About the Edward H. Davis Collection of Indian Photographs and Drawings


Edward H. Davis (1862-1951) was a long-time resident of Mesa Grande who documented, photographed, studied, and wrote about Indian tribes throughout San Diego County, the Southwest, and Mexico. Over 5,000 images from the E.H. Davis Collection are available online which portray the people, places, and events Davis captured while living in San Diego County and traveling abroad. The bulk of the material in this collection spans from 1903 to 1947 and includes photographs, negatives, lantern slides, photographic postcards, and field notebook pages.

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The San Diego History Center strives to provide the most accurate information about these images. We rely on identifying information found in notes on the backs of the photographs, negative envelopes, field notebooks, and associated collections. However, some images remain unidentified or may be listed incorrectly.

We value your input and would appreciate your help in identifying the people, places, and subjects represented in the images in this database. If you have any corrections or additional information to share about a particular image, please click the “Submit a comment about this record” link below each catalog record.


A special thanks goes to the Indian Advisory Committee and all the tribal members who attended the Community Meetings and supported the project. We also appreciate the help and guidance provided by the Scholarly Advisory Committee.

The Edward H. Davis Collection website was funded in part by a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services. Additional funding was provided by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Project partner Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) provided considerable assistance in the creation of the online database and technical support over the course of the project.