weigle, the
Brotherhood was "a movement clearly within Spanish Roman Catholic tradition"
which "took root because it fulfilled vital needs for social integration and
individual spiritual security," particularly during the Secular Period when
Franciscan friars were gradually replaced by secular priests.38
Penitential observances were a frontier phenomenon, whereby generally poor
settlers in areas remote from first Spanish and then Mexican centers of
administration, who suffered from often inhospitable natural conditions and
poor relations with hostile nomadic Indians, innovated their own patterns and
practices of belief to create an identifiable folk religion. Many of its
members, particularly after the American annexation of New Mexico in 1846 found
a cultural refuge in the Brotherhood: "As residents of a Territory of the
United States, the Hispanic populace had to adjust to a new regime which
separated the powers of church and state, to a new language, to important
changes in Catholic Church administration, and to a growing influx of Anglo-
American settlers who were largely Protestant."39
Lummis made little effort to understand the Order as anything other
than an anachronistic and barbaric organization that had degenerated
from a once noble heritage in Spain: "By slow degrees the once godly
order shrank and grew deformed among the brave but isolated and in-
grown people of that lonely land; until the monstrosity of the present
fanaticism had devolved."40He claimed that until its suppression by
the Catholic Church earlier in the nineteenth century, Brotherhood membership
had numbered in "some thousands, with fraternities in towns of every county" of
New Mexico. By 1888, however, Penitente activity was supposed to be limited to
only three towns 'in the Territory. He proceeded to recount activities he
observed take place during 1891 in San Mateo, "the most unreclaimed
village in New, Mexico" (emphasis mine)—a place, he also noted, where
witches were said still to be abundant.41 By invoking the word
"unreclaimed" Lummis tacitly acknowledged that his own purpose was to represent
penitential activity as the remnant of an obstinate past that needed
Lummis's account represents bodily violence as the primary characteristic
of penitential activity; thus, the chapter is filled with references to
"tortures," "long, bleeding cuts," and blows which "[ravish] from the back its
tiny morsels of flesh."42 Readers were warned of the danger of
becoming too curious about the Brotherhood: "Woe to him if in seeing
he shall be seen! A sharp-edged knife or knife shall be over-curious of his
back, and across its bloody autograph a hundred fearful lashes shall lift
their purpling wales-in barbarous hint to him henceforth to keep a
curb between the teeth of inquisitiveness."43 In describing his
photography of the Penitente ceremony, it is clear that for Lummis the courting
of such danger was a vitalistic thrill in itself. In fact the chapter as a
whole is preoccupied with Lummis's own risk-taking.44 Made into a
sensational spectacle, the Penitentes' stated capacity for bloody revenge upon
the body of the outside viewer was made the very measure of Lummis's heroic
escapology. Indeed, he followed the preceding statement by enthusing: "[L]et
him stalk his game, and with safety to his own hide he may see havoc to the
hides of others.",45 Sensationalism, stalkimng game, escapology, the
anticipation of pain run through with an almost masochistic
delight—these were all vital elements of the account. But the central
point of encounter between the Penitentes and Lummis was on the ground of
technology. Lummis conveyed his eagerness for the final seven days of Lent to
arrive by stating: "I had been watching feverishly for Holy Week to come. No
photographer had ever caught the Penitentes with his sun-lasso, and I was
assured of death in various attractive forms at the first hint of an
attempt."46The camera, then, was for Lummis the primary means of
exposing the "barbarous" practices of the Penitentes. His "feverish" desire to
intrude on dangerous ground led to him setting up a large format camera in
plain sight of processional officials and participants while receiving the
protection of his friend, Don Ireneo Chaves, from a mob that was "openly
hostile."47 That evening Lummis successfully bribed processional
officials so as to allow him to freely photograph the Good Friday crucifixion
the next day.
