Contents and Arrangement

Photographs of U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Service Library and Motion Picture Service, Visits to Native American Schools in Arizona, 1937-1939

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists of forty-one photographs of Indigenous students and adults, white teachers, and United States government officials operating mobile libraries at ten different Native American day and boarding schools in Arizona during the New Deal era. According to handwritten annotations on the backs of photographs, these schools are identified as the Casa Blanca Day School in what is now the Gila River Indian Community (Bapschule, Arizona); Quajote Day School (possibly Quijotoa); Phoenix Indian School; Fresnal Canyon; Fort McDowell Day School in what is now the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation; and five schools in or near what is now the Tohono O'odham Nation (referred to in the captions as the Papago Indian Reservation and Sells, Arizona), including the Kerwo, Vamori, Choulic, Chuichu, and Santa Rosa Ranch day schools. According to a list maintained by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, Phoenix Indian School and Santa Rosa Ranch were also boarding schools. Based on the locations of these schools, the children photographed likely include those from Tohono O'odham, Akimel O'odham (Pima), Pee-Posh (Maricopa), and Yavapai communities, and possibly others. While children at boarding schools were forcibly taken from their homes, Indigenous children attending both day and boarding schools during this time period were subject to brutal assimilationist policies by the United States government and school staff.

These images document visits to the schools by mobile libraries operated by the United States Department of the Interior's Department of Indian Service Library and Motion Picture Service. Although the photographer is unknown, the images may have been taken and captioned by government officials who drove the two buses marked as "U.S. Department of the Interior – Indian Service Library and Motion Picture Service" and "U.S.I.S. Traveling Library." One of the officials posing with the former bus is identified as Pierre and can be seen in one image setting up chairs and a screen for an outdoor film screening. Most of the photographs show students posed with teachers and school staff in front of schools or with the mobile libraries, while others depict the grounds and buildings of various schools, as well as scenes of the Arizona desert. The teachers, all but one of whom are white women, are identified by name in the captions as Katherine S. Shorten, June Steele, Maxine Brubacker, Mary Blochbinger, Grace Taylor, Edna Harris, Miss Pike, and R. E. Meyer. Some photographs also include Indigenous adults who are described in the captions as bus drivers and housekeepers. Salina Enos is the only Indigenous person described by her name in a caption, and she is photographed both with a class and with her cousins at the Quajote Day School.


Arranged alphabetically by the name of the creator or by the date of acquisition.

Collection History


Purchased from William Reese Company in 2021 (AM 2022-010).


No material was separated during processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Lisa Yankowitz during the summer and fall of 2010 . The finding aid was written by Lisa Yankowitz in January 2011 and was regularly updated with new acquisitions by Faith Charlton, Kelly Bolding, Armando Suárez, Amy C. Vo, Kalliopi Balatsouka, and Lauren Williams.

Collection-level notes were revised by Faith Charlton in 2024 to more accurately describe the nature of this collection.

No additions will be made to this collection. Single item acquisitions will be added to Princeton University Library Single Item Acquisitions (C1771).

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Photographs of U.S. Department of the Interior, Indian Service Library and Motion Picture Service, Visits to Native American Schools in Arizona; General Manuscripts Miscellaneous Collection, C0140, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box B-001621

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

Parts of this collection are available on microfilm, cataloged separately as RCPXM-7497696.

Subject Terms:
Indigenous peoples of North America -- Cultural assimilation -- Arizona -- History -- 20th century -- Sources
Off-reservation boarding schools -- Arizona
Genre Terms:
photographs -- 20th century.