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John K. Hillers photographs of Zuni, Hopi and Rio Grande River Pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona

Identifier: Ayer-Photographs-box-94-96

Notice of Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials

This collection contains content identified by the library as Culturally Sensitive to Indigenous People(s): AP2220 in box 94 is a photograph of Hopi dance and AP2251-2252 in box 95 are photographs of Zuni clowns and dance. For more information please see the Newberry Library’s policy on Access to Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials.

Scope and Content of the Collection

Mounted albumen prints of pueblos in the Rio Grande River region of New Mexico, of the Zuni pueblo in New Mexico, and of the Hopi pueblos in Arizona, taken mainly from 1879 to 1882.

Rio Grande river region pueblo views include Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Sandia, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Taos, Tesuque, and Zia. In addition to numerous views of the Zuni pueblo, there are images of Zuni governors, school children with teacher Taylor F. Ealey, albinos, mud heads, dancers and a water carrier. The Hopi pueblos of Hano, Mishongnovi, Oraibi, Shipaulovi Shongopovi, Sichomovi, and Walpi are documented, and there are images of a Hopi woman's dance at Oraibi and a Hopi weaver at Walpi. There are also portraits of Pima chief Azul with his son and grandson, and of a Navajo woman named Hedipa or Hedida.


  • Creation: 1879-1882



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The John K. Hillers Photographs of Zuni, Hopi and Rio Grande River Pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The John K. Hillers Photographs of Zuni, Hopi and Rio Grande River Pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of John K. Hillers

Western expedition photographer.

Born in Germany in 1843, John K. Hillers came to the United States in 1852. After serving in the American Civil War, Hillers worked at various jobs until he met John Wesley Powell, geologist and ethnologist, who hired him to assist him in his expedition to survey the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Hillers became interested in the role of the team's photographer, and by 1872, he took over that role. He spent the next twenty years traveling and photographing the American West. Hillers worked for Powell until 1900, as photographer for the Bureau of American Ethnology (1879-1881) and as chief photographer of the U.S. Geological Survey (1881-1900). In 1879 Hillers joined Frank Hamilton Cushing and James Stevenson in an important anthropological expedition to the Southwest, compiling an extensive visual record of the pueblos and archeological ruins of Arizona and New Mexico.

After official retirement in 1900, Hillers continued as a government photographer until 1919. He died in 1925.


3.8 Linear Feet (3 boxes)


From 1879 to 1882, John K. Hillers traveled to the Southwest with Frank Hamilton Cushing and James Stevenson under the auspices of the Bureau of American Ethnology. This collection of 72 photographic prints consists of Hillers’ photographic record of the pueblos, archeological ruins, and peoples of Arizona and New Mexico taken during this trip. These photographs are part of the Edward E. Ayer Photograph Collection.


Photographs arranged by Ayer Photograph Number.

Collection Stack Location

3 17 16

Ownership and Custodial History

Forms part of the Edward E. Ayer Photograph Collection (Newberry Library)



Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2012.

Inventory of the John K. Hillers photographs of Zuni, Hopi and Rio Grande River Pueblos in New Mexico and Arizona, 1879-1882
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States