Lummis described the culminating procession of the Penitentes in detail,
again emphasizing the collective antipathy of the "ill-faced mob" toward him
and the bodily endurance of the Brothers, three of whom lashed themselves,
while another two carried heavy crosses, and two more walked "with a burro-load
of entrana (buckthorn cactus) lashed upon his naked back."48
When it finally came to the actual crucifixion of a Brother, the Hermano
Mayor (or Chief Brother) signaled that Lummis could take his photograph. In
Lummis's words: "And there we stood facing each other, the crucified and
I—the one playing with the most wonderful toy of modern progress, the
other racked by the most barbarous device of twenty centuries
ago."49 Thus Lummis constructed the encounter between photographer
and subject so as to offset modernity against antiquity. By relegating
Brotherhood practices to a stubborn past that refused to give way to what he
considered correct behavior within the more egalitarian present, Lummis helped
shape readers' perceptions of part of New Mexico's Mexicano population as
backward, deluded, and in a state of willing submission to "fanatical"
"ROMANCE IS THE CHIEF RICHES OF ANY PEOPLE"
THE CULTURAL LEGACY OF CONQUEST50
In 1892, having made a full recovery from his paralysis, Lummis left
New Mexico to make an archaeological expedition to Peru and Bolivia with
archaeologist and ethnologist Adolph Bandelier. The expedition was financed by
Henry Villard, builder of the Northern Pacific Railroad. Before leaving the
U.S., Lummis and his second wife Eve, together with their four-month-old
daughter Turbese, moved to Los Angeles.51 In a letter to his former
wife Dorothea, with whom he maintained ties after their divorce, he explained
the South American trip: "I couldn't go on forever filling the public with New
Mexico and Arizona: I could feel that my rope there was about to
end."52 There was, then, at this time a sense of exhaustion to
Lummis's association with the Southwest. While the archaeological expedition
was to falter in 1893 because of Villard's financial problems, Lummis used his
experiences in Peru and Bolivia as the basis for further writings, such as the
books The Gold Fish of Gran Chimu (1896) and The Enchanted Burro
(1897) and celebratory articles on Spanish colonialism in the
Americas.53 On his return to Los Angeles in the autumn of 1893,
Turbese and Keith Lummis note that "[e]verything had to be turned into
money—articles, photographs, even cherished curios.... Eve was frail
then and undernourished, but her husband set her to printing hundreds of
photographs to sell to tourists curious about the bronco-busting explorer, his
scenes of the Southwest, and his collections."54 This fact, in
combination with the sentiment aired in the letter to Dorothea, suggests the
consistently improvised quality of Lummis's association with the Southwest. It
appears that financing of his activities was often tenuous, there being no
guarantee that much money would be made from his writing.
Doubts notwithstanding, LLimmis did not cease to exploit southwestern
themes in future articles and books. In 1894, he took over the editorship of
the Journal Land of sunshine and held it until 1909. As editor and
chief contributor to Land of Sunshine, Lummis advocated the development
of southern California's commercial and cultural resources and extolled the
virtues of what he called "the right arm of the continent." Historian Kevin
Starr points out that Lummis was one of a number of boosters in the 1890s who
sought to capitalize on the romantic past of southern California in particular,
and the Southwest as a whole, in selling the region to incoming investors,
tourists, and prospective residents."55
Land of Sunshine (subtitled An Illustrative Monthly, Descriptive
of Southern California) began life in June 1894 as a promotional magazine.
Funded in large part by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the journal was
designed to appeal to both California and Eastern readers, particularly
"travelers, health seekers, and intending settlers."56 In December
1894, Lummis was announced as the journal's new editor and characterized by one
writer as "one of the best known of the younger school of American
writers."57 Although the promotional invective remained, under his
editorship Land of Sunshine quickly took on a more cosmopolitan
character. Stating the purpose of the journal in his first editorial, Lummis
wrote that Land of Sunshine "aims to find out and bring out a literature
and art local in color but broad in sympathy. It will make a modest but growing
feature of short stories, poems, studies, sketches, all of characteristic
flavor; the folklore and folksongs, the history and legends, the types of man
and nature, and whatever else shall appeal to the intellectual."58 We
see how this statement of intent informed the selection of material for the
journal by briefly noting some of the articles that appeared in the December
1895 edition. The lead article on "California and Fremont, written by Jessie
Benton Fremont, widow of John C. Fremont, was accompanied by a Joaquin Miller
poem and articles on the oldest church in Los Angeles, Cahuilla Indian songs
and dances, and the preponderance of Spanish words in (American) English. Thus,
at the outset of his editorship, Lummis emphasized historical, romantic, and
ethnological themes relevant to both southern California and the Southwest in
general. By this time the subtitle of the journal also had been changed to A
Magazine of California and the Southwest.
