Quarter-leather album, 9.5 x 12 in., containing 97 large (almost all 7" x 9" or 8" x 10") black and white photographs mounted one per side on 43 leaves, with the final photo on the rear pastedown. Most are affixed to the page at only one edge, so the backs can be seen; approximately 20 are glued down at all corners or edges. Fifty of the photographs are credited on the verso to Chuck Abbott, and 12 are credited to his wife, Esther Henderson. Twenty-three are either uncredited or undetermined because they are glued down (we suspect some of these are also by Abbott and Henderson). The remainder are credited to Barry Goldwater (two photos of Navajo women), Norman G. Wallace, Joseph Miller, and Jack Breed (all of whom contributed to Arizona Highways), as well as Grace M. Sparkes (a prominent Prescott, AZ photographer), John Stryker (renowned as an early rodeo photographer), and a few other professional photographers. The subject matter can be divided into three main themes: Landscape (Aravaipa Canyon, Pajarito Mountains, Superstition Mountains, Kaibab Plateau, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Oak Creek Canyon, Moenkopi Wash, Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, Canyon of the Little Colorado, and others); Ranching and Rodeo (Identified ranches and ranchers, including Red Myrick of Rancho Grande, Nogales; H.H. Guild of Rancho del Quivari, Tucson; El Rancho Robles at Oracle; Kenyon Ranch at Tubac; Cross Triangle Ranch; roping and other action shots from various rodeos; Doris Dayton, 1942 University of Arizona Rodeo Queen, on her rearing mount; cowboys gathered around a campfire, etc.); and Native American (portraits of Navajo, Hopi, and Papago people). There are also images of Mission San Jose de Tumacacori and of an unidentified archaeological site, possibly Canyon de Chelly, as well as a few portraits of interesting individuals, such as Quong Gu Kee, a Chinese immigrant settled in Tombstone in the 1880s and ran the famous Can Can Restaurant there for decades, and John Swain Slaughter, an African-American cowhand who was born in slavery in Texas and came to Tombstone with rancher John Slaughter in 1879.
Chuck Abbott (1894-1973), the self-styled "Cowboy Photographer" whose work predominates this album, was hired in 1939 by the Tucson Sunshine Club to take photographs that would help draw tourists and investors to the city. Shortly thereafter, he met and married fellow photographer Esther Henderson (1911-2008). Henderson was the first photographer to receive paid assignments from Arizona Highways (beginning in 1938) and is credited with being one of two (the other being Josef Muench) whose work elevated the magazine to national prominence. The talented couple worked as a photographic team for the next three decades, spending much time on Indian reservations and remote natural areas, and producing dozens of spreads for Arizona Highways and other publications. Relatively little of their unpublished work remains, however, because, as Henderson explained in an interview in 2006, "the negatives just slipped through our fingers because we were so focused on making a living at that time" and, after they moved to California later in life, "I put [the prints] on a shelf and the termites ate them." This album was likely compiled by someone closely associated with Arizona Highways, who obtained the prints at the time they were produced (we were told when purchasing that it has belonged to Barry Goldwater, but have no evidence to substantiate this claim). Unfortunately, it was not assembled using archival materials, so there are some condition issues. Many prints have a line of toning visible on the image at the edge where it is tipped into the album, and many have small spots of abrasion at one corner where there was contact with a small typed label on the facing page. Otherwise, the photographs are sharp, clear, and often captivating. A link to additional images is available upon request.