Item #7543 “W[illiam]. A. White Artist Raton New Mexico.” [Five photographs of the celebration of San Geronimo Day in Taos Pueblo.]. William A. White, photog.
“W[illiam]. A. White Artist Raton New Mexico.” [Five photographs of the celebration of San Geronimo Day in Taos Pueblo.]
“W[illiam]. A. White Artist Raton New Mexico.” [Five photographs of the celebration of San Geronimo Day in Taos Pueblo.]
“W[illiam]. A. White Artist Raton New Mexico.” [Five photographs of the celebration of San Geronimo Day in Taos Pueblo.]
“W[illiam]. A. White Artist Raton New Mexico.” [Five photographs of the celebration of San Geronimo Day in Taos Pueblo.]

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White, William A., photog.

“W[illiam]. A. White Artist Raton New Mexico.” [Five photographs of the celebration of San Geronimo Day in Taos Pueblo.]

Raton, New Mexico, [ca. 1890]. 5 silver bromide prints, 6” x 8”, on paperboard mounts, 7.75” x 10”. One image credited in the negative, “W[illiam]. A. White Artist Raton New Mexico.” CONDITION: Very good, strong tonality, one photo with tiny stain in the lower margin, a few small spots of discoloration at edges of another photo; moderate wear to boards.

A lively and evocative group of five images showing the events of San Geronimo Day at Taos Pueblo by the western photographer William A. White, who was active in both New Mexico and Colorado.

On 29 and 30 September, Taos Pueblo—the ancient settlement of the Taos-speaking Puebloan people—celebrates the Pueblo’s patron saint San Geronimo (or St. Jerome) with San Geronimo Eve Vespers and San Geronimo Day. Feast Days, introduced through Spanish colonization, represent the celebration of the Patron Saints of Catholicism; however, San Geronimo Day coincides with Pueblo religious traditions, resulting in a blend of observances. An integral part of Pueblo culture, San Geronimo Feast Day festivities begin on 29 September with a sundown dance, followed by Vespers in San Geronimo church. On San Geronimo Day there are foot races and a pole climb. The event celebrates harvest, and there is often a trade fair with crafts and food for sale. Typical feast day activities include eating, visiting with family and friends, and enjoying the traditional dances that are open to the public. Today, no photography is allowed at the celebration.

The photos offered here capture several moments of San Geronimo Day festivities, including a procession comprising Pueblo people on horseback, horse-drawn wagons, a marching band, flags, and more. The most dramatic image shows a foot-race with hundreds of spectators watching on the sides of the racing path, and Taos Pueblo’s multi-story adobe buildings looming in the distance (where people can be seen perched). Two Pueblo men run in the direction of the camera while two other men, their backs turned, run to meet them, perhaps in a relay race. The runners wear feathers in their hair and are barefoot. In other images, Pueblo women, children and men are seen dressed in traditional outfits and hats (some with flowers); wrapped in ponchos; holding American flags and flowers, etc. Two shots picture adobe buildings more closely. In one of these, white spectators watch from wagons in the foreground, while in the other a Pueblo man in the foreground wears sheepskin leggings and his bare back appears to be painted. One image shows a procession, including Pueblo men on horseback, as it passes by Taos Hotel.

Photographer William A. White was apparently first active in 1880 in Rosita, New Mexico, located some forty miles from Taos Pueblo. From 1880 to 1881, he worked in various Colorado locales such as Wet Mountain Valley, Rosita, Querida, Florence and Canon City, and from 1882 to 1884 was located at 571 Larimer in Denver. Following his time in Colorado, he returned to New Mexico, establishing a studio in Raton, operating there from 1885 to 1902. He is known to have traveled in the northeast quarter of the state and to have visited Springer, Elizabethtown, Clayton, and Cerrillos, as well as Folsom, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. From May to June 1890, he was a partner with E. F. Demmon in White & Demmon in Springer and Santa Fe. During the 1880s and 1890s, he was also a partner in White & Colpas, stereo photographers in Raton.

A scarce and appealing group of images documenting San Geronimo Day in Taos Pueblo.

REFERENCES: Mautz, Carl. Biographies of Western Photographers (Nevada City, CA: Carl Mautz Publishing, 1997), pp. 211, 417; “San Geronimo Eve Vespers & San Geronimo Day” at Taos Pueblo online.

Item #7543

Price: $2,750.00

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