Through the 1890s and the early 1900s, the cultural and geographical
scope of the journal continued to broaden under Lummis's guidance. He used the
pages of Land of Sunshine/out West to pursue campaigning interests in
the restoration of southern California missions through the Landmarks Club, in
Indian policy reform initiatives through the Sequoyah League, and in Native
American cultural preservation through the Southwest Museum. Lummis also
endorsed a number of writers and artists who, individually and in groups,
visited El Alisal, his home in the rustic environment of Arroyo Seco, a few
miles northeast of Los Angeles. Special fascination, however, was reserved for
what Lummis saw as the glorious Spanish colonial heritage of southern
California mid New Mexico. "The Missions," he proselytized, "are, next to our
climate and its consequences, the best capital southern California
has."59 He also praised the "Spanish-American face" as the "very
poetry of evolution," noting that "through all [variations of the mestizo],
individual or local, runs the inevitable dominant of Spain. "60
Southern California, according to Lummis, was to be understood "not only [as]
the new Eden of the Saxon home-seeker, but part, and type, of Spanish
America."61 In southern California, then, Anglos had the opportunity
to combine "Anglo-Saxon" energy with the aesthetic "beauty" of the "Spanish-
Such prizing of the imagined past of California was neither new to
Lummis nor to southern California readerships. By the 1880s, more than thirty
years after the signing of the Treaty of Gauadalupe Hidalgo and the official
incorporation of former Mexican territories in the Southwest into the U.S., the
sorrowful plight of dispossessed Californios could be safely mourned in the
pages of travelogues. Helen Hunt Jackson, for example, in one travel article
characterized Californios as both "children" and "Poets," indolent and
charming, culturally backward and of the old rather than the new
world.62 She looked with both ambivalence and horror at the impact
of U.S. expansionism on California's Mexicano and Native American populations.
While she praised the development of the agricultural industry in southern
California—the state was ready to be "Garden of the world," she grimaced
outwardly at what she saw as the exploitative and often immoral culture of
settler whites. Such ambivalence was further dramatized in her novel
Ramona, designed to awaken the nation at large to the plight of
displaced California Indians. In actual fact, Jackson's highly romanticized
image of California's ranchos and missions was seized upon by promoters who
wished to boost the state's image to potential investors and settlers, and to
tourists, by appealing to its "Spanish" (and not Mexican) past.
