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Portraits of El Alisal Visitors by Charles Fletcher Lummis

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Lummis with a few of his admirers, El Alisal, 1928. Courtesy of The Autry National Center.

As we've discovered in our exploration into Highland Park, Charles Fletcher Lummis was a man who wore many hats, literally and figuratively. Among many other roles, he was City Editor of Los Angeles Times, librarian at the L.A. Public Library, founder of the Southwest Museum, Indian rights activist, magazine publisher, and home builder. He had quite a unique fashion sense as well.

Every year in June, the Northeast Los Angeles community celebrates his life and legacy at the annual Lummis Day Festival, taking place at various locations around Highland Park, including Lummis' own home El Alisal. You can find more information by visiting their website.

El Alisal was a magnet for a "rainbow of cultural traditions." Musicians, poets, writers, and artists gathered at the Arroyo Seco-adjacent home for salon-like parties, which he dubbed "noises." A peek into The Autry National Center's online archives reveals a who's-who of L.A.'s bohemian culture who had visited El Alisal, often sitting for a portrait in front of Lummis' own camera. If Lummis Day were held during Lummis' lifetime, these are the intellectuals and eccentrics who likely would have attended the festival.

 

Here's a look at some of the visitors to El Alisal. The following portraits were all taken by Charles Lummis himself:

Archaeologist and anthropologist Adolph Bandelier explored the U.S. Southwest with Lummis. He named his son Amado Bandelier Lummis in tribute to his friend. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Archaeologist and anthropologist Adolph Bandelier explored the U.S. Southwest with Lummis. He named his son Amado Bandelier Lummis in tribute to his friend. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Arthur Farwell was a composer and music publisher who worked with Lummis in collecting and publishing Native American melodies and songs. 1904. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Arthur Farwell was a composer and music publisher who worked with Lummis in collecting and publishing Native American melodies and songs. 1904. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Edward Borein was one of the leading artists of Western Scene painting. A close friend of Lummis, Borein married his wife Lucille at El Alisal. 1921. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Edward Borein was one of the leading artists of Western Scene painting. A close friend of Lummis, Borein married his wife Lucille at El Alisal. 1921. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Author and Naturalist Ernest Thompton Seton was one of the pioneers of the Boy Scouts of America. 1901. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Author and Naturalist Ernest Thompton Seton was one of the pioneers of the Boy Scouts of America. 1901. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Yiorgos 'Greek George' Caralambo was a camel driver whose farmhouse in present day West Hollywood was a frequent hideout for notorious Mexican bandito Tiburcio Vasquez. 1903. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Yiorgos 'Greek George' Caralambo was a camel driver whose farmhouse in present day West Hollywood was a frequent hideout for notorious Mexican bandito Tiburcio Vasquez. 1903. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Renowned naturalist John Muir, the 'Father of the National Parks,' was a contributor to Lummis' magazines. 1905. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Renowned naturalist John Muir, the 'Father of the National Parks,' was a contributor to Lummis' magazines. 1905. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Broadway actor Louise Wakelee Elliot in 1909. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Broadway actor Louise Wakelee Elliot in 1909. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Artist Maynard Dixon was mentored by Lummis, who encouraged the young Dixon to travel outside of California to the Southwest. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Artist Maynard Dixon was mentored by Lummis, who encouraged the young Dixon to travel outside of California to the Southwest. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Novelist and ethnographer Contance Goddard DuBois was a contributor to Out West, edited by Lummis. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Novelist and ethnographer Contance Goddard DuBois was a contributor to Out West, edited by Lummis. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Painter and photographer William Henry Jackson was renowned for his images of the American West. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Painter and photographer William Henry Jackson was renowned for his images of the American West. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
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Procopio Montoya from the Isleta Pueblo reservation in New Mexico came to Los Angeles to help Lummis build his home. Also a musician, Montoya's music was preserved by Lummis with his wax cylinder recorder. He was later shot to death at El Alisal during a fight with a houseguest. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Guitarist Rosendo Uruchurtu accompanied many of the musicians who were recorded by Lummis at El Alisal. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center
Guitarist Rosendo Uruchurtu accompanied many of the musicians who were recorded by Lummis at El Alisal. | Photo by Charles Lummis courtesy of The Autry National Center

 

Snapshots from El Alisal:

Naturalist John Burroughs with Lummis in 1921. | Courtesy of The Autry National Center
Naturalist John Burroughs with Lummis in 1921. | Courtesy of The Autry National Center
Novelist and screenwriter Lorna Moon, 1926. | Courtesy of The Autry National Center
Novelist and screenwriter Lorna Moon, 1926. | Courtesy of The Autry National Center
Novelist Vincente Blasco Ibanez's most well known work was 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. | Courtesy of The Autry National Center
Novelist Vincente Blasco Ibanez's most well known work was 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. | Courtesy of The Autry National Center
Scottish soprano Mary Garden, 1921. | Courtesy of The Autry National Center
Scottish soprano Mary Garden, 1921. | Courtesy of The Autry National Center