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Charles  Fletcher  Lummis

Charles F. Lummis [1859-1928] at his desk at El Alisal         short profile

works by Charles F. Lummis

works about Charles F. Lummis

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family & friends


        Charles Fletcher Lummis was born in Lynn, Massachusetts on 1 March 1859. He attended Harvard, where he became friends with Teddy Roosevelt; Lummis left before graduating, and took a job as editor of the Scioto Gazette newspaper north of Columbus, Ohio. He married Dorothea Rhodes in 1880.
        When Col. Harrison Gray Otis offered a job as city editor of the new Los Angeles Daily Times in California in 1884, Lummis chose to trek across America on foot – the 3,500-mile trip from Cincinnati took 143 days. Lummis's weekly dispatches caused a national sensation, and he arrived on the West Coast as a literary star. He covered local political battles, and was dispatched to Fort Bowie, Arizona in 1886 to cover the (expected) capture of Geronimo.

        In 1887, Lummis became partially paralyzed from a stroke, likely because of on-the-job stress. On advice of Teddy Roosevelt, Lummis traveled to New Mexico to recover. He lived for a time with the Chavez family in remote, forested San Mateo, and rode horseback across the Western landscape and studied the Pueblo Indians, and wrote of his experiences. An exposé article about local corruption garnered death threats, so he moved to Isleta Pueblo, southward on the Rio Grande River. The offended bosses up in San Mateo sent an assassin to kill Lummis in Isleta; though hit by shotgun pellets, Lummis survived. During this time, he divorced his first wife and married Eva Douglas, the sister-in-law of a local trader. Lummis learned photography in order to document the culture of Native Americans, and took 10,000 photographs (mostly in the years between 1888 & 1900).
        Lummis regained use of his left side in 1893 and spent ten months in Peru with the famous (and crotchety) anthropologist Adolph F. Bandelier. Lummis returned to Los Angeles in 1894; he was broke and out of work, with a wife and baby – his daughter (Dorothea) Turbesé. At the end of 1894, he found the perfect job: editor of the regional magazine Land of Sunshine, which was renamed Out West in 1901. During his 11 years as full-time editor, he wrote a monthly column and published articles and stories by pioneer eco-activist John Muir, painter Maynard Dixon, authors Jack London & Mary Hunter Austin, Sharlot M. Hall, Joaquin Miller, and other literary heavyweights of the time.

        In 1896, Lummis helped found the Landmarks Club to restore the California missions; in 1901, he founded the Sequoya League to protect America's native people; in 1903, he co-founded the Southwest Society which helped found the Southwest Museum in 1907; the museum moved to its present location on Mt. Washington in 1914.
        From 1896 to 1910, he hand-built a home in the Arroyo Seco (between Los Angeles and Pasadena), and called it 'El Alisal' (the sycamore); the home, made from river stones & hand-hewn timbers, is being restored and is now the head-quarters of the Historical Society of Southern California [est. 1883].
        Lummis's illegitimate daughter Bertha Bell Page (born in 1879) was told about her father at age 21; she wrote to him and they met in Boston, becoming very close. His daughter Turbesé wrote a biography of her father, incomplete at her death in 1968; her brother Keith (1904-1991) finished the book, which was published in 1975. Other offspring include Amado Bandelier (1894-1900), and Jordan aka Quimu (b. 1900).

        Lummis quit Out West in 1904 to head the Los Angeles Library. His second wife divorced him for infidelity in 1910; the library job ended in 1911; he (supposedly) went temporarily blind from a jungle fever, and stopped writing. He married for a third time, to Gertrude Redit, in 1915. By 1918, he was destitute.
        Life improved for Lummis for a while in the 1920s, and he returned to writing and to Indian rights activism. His adoring daughter Bertha cared for him during his final illness; Charles Fletcher Lummis died of brain cancer on 24 November 1928 at the age of 69.
        He published 16 books and numerous articles & essays in his lifetime, and was a key figure in preserving much of then-vanishing Southwest culture, from California missions & old adobe buildings to Pueblo Indian traditions & artifacts.

