James, George Wharton, 1858-1923

Alternative names
Birth 1858-09-27
Death 1923-11-08

Biographical notes:

Lecturer and writer on the Southwest. Author of numerous works, including Picturesque Pala (Pasadena, Calif. : Radiant Life Press, c1916)

From the description of Letter : San Diego, Calif., to [Edward E.] Ayer, 1916 June 24. (Newberry Library). WorldCat record id: 38133245

George Wharton James was born on September 27, 1858 to a lower class family in Gainsborough, England, and died as a wealthy man on November 8, 1923 in San Francisco, California. He grew up studying literature and poetry from his father's not insignificant library. The teenager mouthing poems before a mirror in an English industrial town would go on to enthrall overflow audiences at the San Diego Exposition of 1916. Away from the podium, he would earn large reputations as an anthropologist, explorer, and social reformer. Above all he would write, producing much froth, such as "The Story of Captain: The Horse with the Human Brain." On the other end of the spectrum were many works on the Southwest such as "The Wonders of the Colorado Desert" or "The Grand Canyon of Arizona: How to See It." Cline Library possesses many of these works.

From the guide to the George Wharton James, 1903., (Cline Library. Special Collections and Archives Department.)

Author of books on the American Southwest; photographer.

From the description of Photograph album, ca. 1898. (Southern Methodist University). WorldCat record id: 17682181

Biographical note: Writer and lecturer; George Wharton James wrote more than 40 books and numerous articles and lectures about California, the Southwest, and Native Americans.

From the description of Writings, 1885-1918. (Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division). WorldCat record id: 317554707

Most of the photographs in this collection were taken by George Wharton James, California writer and promoter of the West.

From the guide to the George Wharton James Photograph Collection, 1890-1909, (University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research)

George Wharton James (1858-1923), an author and lecturer of the Southwest, preached on the Methodist circuit until 1889, when he left the church and turned to the desert to recover his health. He explored the Grand Canyon, studied the Indians, and was made a member of several tribes. In his later years he lectured on the Chautauqua circuit, and he wrote many books and articles on the Soutwest. He also edited The craftsman (1904-05) and Out west, formerly called Land of sunshine (1912-14).

From the description of Papers of George Wharton James, 1871-1921. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 82219739

George Wharton James was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1858, was ordained as a Methodist minister, and came to the United States in 1881, settling first in Nevada, then in California. Following his acrimonious 1889 divorce, James traveled through Arizona and New Mexico, and eventually wrote over 40 books and pamphlets on the American West, celebrating in particular the area's natural bounty and the lives of its indigenous population. James was also a popular lecturer. he died in San Francisco in 1923.

From the description of George Wharton James letters, 1902-1923. (California State Library). WorldCat record id: 420627290

Author of books about the western United States.

From the description of A vacation with Joseph LeConte, [1888] (University of Nevada, Reno). WorldCat record id: 40643459

George W. James was an author, lecturer, and photographer. He was well-known for his study of Native Americans. He lived in Pasedena, California.

From the description of Native American photograph, circa 1870-1923. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 367933743


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  • Indians of North America--Photographs
  • Booksellers and bookselling--Accounting
  • Hopi Indians--Rites and ceremonies
  • Navajo Indians
  • Physiognomy
  • Tourism--Southwest, New--History
  • Church buildings--New Mexico
  • Indians of North America--Anthropometry
  • Missions--History--20th century--Sources
  • Acoma Indians
  • Autographs--Collectors and collecting
  • Correspondence
  • Zuni Indians
  • Pueblo Indians
  • Periodical editors--Archives
  • Hopi Indians--Photographs
  • Fasts and feasts--Photographs
  • Manuscripts, American
  • Indian art--North America
  • Trading posts--Arizona--Keams Canyon
  • Photographers
  • Snake dance
  • Pueblos--New Mexico
  • Summer school
  • Authors, American--20th century--Archives
  • Indians of North America
  • Hopi Indians
  • Authors, American--Biography


not available for this record


  • Nevada (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California--Pala (as recorded)
  • California--Pa sadena (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • California--San Diego (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Arizona (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Arizona (as recorded)
  • Surprise Valley (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Southwest, New (as recorded)