Lummis, who went on to become an active campaigner for the rights of
southern California Indians in the late 1890s, contributed to the romantic myth
inspired by Ramona while working as a journalist at the Los Angeles
Times in the 1880s. In 1888, only four years after the publication of the
novel, Lummis privately published a small volume entitled The Home
Ramona, which featured photographs of Camulos Rancho in Santa Barbara
County, the supposed home of Helen Hunt jackson's heroine, For Lummis, Camulos
was "the sweetest spot where e'er romance/Above, or fancy strayed.' The last
stanza of the singularly sentimental verse, "Camulos," reads:
Untaint by greed of riches,
After his return to Los Angeles in 1893, Lummis further capitalized on the romantic nostalgia inspired by Ramona through myriad articles, editorials, and books. He also helped organize southern California cultural celebrations of the 1890s, such as the 1894 Spanish Days Fiesta in
Coronado and the 1895 Fiesta de Los Angeles. These festivals were
organized and funded in the main by chambers of commerce, business elites, and railroads and played a central role in revitalizing the stagnant economy of the southland in the aftermath of a real estate boom in the 1880s.64 The following description of the Coronado event gives notice of how a sense of the region's "Spanish" past was conspicuously created
for public consumption:
That is our modern shame;
Und-tanged as in those far old days
When Padre Serra came;
Its white adobes face the sun,
Its myriad wood-doves call—
Its heart the heart of mother Spain&medash;
Of Spain before the fall!63
The fiesta will be as nearly as possible a revival of the sports, tournaments, dances, and pastimes of the early Spanish Californians. In the dress of the participants, the presence of Indians and Mexicans in their native costumes, the trappings of the horses and the character of the games; the whole fiesta will be a scene from the ancient days, transplanted to delight a modern audience. Mexican and Spanish caballeros, Indian riders and American cowboys will compete for hours in horsemanship, and among other thrilling
events will be a genuine Spanish bull-fight.65
Lummis used his ties with Isleta Pueblo to include Pueblo Indians in
both the Coronado and Los Angeles fiestas. In a letter printed in the
San Diego Union newspaper, he reported on the success of his recent
negotiations with the Isletans: "I shall have to go for them, and shall
bring you a full twenty, or two or three more. They will be the most
representative band of Pueblos that ever went anywhere; and it may
positively be reckoned a triumph to get such a showing."66The
Pueblo Indians were to display traditional crafts and perhaps perform a dance,
although the latter was to be understood as "a privilege and not a
proposition." At the Los Angeles Fiesta, lsletans were set to perform in "a
Pageant of the Pacific, illustrating the aboriginal civilizations of the West
Coast of America, the Spanish conquest, and the new era in
California."67 They were featured in a parade of floats that first
dramatized the Spanish colonial conquest of Guatavitas, Incas, and Aztecs and
then depicted "our own Southwest and its romantic prehistoric peoples." The
An exact representation of one of the famous cliff dwellings will
be peopled with actual descendants of the Cliff-dwellers, repelling an attack
of the Apaches. Next will come a correct model of one of the stupendous
communal houses of the ancient Pueblos, accompanied by actual Pueblos in their
picturesque national costume. In this tableau will be introduced the priest-
scout Fray Marcos de Nizza, who discovered New Mexico and Arizona in 1539; and
that greatest of North American explorers, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, who
discovered the Grand Canon of the Colorado, most of New Mexico, Colorado,
Indian Territory, and Kansas, 355 years ago.68
By appearing in a tableau that represented the "discovery" of New
Mexico by Spanish conquistadors, it seems that Isletans were complicit
in a celebration of their own colonization. Yet things were more complex
than at first they seem. Theodore Jojola notes that Isletans continued to
perform at the Fiesta until 1903 when, in an effort to quieten disruptive
disputes over who was chosen to travel to Los Angeles, tribal officials
prenvented further participatioii.69 These disputes were, in turn,
part of a larger conflict within the Isleta community between "conservatives"
and "progressives" over the degree to which pueblo governmental and social
structures should be allowed to change in the face of contact with Anglo
outsiders.70 During his residency at Isleta Pueblo between 1888 and
1892, Lummis had made strong ties with both the wealthy Abeita family, through
whom he gained access to ceremonials and restricted tribal knowledge, and the
non-Indian traders and missionaries who also lived in the pueblo
locale.71 These ties suggest the degree to which Lummis associated
with Pueblo "progressives."
Perhaps some of those Isletans who traveled away from their home
environment did so because they had become alienated from their "traditional"
culture. Equally, however, Isletans may have become curious about the world
beyond Isleta, and travel outside Pueblo lands allowed them to explore Anglo
culture for themselves. Regardless of the precise reasons why each individual
made his or her way to Los Angeles, the movement back and forth between the
pueblo and the metropolis was indicative of the larger dilemma for Isletans
over how to engage with Anglo society and their incorporation into the U.S.
