IV. Roughing it in the Southwest:
In a New State with Natalie Curtis, 1913

Unknown photographer, Alice Klauber at the Windmill, courtesy of the Klauber family.
At the time a well known life sustaining waterhole in the Arizona desert..

. . . When summer was turning into autumn in 1913, Alice Klauber joined Natalie Curtis, a noted ethnologist and musicologist researching Southwest American Native folk music, on a visit to Arizona that only achieved statehood in 1912. Curtis and Miss Klauber were neighbors at one time when Natalie and her brother resided in the Palomar Apartments on the west edge of Balboa Park on Fifth Avenue in 1916. A highlight of this first visit roughing it in the yet virginal region was a meeting with former President Theodore Roosevelt, and a devoted Westerner, noted in her journal. A book from her library by Natalie Curtis entitled The Indian Book published in 1907, bears a penned dedication, In a Hopi Indian pueblo…”To Alice Klauber with all good wishes, from Theodore Roosevelt, Walpi August 21, 1913.” Other dedications appear in the book by Natalie and Kwaptiwe, “Hopi Chief/Orababi/August 24, 1913.” Alice’s account gives a vivid account of the stamina required to cope with a journey to the area early in the twentieth century. They departed from the Santa Fe Depot in the evening with Alice already questioning the reasonableness of undertaking a trip with strangers, a group of sundry scholars interested in studying in the region.

. . . Rains and ‘agreeable stops for meals’ provided a panacea from her doubts while traveling on the train for their destination.

Unknown Photographer, Alice with Natalie and other members, specialists interested in music and the arts of the southwest American natives, in Arizona, courtesy of the Klauber family.

. . . When they finally arrived at Ash Fork, Arizona, she anticipated the adventure. They were met by clergyman C. Winifred Douglas, considered the most experienced outdoor man in America, who was group leader of the expedition. The following day another of the group arrived, Kurt Schindler, 1882-1935, a noted musician, conductor and folk music collector. He was the director of the MacDowell Chorus/Scholar Cantorum in New York City from 1909 to 1920. The remainder of the day was spent resolving final preparations and resting.

. . . After supper, two teams left at 8 p.m. for Ganado, about two or three day’s journey by horsepower. Miscalculation occurred and the group had to retrace their steps after about an hour later. This was only one of several mishaps that could be expected when the west was still relatively unknown and transportation was limited. They found their way by following the pack team tracks left earlier. About five miles out from Holbrook and disallowing the minor setbacks, Miss Klauber enjoyed the ‘perfect night’ and the landscape. At dawn the sight that she saw was “a real Holyland about us in coloring like Guerin.” She described in a very colorful manner an Indian goat herder and ‘Sanai’ (mountain). At Indian Wells, Arizona, their next stop, she was sketching and relishing the Hopi pottery under the counter. The promised storm came while they were atop a mesa among “cedars against a blue sky, with a rainbow, and near the first reddish bad-lands.” Awed by the scene where she did some sketching, she and the group, later, had a little difficulty finding their way back to their tent. In the early evening hours the group was serenaded by Navajos singing and before sleeping they had Navajo visitors who came to look at their camp.


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