Scope and Contents
The Ernest S. and Eloise Carter collection includes photographic prints, negatives and slides taken between 1950 and 1976 in the American Southwest, Mexico and Bolivia as well as documentation and notes regarding their work. The bulk of the photographs and notes were made by the Carters from 1964 to 1976 while they were research associates for the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. The Carters spent much of their time photographing and researching petroglyph and pictograph sites in Arizona, New Mexico, California and Nevada producing black and white and color negatives, color slides, and photographic prints that were sent back to the MAI along with maps, notes, and reports as they were completed.
Series 1: Photographs, 1950-1975, is organized into four separate subseries. Subseries 1.1 Mexico and Bolivia, Landscapes and People, 1950-1951, includes photographs taken in Bolivia, circa 1950-1951 and in Mexico in 1964. Although it is unclear where or not Ernest Carter took the Bolivia photographs himself or acquired them while he was traveling there, the photographic prints include landscape views and portraits shot in around the city of Potosí, Bolivia. The photographs shot in Mexico include black and white negatives Carters took at the Monte Alban and Mitla ruins in Oaxaca, Mexico in July, 1964. Subseries 1.2 US Southwest: Landscapes and Petroglyphs, 1964-1973, the largest group of materials in the collection, includes the bulk of the work done by the Carters for the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. The subseries is arranged chronologically and then by location including sites in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada and Utah. Both Eloise and Ernest shot photographs, though Eloise generally shot in black and white and Ernest in color. This subseries includes negatives, 5x7 and 35mm, slides, 120 and 35mm, and photographic prints of various sizes, some mounted. Images include wide shots of petroglyph, pictograph, and acorn grinding sites, close-ups of petroglyphs as well as landscape views.
The Carters were also prolific collectors of kachinas and other ethnographic objects from the Southwest. Subseries 1.3 Object Photography: Kachinas, Pottery, Baskets and Other Objects, 1967-1975 includes photographs of the Carter kachinas, pottery and basket collections as well as several photographs of the Carters in their home alongside their collections. Subseries 1.4: Educational Materials and Other Selected Studies, 1970-1973 includes photographs the Carters put together for use by the educational department. Mostly mounted prints and slides, these photographs generally were sent with specific descriptions and were selected to highlight the variations between the petroglyph sites. This subseries also includes "Pueblo Life and Work" a series of photographs shot by the Carters at Taos Pueblo, Ildenfonso Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo and Hopi Pueblo in 1973.
Series 2: Correspondence and Photograph Documentation, 1964-1987, includes correspondence and documentation about the photographs in the Carter collection. The majority of the correspondence is between Ernest Carter and Frederick Dockstader, director of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation (MAI), regarding the donation of photographs and objects from the Carters to the museum between 1964 and 1976. The correspondence also includes detailed expense records which document where the Carters where traveling when as well as when shipments of photographs and objects were being made through the years. The documentation includes detailed reports from the Carters research on petroglyphs, maps of various petroglyph sites, photograph lists with descriptions as well as drawings and notes.