Item #3469 [Large Collection of Over 160 Real Photo Postcards Depicting Southwestern Native Americans by Burton Frasher]. Native American Photographica, Burton Frasher.
[Large Collection of Over 160 Real Photo Postcards Depicting Southwestern Native Americans by Burton Frasher]

[Large Collection of Over 160 Real Photo Postcards Depicting Southwestern Native Americans by Burton Frasher]

Pomona, Ca. Frasher's Fotos, [ca. 1930s]. 163 real photo postcards, each approximately 3.5 x 5.5 inches. Numerous card versos filled out, stamped, and cancelled. Minor dust soiling. Near fine. Item #3469

A substantial collection of nearly 165 real photo postcards of Native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico by Burton Frasher, one of the most prolific western photographers during the first half of the 20th century. "Burton Frasher Sr. (1888-1955) began his commercial photography business in Lordsburg (now LaVerne) California in 1914. In 1921, he moved his studio to Pomona, California, where he began to sell his own increasingly popular picture postcard views of the Southwest. By the end of the 1920's, what had begun as a sideline became Frasher's main business focus. He traveled extensively through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, ranging up through Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, and down through Baja, California and Sonora, Mexico, taking pictures of whatever subjects he thought would prove commercially viable on his postcards. During the Depression and pre-war years, the business expanded to the point that Frasher could hire photographers who doubled as salesmen to travel the Southwest taking new views and selling postcards.... By the time of his death in 1955, Burton Frasher was considered the Southwest's most prolific photographer" -- Pomona Public Library.

The present images feature more than ten southwestern Native American tribes in New Mexico and Arizona, with many photos depicting the Navajo and Taos Pueblo peoples. Other groups represented include the Zuni, Apache, Hopi, and Cochiti tribes, as well as members of the Santa Clara, San Juan, San Ildefonso, Acoma, and Tesuque Pueblos. In addition to somewhat stylized portraits of men and women in elaborate native dress, there are many images of Native Americans working at home, making food, and engaging in trades such as silversmithing, rug weaving, pottery making, and painting. Beyond these prepared scenes, there are many more candid portraits of people in the course of their daily lives and engaging in group activities, such as a series of images from the Inter Tribal Indian Ceremonies held at Gallup, New Mexico and several examples documenting Sun and Deer Dances. The group is particularly evocative of the scenery and environments in which these tribes lived during this period, and show many pueblo dwellings, reservation buildings, and campsites, as well as some of the more ancient monuments of southwestern Native American culture such as cliff dwellings and petroglyphs. Together, these images comprise a sizable and significant visual record of the lives and livelihoods of southwestern Indian tribes in Depression-era America.

The estate of Burton Frasher donated his prints and negatives to the Pomona Public Library, in the family's home town. Despite the popularity of his images, large aggregations of his work beyond his personal archive are relatively few and far between, particularly those that contain an appreciable number of photographs depicting Native American subjects. We locate only one collection in western U.S. institutions (according to the Online Archive of California, Archives West, Arizona Archives Online, and searches of various New Mexico archival institutions) of any comparable size and scope to the present one, at Utah State.

Price: $8,750.00