Scope and arrangement
Dellenbaugh's papers document the Colorado River expedition of 1871-1873, and his ongoing professional and personal interest in the land formations and inhabitants of the American West. The collection consists of correspondence, a Powell expedition diary, manuscripts and drafts of his published and unpublished writings, research notes, some of his sketches and others by his friend Edward L. Henry, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other printed matter.
Much of the collection concerns the Colorado River and the history of its exploration, Native American tribes of the West and Southwest, and famous American explorers. There is little documentation of Dellenbaugh's personal life, apart from a small amount of material pertaining to his vacation community in Cragsmoor, New York, and a few manuscripts of stories and essays written by his wife, Harriet Otis Dellenbaugh.
The Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh papers are arranged in five series:
- 1894, 1899, 1907-1915, 1926-1934, n.d.1 folder
This single folder of correspondence consists primarily of letters Dellenbaugh exchanged with publishers and museums. The former are related to book publication; the latter to ethnographic and linguistic information he sought from museum specialists. Also included is information on paintings he made for the Museum of the American Indian, a few letters in which he discusses his travels in the West, his involvement with the Explorers Club in New York City, and the club's gift of a bell to Admiral R.E. Byrd.
The publishing correspondence, predominantly from Henry Holt and Company, concerns a book Dellenbaugh was contracting to write featuring biographies of leading American explorers. While the book was ultimately not published, his notes and research (found in series II, Writings) were likely used for his 1905 work, Breaking the wilderness; The story of the conquest of the far West, from the wanderings of Cabeza de Vaca, to the first descent of the Colorado by Powell, and the completion of the Union Pacific railway, with particular account of the exploits of trappers and traders, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.
There is also a small amount of correspondence exchanged with New York Public Library director Harry M. Lydenberg regarding Dellenbaugh's donations to the library and common misconceptions regarding the second Powell expedition. For example, he informed Lydenberg that he had not traveled the entirety of the Grand Canyon by river, but rather exited at Kanab Canyon and continued with the party to survey by land. He also reiterated the assertion made in his 1908 book A Canyon Voyage that the measurements, drawings and photographs credited to the first expedition in Major Powell's Exploration of the Colorado River of the West, 1869-1872, were actually produced by the second expedition.
Of further interest in the Dellenbaugh-Lydenberg correspondence is the informal report entitled "Data on the Killing of Three of Major Powell's Men by the Shewits Indians in 1869 on the Shewits Plateau," which posits the location of the murders of the Howland brothers and William Dunn, quoting sources identifying a group of Shewits as responsible.
The originals of the Dellenbaugh-Lydenberg correspondence are held in the collection dossier file, and are represented here in photocopy form.
Other correspondents include writer and publisher Roland Holt and Admiral Richard E. Byrd.
- 1880-1934, n.d.2 boxes and 3 volumes
Dellenbaugh's writing, often very adventuresome and romantic in tone, predominantly focuses on the American West, Native Americans, the second Powell Expedition, and explorers and exploration in general. The writings consist of short essays, his diary kept during the 1871-1872 expedition, manuscripts of both published and unpublished works, and the notes and drafts used to support these works.
His diary of the second Powell Expedition, covering April 1871 through April 1873, is identified as having been written in pencil and later traced over with ink. Various additions, however, were clearly placed in the volume at a later date. Among these are newspaper clippings of Dellenbaugh's letters on the expedition sent to the Buffalo Express; his own occasional editorial and explanatory comments tipped into or written into a blank space in the volume (these latter are dated ); a 1924 reproduction of a Zuni village photograph; an 1888 letter of reference from John Wesley Powell to Dellenbaugh confirming Dellenbaugh's participation in the second expedition; and an extract from fellow-participant A.H. Thompson's diary.
Also included in the diary are several of his own sketches, and seven photographs taken by E.O Beaman and C.W. Savage on the expedition, featuring geological formations, a Hopi village, Brigham Young's residences in Salt Lake City, and the expedition party itself, in their boats just prior to departure. The diary ends with a list of the expedition members, delineated into their boat crews; a list of the canyons of the Green and Colorado rivers; and a table of these canyons and their various physical attributes (descent in feet, highest walls, direction, number of rapids, etc.).
The diary covers the expedition in daily entries. Dellenbaugh described the physical rigors of the expedition, including sleeping exposed to the elements, negotiating snowdrifts when on land, running dangerous rapids and portaging their boats around the impassable ones, and their hunger as supplies ran low. He noted various setbacks along the way, such as wolves stealing their jerky supplies, his companions' tendency towards falling into the river, and the inevitability of broken equipment and abandoned boats. Dellenbaugh also wrote about the lighter aspects of the journey, from pillow fights amongst the men, to the popularity of "Gunther's candy," which was such a hit that, at one point, the men threatened to halt unless they could have it after every meal. He wrote about the natural beauty they encountered, geological formations they witnessed and named, and evidence of and encounters with Native Americans along their voyage.