By the turn of the century, Lummis was an influential figure in the
middle-class and elite culture of Los Angeles. His self-appointed expertise on
matters ethnological and "Spanish" had become prized by a diverse audience of
promoters, civic architects, travelers, and general readers who wished to know
more about the history and cultures of the Southwest. In Los Angeles, Lummis
proved one of the major promoters of the Southland's new urban culture as he
capitalized on the southern California Mission Myth. The construction of a
romantic Spanish colonial past by civic architects was both a sales ploy and an
attempt to overlay the blatant commercialism of the booster ideology with a
"greater" sense of purpose. By extolling the gentility of the old Californios
and the romance of the Spanish missions, Lummis endeavored to provide the
key to a hybridized future, where incoming whites could take the "best"
of the culture that had preceded them while forging a strengthened mind and
body through the vigorous, year-round outdoor life that California's climate
allowed them. Clearly such a picture manipulated both past and present
realities (such as forced labor for Indians under the old Spanish mission
system and contemporary racial conflict in post-Civil War Los Angeles) in order
to render the illusion of a natural hierarchy of racial, ethnic, class, gender,
and cultural values in the city and state.72
As I have strived to demonstrate, racialist and class-biased assumptions were always at work in Lummis's promotional activity in both the Southland and the greater Southwest. Overall, his writing ended up servicing an oligarchic and repressive cultural ideal that is expressed most clearly in Land of sunshine, when Lummis envisioned Los Angeles as "the latest and highest development of modern civilization, the climax of human achievement to date, the most radical and important experiment ever made by the race which just now stands at the head of the world."73, For all of Lummis's profound interest in American Indians and Mexicanos, his imagined America was hierarchized along racial, class, and gender lines that clearly privileged forms of Anglo male authority.
And yet this is not the whole story. For in the course of traveling through, living in, and writing about the Southwest, Lummis contributed to Anglo audiences a simultaneously popular yet more complex understanding of Native American and Mexicano cultures in the Southwest. I have singled out Lummis for critical attention because in his roles as interpreter and promoter of the Southwest he played a significant role in popularizing the region's landscapes and peoples, first to largely Eastern audiences and in time increasingly to Western readerships. The challenge in reading Lummis today is not to be merely dismissive of his representations, but to criticize his texts in ways that counter the hierarchy of cultural values they establish. And further, to realize
that even though Lummis played a significant role in promoting southwestern tourism and establishing institutions such as the Southwest Museum that attempted to fix Native American cultures through the dominant culture's gaze, the forms of cultural exchange associated with these sites have changed over time and arc open to continued contestation and negotiation.74
- In using the words "Hispano" and "Mexicano" to describe the residual
"Mexican" population of the Southwest's conquered territories, I follow the
example of anthropologist Sylvia Rodriguez. Of her own use of terminology,
she writes: "In keeping with the prevailing trend in the contemporary
ethnographic and ethnocentric literature on the region, the term Hispano
will be applied specifically to the subgroup of Mexicanos or subsequently
Mexican Americans who settled the Upper Rio Grande and adjacent regions of
northern New Mexico and southern Colorado" (p. 390). "Mexicano" describes
people of emic, or native, origin to the Southwest as a whole. Rodriguez,
"Land, Water, and Ethnic Identity in Taos." In Charles L. Briggs and John R.
Van Ncss, eds., Land, Water, and Culture: New Perspectives on Hispanic
Land Grants. Albuquerque: University of NewMexico Press, 1987, pp. 313-
- For biographical information on Lummis, see Edwin R. Bingham, Charles F
Lummis: Editor of the Southwest. San Marino, Cal.: The Huntington
Library, 1955; and Turbese Lummis Fiske and Keith Lummis, Charles F.
Lummis: The Man and His West. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,1975.
