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Explorers in Eden

Pueblo Indians and the Promised Land

Jerold S. Auerbach

Publication Year: 2008

Explorers in Eden uncovers an intriguing array of diaries, letters, memoirs, photographs, paintings, postcards, advertisements, anthropological field studies, and scholarly monographs. They reveal how Anglo-Americans disenchanted with modern urban industrial society developed a deep and rich fascination with pueblo culture through their biblical associations.

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Introduction: American Holy Land

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pp. 1-14

From their earliest encounters with Pueblo Indians in New Mexico Territory, Anglo-American visitors chose biblical images to express their sense of wonder and enchantment. Instantly and reflexively, they tapped into the deepest source of American self-understanding: here, surely, was the last lingering remnant of the newly promised land, the biblical...

PART ONE: A Man’s World

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pp. 15

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1: Cushing in Zuni

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pp. 17-43

In the fall of 1875, John Wesley Powell, an experienced explorer of the Southwest, conducted a geological survey for the United States government. He journeyed through the Grand Canyon to the isolated Hopi pueblos in Arizona. In Oraibi, where he encountered “unsightly” homes and “filthy” streets, the people were “very hospitable” and women...

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2: Visitors and Visions

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pp. 44-71

If Cushing was unique, he was nonetheless accompanied to Zuni Pueblo, and then followed to the Southwest, by a fascinating array of Americans who were engaged in their own personal, professional, and entrepreneurial quests. Matilda Stevenson, a fellow member of the Zuni expedition, was Cushing’s formidable adversary and a conspicuous...

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3: Representing the Southwest

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pp. 72-89

Nowhere else in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century were Indians as evocative of a lost American paradise as in the Southwest. Here was the last vestige of an American Arcadia of small villages and hardworking people, living close to the power and wonder of nature, inexorably slipping away. In the pueblos, anthropologist...

PART TWO: A Woman’s Place

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pp. 91

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4: Salon in Taos

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pp. 93-119

One of the first Anglo-Americans to visit the Hopi pueblos, Captain John G. Bourke of the United States Cavalry, had observed that the typical Pueblo girl was “initiated at an early age into the mysteries of the kitchen. . . . By the time she is fifteen, or even at an earlier age, she is considered nubile, and fairly entered in the matrimonial market.” Once married...

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5: Papa Franz’s Family

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pp. 120-144

For Franz Boas, cultural relativism became a scholarly truth that assuaged his discomfort as a Jew. Born in 1858, Boas was the child of lapsed Orthodox parents who, he subsequently wrote, “had broken through the shackles of dogma.” Although his father, Boas recalled, “retained an emotional affection for the ceremonial of his...

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6: Feminist Utopia

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pp. 145-159

Long after Franz Boas’s students left the Southwest, a new generation of feminist scholars rediscovered Pueblo Indians, exploring the lives of the female anthropologists who had studied them, and deconstructing the romantic imagery of Pueblo culture that the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad had once popularized. Feminist anthropologists...

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pp. 160-167

During the 1930s, the romantic appeal of the pueblos was severely depleted by the devastation of the Depression. Fewer Americans could afford the luxury of travel; and newer heroic victims of capitalist failure, such as the “Okies” who were memorialized by John Steinbeck, attracted public sympathy. Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and other...

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pp. 168-172

Just moments into our first morning in Santa Fe, as we wandered through a maze of adobe buildings under a blazing summer sun, Susan turned to me and asked, “Doesn’t this remind you of Jerusalem?” Her observation precisely expressed my own inchoate feeling that we had stepped outside the boundaries of the United States, beyond “American” culture...

Manuscript and Photographic Collections

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pp. 173-174


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pp. 175-195


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pp. 196-203

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About the Author

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pp. 205

Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of Labor and Liberty (1966); Unequal Justice (1976), a New York Times Noteworthy Book; Justice Without Law? (1983); Rabbis and Lawyers (1990); Jacob’s Voices (1996); and...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780826339478
E-ISBN-10: 0826339476
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826339461
Print-ISBN-10: 0826339468

Page Count: 213
Illustrations: 18 halftones
Publication Year: 2008