Tag Archives: mines

Map Musings: Unveiling the Lenon Collection

13 Dec

In early December the Library and Archives welcomed what may be the single largest archival collection to be acquired in at least 50 years – and perhaps in the history of the archives! We are excited to announce the newest collection at the Arizona Historical Society: The Robert Lenon Map Collection! This collection will be an amazing resource for people interested in mining and minerals, geography, family and property history, and Arizona history as a whole. We will post periodically about this new addition, including our adventures in transporting a 600-cubic-foot map collection from Patagonia to the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson, so keep an eye out here for more information!

 Part of the Robert Lenon Map Collection in its new home at AHS-Tucson. It’s in full view in one of our galleries, so if you come by the museum you will get to see it in person and watch the progress as we begin to process it!

Part of the Robert Lenon Map Collection in its new home at AHS-Tucson. It’s in full view in one of our galleries, so if you come by the museum you will get to see it in person and watch the progress as we begin to process it!

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Montana Mine Correspondence

22 Nov
I love the letterhead symbol on this one. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Honestly, I just love the letterhead symbol on this one. If you look closely you can see parts of a tank. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Lately I’ve been working my way through the correspondence series of the Montana Mine Collection. The majority of the correspondence, outside of that which is related to the financial business of the mine, is actually from a later period of the mine’s existence, when it was owned by a Mr. Hugo Miller. Most of this is the Miller family’s personal correspondence, offering an interesting insight into the lives of this entrepreneurial southern Arizona family.

As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Living with a miner is never easy! As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Miller owned an assay office in Nogales and mined on the side. It was not uncommon in the past for men and women with minds for business and an eye for good opportunities to work a mining claim into their business investments. Even now it’s not unusual for private citizens here in Arizona to have ownership of a small mine in the area that they work on periodically as they have free time. The letter you see below is an excerpt from a letter from Mrs. Gladys Miller to a friend and mentions the reality of living with the sort of jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur of a man that Mr. Miller was. From the excerpt you can tell that the Millers had great business acumen, even taking  boarders in their house to make some extra money. This correspondence suggests that the Miller family was a hard working one.

The letter below was interesting because of the context of the attached newspaper clipping. Again, this is a rare glimpse into the daily realities of living in past times. In this case, wartime rationing takes center stage as a friend, Edna, writes to ask whether the newspaper article is true and then asks her friend, Gladys, to purchase extra Nylons for her! Rationing during wartime meant people had to get creative in their daily lives to continue on as normally as possible. Having a friend who could easily get across the border to purchase stockings in Mexico definitely would have been an advantage. This is just another example of how people worked together and created good relationships during times of hardship.

As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

A clever way to circumvent wartime rationing. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

These letters are all great examples of how the correspondence in a collection can yield really interesting insights into the past. Whether it’s fun snippets such as these I’ve shared above or more serious historical connections, correspondence is always a treasure trove of historical moments.

Eagle-Picher Mining Maps

4 Oct

The kids are back in school, the last of the summer days are winding down and we can all see cooler weather not so far ahead, but here at the Arizona Historical Society we haven’t slowed down one bit!  We continue to answer your research needs as well as continuing our work on collections behind the scenes. Recently I completed one of the smaller series in my Montana Mine collection. This was a series containing maps and drawings. I didn’t have much to put in this series. There were only around 10 folders of maps in the entire collection, but they were quite striking. They’re all hand drawn and colored on a typical lined paper. They show different levels of the mine and although I’m not a mining expert myself, you don’t have to be one to enjoy how beautiful these are.

Something goes here.

MS 1473, Montana Mine Collection, Series 5. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Something else goes here

MS 1473, Montana Mine Collection, Series 5. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

The Note in a Bottle: A Tiny Tale of the Lost Dutchman Mine

6 Sep
From: Ephemera-Mines and Mineral Resources-Lost Mines-Arizona-Lost Dutchman. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

From: Ephemera-Mines and Mineral Resources-Lost Mines-Arizona-Lost Dutchman. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

We often get research questions on the Lost Dutchman Mine. The allure of lost mines captivates many people and every now and then we’ll get a call or visit from someone either interested in lost mines in general or someone who’s interested in trying to find a lost mine. The Lost Dutchman Mine is definitely the most popular lost mine request. The Lost Dutchman Mine has a very long and interesting story.