- See John C. Bourke, The Snake-Dance of the Moquis: Being a Narrative of a
journev from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Villages of the Moqui Indians of
Arizona. New York: Scribner, 1884; Ernest Ingersoll, The Crest of the
Continent. Chicago: R. R. Donliellev and Sons, 1885; Susan Wallace,
The Land of the Pueblos. New York: George D. Hurst, 1888; and George
Wharton James, The Indians of the Painted Desert Region: Hopis, Navahoes,
Wallapais, Havasupais. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1903; and
New Mexico, The Land of the Delight Makers, Boston: The Page Company,
- For details on the development of ethnological research in the southwestern
field and the growth of professionalized anthropology in the U.S., see
Curtis M. Hilis, Jr., Savaqes and Scientists: The Smithsonian
Institution and the Development of American Anthropoloqy. Washington,
D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1981.
- See journal of the Southwest 30:4 (Winter 1990) special issue,
"Inventing the Southwest." The following essays are of particular relevance
to the present discussion: Barbara Babcock, "By Way of Introduction" (pp.
383-99) and "'A New Mexico Rebecca': Imaging Pueblo Women" (pp. 400-37);
Curtis M. Hinsley Jr., "Authoring Authenticity" (pp.462-78); and Marta
Weigle, "Southwest Lures: Innocents Detoured, Incensed Determined" (pp. 499
- My, use of produced deliberately echoes Edward Said's, Orientalism, a key
reference point in the previously cited work of Babcock, Hinsley, and
Weigle. See Edward Said, Orientalism New York: Random House, 1979.
- Curtis M. Hinsley Jr., "Authoring Authenticity," p. 462.
- Ibid., p. 462.
- Charles E Lummis, A Tramp Across the Continent (1892; reprint). Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1982, n.p.
- Charles [F.] Lummis, Letters from the Southwest, ed. James R. Byrkit.
Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1991, p. 90.
- Ibid., p. 97.
- Raymund Paredes notes that mid-nineteenth-century, Anglo travel writers
tended to emphasize the bodily, characteristics of Mexicanos as the key to
their racial and cultural character. Following the example of earlier
writers, Lummis caricatured facial appearances and bodily dispositions so as
to bring together stereotypical images of the sly Indian and the sleepy,
Spaniard in the figure of the "Greaser." Sec Raymund A. Paredes, "The
Mexican Image in American Travel Literature, 1831-1869." New Mexico
Historical Review 52:1 (January 1977), pp. 5-29. Paredes periodizes his
essay through the publication dates of The Personal Narrative of James 0.
Pattie (1832) and J. Ross Browne's Adventures in the Apache
Country (1869). Also see David J. Weber, "'Scarce More Than Apes':
Historical Roots of Anglo American Stereotypes of Mexicans in the Border
Region." In David J. Weber, ed., New, Spain's Far Northern Frontier:
Essays on Spain in 105stheamen'can West, 1540-1821. Albuquerque:
University, of New, Mexico Press, 1979, pp. 295-307.
- Charles F Lummis, A Tramp Across the Continent, p. 97.
- Ibid., p. 75.
- Charles [F.] Lummis, Letters from the Southwest, p. 186.
- Ibid., p. 199.
- Ibid., p. 199.
- G. Edward White,The Eastern Establishment and the Western Experience:
The West of Frederic Remington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Owen Wister. New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1968, pp. 184-85.
- I have borrowed the articulation of the key words "nature," "youth,"
"manhood," and "the state" from Donna Haraway's essay "Teddy Bear
Patriarchy: Taxidermy in the Garden of Eden, New York City, 1908-36," in
her Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of modern
Science. New York: Routledge, 1989, pp. 26-58.
- Charles [F.] Lummis, Letters from the Southwest, p. 127.
- Haraway, "Tcddy Bear Patriarchy,' p. 55.
- Ibid., p. 42.
- Ibid., p. 26.
- Before Lummis set out on the walk, the two had already experienced a
separation after secretly marrying in Boston in 1880. After failing to
graduate from Harvard, Lummis had left for the Scioto Valley in Ohio to
manage his father-in-law's farm while Dorothea remained in Boston to finish
her medical training. The decision to leave Ohio was made not long after the
couple had resumed living together. Dorothea's letters to Lummis during the
initial separation make poignant reading as she sought to rationalize her
love for him and what appears to have been his benign neglect of her. See
Dorothea Rhodes Lummis Moore Collection at the Huntington Library for
letters written between 1883 and 1884; and Karen Lystra, Searching the
Heart: Women, Men, and Romantic Love in Nineteenth-Century America. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 207- 10, for a discussion of
Dorothea's struggle to balance her beliefs in romantic love and duty to the
Institution of marriage.