The bound manuscript for Colorado River Expedition, 1871-1872, handwritten and with numerous editorial corrections, was composed using Dellenbaugh's own diary as reference. In addition, he noted in 1922 that the diaries of Almon H. Thompson and John F. Steward were useful to him in producing this volume. These diaries can also be consulted in the Manuscripts and Archives Division.
Also among the Colorado River expedition-related materials in Dellenbaugh's papers is a bound volume of proofs for the 1926 second edition of his book A Canyon Voyage. It includes a number of handwritten and pasted-in editorial changes and additions. The most substantial of Dellenbaugh's fictional writings present in the collection is the story Helen of Hoboken, of which a synopsis and several manuscript drafts are available. The unpublished novella is a pro-Prohibition adventure and love story, full of intrigue, involving a prison escape, an airplane crash onto a Navajo reservation, bootlegging by yacht, and a kidnapping.
The My Story of Cragsmoor materials, were collected by Dellenbaugh for a history of his favorite vacation town in New York. Included are drafts; notes; an incomplete run of the Cragsmoor Journal from July 1 through September 15, 1914; playbills and related matter from the Cragsmoor Barnstormers Theatre, in whose productions both Dellenbaugh and his wife performed; and newspaper clippings. The photographs from this section have been moved to series IV. Personal Miscellany and arranged with the photographs therein.
Dellenbaugh's notes and research for his writings consist of handwritten and typed notes and printed matter he collected on explorers, the Colorado River and American West, and Native Americans. The photographs of Hopi dancers previously included with these materials have been moved to series IV. Personal miscellany and arranged with other photographs and negatives.
- 1899-1932, n.d.0.5 boxes
The Eastern Association on Indian Affairs (EAIA) materials stem from Dellenbaugh's involvement as a director on the board of the organization. These items consist of correspondence from the organization's vice-president, Corinna Lindon Smith; press releases and other printed matter related to Native Americans and Congressional legislation; and miscellaneous printed matter and newspaper clippings.
Corinna Lindon Smith's correspondence, of which the majority of letters are copies of the originals, were presumably forwarded to Dellenbaugh for his review as a member of the board. Her letters pertain to the compensation awards granted under the Pueblo Lands Act of 1924 and appeals court decision of 1931, questions of water rights, relief to Navajos due to severe weather, and the creation of "Indian trust estates."
The press releases and printed matter include an analysis co-published by the EAIA and the New Mexico Association of Indian Affairs, which examined John Collier's appearance before the Senate sub-committee of Indian Affairs in January and February of 1931, and found him to have misrepresented the Native Americans' cause; and two Department of the Interior press releases from March 1932, attacking John Collier as a "fanatical Indian enthusiast." Also included are copies of memos, government publications and reports on Congressional hearings; and miscellaneous clippings and publications on Native Americans, their cultures and languages. Finally, the printed matter contains a small file of flyers and pamphlets from the Society of the American Indians, ca. 1913.
- 1871-1935, 1951, n.d.
Dellenbaugh's personal miscellany contains photographs, negatives, drawings, and newspaper clippings.
The photographs are images of both Dellenbaugh and his wife; a photo from the U.S. Topographical and Geological Survey of the Valley of the Colorado labeled "Canyon of Desolation, Green River, Utah, 1887;" images dating from 1884 of Hopi dancers and women at First Mesa in Arizona, and a "squaw man," from Fort Defiance, Arizona.
Additional photographs and images include those related to the town of Cragsmoor, New York. These consist of photographs of people and places in the town, the cast of a Barnstormers play, and Dellenbaugh's friend Edward L. Henry, in addition to sketches by Henry.
Newspaper clippings on Dellenbaugh include articles on the Powell Expedition, obituaries, and other miscellaneous writings.
The miscellaneous file consists of clipped quotations; brightly-colored watercolors of Hindu gods, of unknown provenance; and the illustration for and lyrics to a song by Dellenbaugh.
- 1902, 1915, 1933, n.d.2 folders
Harriet Rogers Otis Dellenbaugh was born in Brooklyn, ca. 1856, and married Dellenbaugh in 1885. They would later have one son. She had an interest in the theatre from an early age, and became a professional actress following their marriage. Mrs. Dellenbaugh passed away on November 17, 1930.
Her materials consist of the manuscript and a typescript to her story Paul Brower's Mistake, and manuscripts of miscellaneous writings related to her theatre career.
Paul Brower's Mistake is a romantic comedy based on a case of mistaken identity. Her essay "When Dreams Come True" discusses theatre productions she attended as a young girl in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn and moves on to describe the New York theatre scene of 1915. She briefly mentions the Washington Square Players and two Everett Shinn plays they produced. The longer essay, "Behind the Scenes; Stage Entrances and Dressing Rooms Several Decades Ago," is a humorously written description of the life of a traveling actress in the 1890s.
Materials in the miscellaneous printed matter folder consist of a page of sheet music of The Old Shawangunks by Rushmore Wood, and a playbill for a Barnstormers performance from 1933.