This mine, located somewhere in the Superstition Mountains, is supposed to be rich with gold ore. It was discovered by a man named Jacob Waltz in the late 1800s. Waltz came out of the mountains with a significant amount of gold, telling tales of a rich gold deposit he had found. Unfortunately, Waltz died without ever revealing the location of this gold mine. Over the years thousands of people have searched for the mine and hundreds have claimed to have found it. Although records exist to prove that Jacob Waltz himself was real, many of the details around the Lost Dutchman Mine remain mired in legend. Countless theories swirl around the location and origins of this mine.

Researching a reference question on the Lost Dutchman Mine, I happened upon the newspaper article you see above (sadly there was no legible year on it). The article was found in the Ephemera File “Mines and Mineral Resources-Lost Mines-Arizona-Lost Dutchman.” This is the first note in a bottle story I’ve come across in the archives here in Tucson and it gave me a good chuckle. Most likely, as the Deputy Sheriff says, it was a prank, but part of me can’t help but imagine poor Jake Lee stuck on the Salt River with a broken leg. I hope he got out okay.

If you want to read more about the Lost Dutchman Mine you can come into the Arizona Historical Society at our Tucson or Tempe locations (we both have information on this mine) and take a look at any materials we have. You can also check out the Apache Junction Public Library’s excellent History and Bibliography on the Lost Dutchman Mine for a brief history and an excellent suggested reading list. Happy Mine Hunting!

The Story of the Massive Map

29 Aug
To take a look at this incredible map in person, come into the archives and ask for: G4331 H1 C5 1882 B3. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos or materials seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

The handwritten note on the back of this map. Apparently it was part of a court case. To take a look at this incredible map in person, come into the archives and ask for: G4331 H1 C5 1882 B3. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos or materials seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Sometimes at work you find something too good to be true. That is what happened with the map you see in the photos below. A while ago, a patron came in and asked to take a look at this map. We had never pulled it before, so we didn’t quite know what to expect. I was confused when I found it was folded up and not fully encapsulated. Why not just encapsulate the entire thing? It didn’t make any sense to me. Then I slipped it out of its encapsulation and proceeded to unfold it for our patron. I unfolded it and unfolded it and unfolded it and then I had to ask for the other archivist to help me. This map was huge! By the time we had gotten it completely unfolded it took up two whole tables in our Reading Room and part of a third table. So far this is definitely the largest map I’ve opened in my time here at AHS. None of us, not even the patron who requested the map, realized it was going to be this big. Measurements of maps are included in the online catalog but it’s one thing to see it in type and another thing completely to see it all laid out on tables in front of you.

This map was actually part of a court case between the Tranquility Mining Company and the Head Center Consolidated Mining Company disputing a mining claim. The map itself dates back to May 1882 and is a pen and ink drawing on tracing linen. This map is a massive, beautiful reminder of those bygone days when Arizona was a major mining destination for individuals running small operations as well as bigger companies. Arizona has retained its position as a mining state, but the romanticized history of the older mining days still holds a special allure.

A view of the front of this map. To take a look at this incredible map in person, come into the archives and ask for: G4331 H1 C5 1882 B3. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos or materials seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

A view of the front of this map. To take a look at this incredible map in person, come into the archives and ask for: G4331 H1 C5 1882 B3. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos or materials seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Another photo of the map. Almost fully unfolded. To take a look at this incredible map in person, come into the archives and ask for: G4331 H1 C5 1882 B3. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos or materials seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Another photo of the map. Almost fully unfolded. To take a look at this incredible map in person, come into the archives and ask for: G4331 H1 C5 1882 B3. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos or materials seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.