- This silence also disguises the extent to which Lummis was dependent on
women throughout his life for emotional support. The other side of extreme
physical exertion both on the walk and in Lummis's initial years in Los
Angeles was profound anxiety about his constitution. This anxiety was
expressed first through partial paralysis and later through temporary
- Charles E Lummis, A Tramp Across the Continent, p. 142.
- Charles F. Lummis, some Strange Corners of our Country: the wonderland of
the Southwest. New York: Conetury Co., 1892, pp. 1-2
- Charles E Lummis, Some Strange Corners of Our Country, pp. 45-46.
- See Curtis M. Hinsley, "The World as Marketplace: Commodification of the
Exotic at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chica o, 1893." In Ivan Karp and
Steven D. Lavine, eds., Exhibiting cultures: The Poetics and Politics of
museum Display. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Press, 1991, pp. 344-65.
Frederick Ward Putnam, director and curator of the Peabody Museum at
Harvard, was appointed as head of the Department of Ethnology and
Archaeology at the Chicago World's Fair. Franz Boas, who later became one of
the major proponents of professionalized anthropology in the U.S., was
Putnam's chief assistant.
- Ibid., p. 356.
- Charles F. Lummis, Some Strange Corners of our Country, p. 5.
- See Edwin L, Wade, "Thc Ethnic Art Market in the American Southwest, 1880-
1980." In George W Stocking, Jr., ed., Objects and Others: Essays on
Museums and Material Culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press,
1985, pp. 167-91.
- Ibid., p. 165. Note that Pueblo Indians and, to a lesser extent, Navajos
were in large measure valorized through their association with Spanish
- In a diary entry for the week of September 6-12, 1888, Lummis noted that
"The Penitentes" article, 7,000 words long, was written in one day. In an
entry for the following week he noted that Century had refused
publication and that the article later came out in The Cosmopolitan.
See "Diary Extracts" in The Charles Fletcher Lummis Collection, The
Southwest Museum. These typed extracts from Lummis-, much longer diary,
which was handwritten in Spanish, were made late in his life as he prepared
to write an unfinished autobiography.
- Charles F Lummis, The Land of Poco Tiempo, p. 56.
- My information on the Fraternity is drawn from Marta Weigle's Brothers
of light, Brothers of Blood: The Penitentes of the Southwest.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976.
- Marta Weigle, Brothers of light, Brothers of Blood, p. xviii.
- Ibid., p. xviii.
- Ibid., p. xix.
- Charles E lummis, Some Strange Corners of Our Country, p. 63.
- Ibid., p. 77.
- Ibid., p. 62,
- Much the same tenor is found in his diary writing. Note that after sending
his article on the Penitentes to Century, his fascination with the
Brothers' practices continued. In an entry for September 12-18, 1888, Lummis
wrote that he had photographed a Morada and some Brorhers. He added: "That
night with a brave boy, burgle the Morada and steal the only 2 Penitente
scourges ever acquired by museum or collector. We are detected and fired at
with rifles 6 times as we bound over the rocky ridge behind the Morada.
Luckily, they did not recognize us." See "Diary Extracts" in The Charles
Fletcher Lummis Collection, The Southwest Museum.
- Charles E Lummis, The Land of Poco Tiempo, p. 62.
- Ibid., p. 64.
- Ibid., p. 66.
- Ibid., p. 71.
- Ibid., p. 75. Note also that the photograph may well be a fake. If indeed
the crucifixion scene was contrived for the photograph, this only adds
another level of invention to Lummis's "creation" of the Southwest.