Charles Fletcher Lummis entry at Wikipedia
browse books {name as keywords} = 85 items

Works By Charles F. Lummis
browse books {middle initial = 39 items}
browse books {full name} = 43 items
browse books {name as keywords} = 85 items

"The Birch Bark Poems of Charles Lummis" [1879-83]
Edited by Dudley Chadwick Gordon
K. & S. Dawson hardcover [1/69] not listed at Amazon

"The Home of Ramona" [1888]

New Mexico David and Other Stories   "A New Mexico David and Other Stories & Sketches of The Southwest" [Scribner's 1891]
18 stories & essays
Kessinger 9x6 pb [7/2004] for $26.95
A Tramp Across The Continent book by Charles F. Lummis  "A Tramp Across The Continent" [Scribner's 1892]
In 1884, Ohio newpaperman Charles Lummis accepted a job in the Far West town of Los Angeles, Cali-fornia and decided to journey there on foot. He sent dispatches of his adventures weekly, which were syndicated and became a huge national hit. The 3,500-mile journey took 143 days and when he arrived in Los Angeles, he was given a parade. The book of his articles and journal notes was published in 1892.
Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [6/2015] for 99¢
Forgotten Books 9x6 pb [6/2017] for $13.57
Univ NE Press 8x5¼ pb [5/1982] for $24.95
Palala Press 9¼x6 hardcover [9/2015] for $25.95
Land of Poco Tiempo book by Charles F. Lummis  
"The Land of Poco Tiempo" [Scribner's orig 1893 & 1925]
listed among the 100 Best Books In New Mexico [Jan 2011]
Bibliographical Center for Research 9x6 hardcover [3/2009] for $29.69
Univ NM Press pb [6/75] out of print/used
Univ NM Press pb [12/69] out of print/rare
Spanish Pioneers   "The Spanish Pioneers" [McClurg Chicago 1893]
aka "The Spanish Pioneers and The California Missions"
Univ Press of the Pacific 8x5 pb [6/2004] for $27.50
Man Who Married the Moon  "Man Who Married the Moon and Other Pueblo Indian Folk Tales" [1894]
Kessinger 11x8¼ pb [6/2003] for $16.98
Digital Scanning 9x6 pb [2/2001] for $14.95
Digital Scanning 9¼x6¼ hardcover [2/2001] for $27.95
My Friend Will   "My Friend Will" [1894]
DeVorss & Co. hardcover [5/72] for $5.00
Gold Fish of Gran Chimu   "The Gold Fish of Gran Chimu: A Novel"
[Lamson, Wolffe 1896, McClurg 1911]

Kessinger 9x6 pb [12/2004] for $13.62
Awakening Nation Mexico   "The Awakening of A Nation: Mexico of Today"
[Harper & Bros. 1897]

published in Harper's Magazine in 3 parts, Feb-April 1897
Univ Press of the Pacific 8x6½ pb [6/2004] for $29.50
King Of The Broncos   "The King Of The Broncos and Other Stories of New Mexico" [orig 1897, Scribner's 1915 & 1928]
Fredonia Books 8x5 pb [7/2004] for $24.95
Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories  "Pueblo Indian Folk-Stories" [Appleton-Century 1910]
Univ NE Press 8x5½ pb [6/92] for $24.95
Mesa, Cañon & Pueblo   "Mesa, Cañon and Pueblo" [Appleton-Century 1925]
considered Lummis's masterpiece, revised & expanded from "Some Strange Corners of Our Country" [1892]
Univ Press of the Pacific 8x6½ pb [7/2004] for $29.95
"Some Strange Corners of Our Country: The Wonderland of the Southwest" [1892]
Univ AZ Press 8½x5½ pb [4/89] for $17.95
Bronco Pegasus   "A Bronco Pegasus: Poems" [Houghton Mifflin 1928]
Fredonia Books 8x6½ pb [6/2004] for $24.95
Houghton Mifflin hardcover [1928] out of print/rare
Flowers of Our Lost Romance   "Flowers of Our Lost Romance" [Houghton Mifflin 1929]
Kessinger 9x6 pb [4/2005] for $20.43
Univ Press of the Pacific 8x5 pb [6/2004] for $27.50
General Crook & the Apache Wars  "General Crook and The Apache Wars" [1966]
Edited by Turbesé Lummis Fiske

Northland Publng pb [9/85] out of print/used

"Dateline Fort Bowie: Charles Fletcher Lummis Reports on an Apache War" [1979]
Edited by Dan L. Thrapp

