Roughing it in the Southwest:
In a New State with Natalie Curtis, 1913
photographer, Alice Klauber at the Windmill, courtesy of the Klauber
At the time a well known life sustaining waterhole in the Arizona
. . . 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
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.
Alices 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.
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 days 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.