- The full sentence reads: "Romance is the chief riches of any
people—though we begin to understand it only as romance fades from
the world." See Charles E Lummis, The Spanish Pioneers and the California
Missions. Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Co., 1930, p. 299.
- See Turbese Lummis Fiske and Keith Lummis, Charles F. Lummis: The Man
and His West, p. 75.
- Ibid., p. 82
- Bingham notes that Villard, financier of the Northern Pacific Railroad,
funded half of the planned three-year expedition before his bankruptcy. He
also relates that while in Peru and Bolivia, Lummis conductcd archaeological
fieldwork, photographed, and collected fabrics, skulls, and other
ethnological objects. Many of these objects found their way into Lummis's
home, El Alisal, and the Southwest Museum. See Bingham, Charles F.
Lummis: Editor of the Southwest. p. 14.
- Turbese Lummis Fiske and Keith Lummis, Charles F. Lummis: The Man and
His West, P. 87.
- See Kevin Starr, Inventing the Dream: California through the Progresive
Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985, particularly chapter 3,
"Art and Life in the Turn-of-the-Century Southland," pp. 64-98.
- Anon., 'Editorial." Land of sunshine 1: I (June 1894), p. 12.
- Charles Dwight Willard, "fhe New Editor." Land of Sunshine 2:1
(December 1894), p. 12.
- Charles F. Lummis, "Editorial Column." Land of Sunshine 2:2 (January
- Charles F. Lummis, "In the Lion's Den." Land of Sunshine 4:1
(December 1895) p. 43.
- Charles F. Lummis, "The Spanish-American Face." Land of sunshine 2:2
(January 1895),p. 21,
- Charles F. Lummis, "Editorial Column." Land of Sunshine 2:2 (January
- Helen Hunt Jackson, "Outdoor Industries in Southern California," in her
Glimpses of California and the Missions. Boston: Little, Brown and
Co., 1902, p, 257.
- Charles E Lummis, The Home of Ramona: Photographs of Camulos, the fine
old Spanish Estate described by Mrs. Helen Hunt Jackson, as the Home of
Ramona. Los Angeles: Chas. E Lummis and Co., 1888, n.p.
- See Christina Wielus Mead, "Las Fiestas de Los Angeles: A Survey of the
Yearly Celebrations, 1894-1898." Southern California Quarterly 31:1
and 2 (March and June 1949), pp. 61-113- and Carey McWilliams, Southern
California: An Island on the Land. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith,
1973, pp. 70-83.
- Anon., The Spanish Fiesta (n.d.), n.p. A copy of this small pamphlet
is at the Huntington Library.
- Charles F. Lummis, "Letter to E. S. Babcock,' published in San Diego
Union,March 4, 1994, reprinted in The Spanish Fiesta, n.p.
- Frank Van Vleck [probably pseudonym for Charles F. Lummis], "La Fiesta de
Los Angeles, 1895" Land of sunshine 2:5 (April 1895), p. 83.
- Ibid., p. 84
- See Theodore S. Jojola, "Charles F. Lummis and Isleta Pueblo," unpublished
article. I thank Jojola for furnishing me with a copy of the article.
- See ibid., pp. 3-4, for details.
- See ibid., pp. 5-6, for details.
- For Mike Davis, the accruing of cultural capital for Los Angeles by Lummis
and other agents who combined literary skills with promotional outlets
involved the manipulation of both past and present "realities" in order to
create a picture of a city that served as "the sunny refuge of White
Protestant America in an age of labor upheaval and the mass immigration of
the Catholic and Jewish poor from Eastern and Southern Europe." See Mike
Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1990).
New York: Random House, 1992,p. 30.
- Charles F. Lummis, "in the Lion's Den." Land of Sunshine 4:2 (January
- Today the Southwest Museum in Highland Park, a few miles from downtown Los
Angeles, is surrounded not by the predominantly Anglo population that Lummis
envisioned, but by a primarily, Latino community,, Thus the 'Spanish' past
resurfaces, albeit in quite changed form, in the multicultural present.