Univ OK Press hardcover [2/79] out of print/used

Letters From The Southwest  
"Letters From The Southwest: September 20, 1884 to March 14, 1885" [1989]
Edited by James W. Byrkit

Univ AZ Press 9x5¾ hardcover [4/89] for $46.99

"Bullying The Moqui" [1968]
Prescott College Press 9¾x7¾ hardcover [1968] out of print/used

"The Prose of It" (poem on Geronimo) [c. 1926]

"The Enchanted Burro: Stories of New Mexico & South America" [pre-1912]
Books for Libraries Press hardcover [1972] out of print/rare

"New Mexican Folk Songs" [UNM Press 1952]

Works About Charles F. Lummis

Lummis / Editor of the Southwest  "Charles F. Lummis: Editor of The Southwest" [1955]
by Edwin R. Bingham

Huntington Library Press 8¾x6 pb [5/2006] for $12.97
Greenwood 8¾x5¾ hardcover [12/73] for $96.99
American Character   "American Character: The Curious Life of Charles Fletcher Lummis & The Rediscovery of The Southwest" [2001]
by Mark Thompson

Arcade 9½x6½ hardcover [3/2001] for $17.61
author's booksite
Roosevelt & Friends of the Indian  "Theodore Roosevelt and Six Friends of The Indian" [1997]
by William T. Hagan

The six men are Francis E. Leupp, Herbert Welsh, C. Hart Merriam, George Bird Grinnell, Charles F. Lummis & Hamlin Garland
Univ OK Press 8x5½ pb [5/2002] for $11.94
Univ OK Press 8½x5¾ hardcover [9/97] for $31.94
see also Spirit of America's President Theodore Roosevelt [1858-1919] Page
"Sandpapers: The Lives & Letters of Eugene Manlove Rhodes & Charles Fletcher Lummis" [1994]
by Frank M. Clark

Sunstone Press 8½x5½ pb [5/94] for $14.95
Lummis in the Pueblos  "Lummis In The Pueblos" [1986]
by Patrick T. & Betsy E. Houlihan

Northland Press pb [8/86] out of print/used
Northland Press hardcover [8/86] out of print/used
Charles F. Lummis bio   "Charles F. Lummis: The Man & His West" [1975]
by Turbesé Lummis Fiske & Keith Lummis

Univ OK Press hardcover [12/75] out of print/used

"Charles F. Lummis: A Bibliography" [1974] by Mary A. Sarber

"Charles F. Lummis: Crusader In Corduroy" [1972] by Dudley Chadwick Gordon
Dawson's Book Shop 9¼x7 hardcover [6/72] out of print/rare

Image  Gallery

Charles Fletcher Lummis, circa 1884              Charles Fletcher Lummis - glowering, with hair              Charles Fletcher Lummis - at home in 1905              1914 portrait of Charles Fletcher Lummis by Edwin Gledhill

Northeast Los Angeles 'Out West: Lummis Day' weekend festival event [June 2014 = #9]

Family  &  Friends

longtime friend anthropologist Adolph Bandelier [1840-1914]

L i n k s
Charles Fletcher Lummis entry at Wikipedia
CFL Collection {1 box, 1889-1994} at Texas Tech University
CFL Collection {2 boxes, 1878-1920} at UNM
CFL Collection {19 boxes, 1890-1920} at University of Arizona at Tucson
another CFL Collection {5 boxes, 1879-1928} at University of Arizona at Tucson
Lummis photos collection at Harvard Peabody Museum
2003 Lummis exhibit at Harvard Peabody Museum {designed by Blatman Design}
GMK's 'El Alisal' fansite
Los Angeles Examiner article about C.F. Lummis, 22 September 1905
Northeast Los Angeles 'Out West: Lummis Day' weekend festival event [June 2014 = #9]

Historic Preservation Links
Southwest Museum official website
Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition [est. 1/2003]
BLACK STAR: closed to the public by The Autry Museum  Casa de Adobe [built 1918], 4603 No. Figueroa Street {below the Southwest Museum}
Historical Society of Southern California [est. 1883]
Rancho Camulos [est. 1853] in Piru, California
Pio Pico Adobe [est. 1853] State Historic Park in Whittier, California
California Missions entry at Wikipedia
G.E. Nordell's California Missions Travel Links Page

here on the Charles F. Lummis [1859-1928] Page at Spirit of America Bookstore

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