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Vest Robinson Papers, 1904 ca.-1976


Overview of the Collection

Creator: Robinson, George Vest, 1886-1918.
Title: Vest Robinson Papers,
Inclusive Dates: 1904 ca.-1976
Quantity: 112 photographic images (prints), 0.1 linear feet textual
Abstract:Photograph portion contain images of life at the Castle Butte Trading Post and Keams Canyon, Arizona (1912-1918); manuscript portion contains news clippings concerning George Vest Robinson's father and Vest's death, and a memoir by Neal Robinson concerning life at the trading post.
Identification: NAU.PH.2016.9
Language: Material in English
Repository: Cline Library. Special Collections and Archives Department
Northern Arizona University
Box 6022
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6022
Phone: 928 523-5551
Fax: 928 523-3770

Biographical Note

George Vest Robinson was born in Easton, Missouri on March 10, 1886. He was raised on a farm in Missouri. His father was an Indian Agent who worked with the Nez Perce Tribe in Idaho. George's father moved the family from Idaho to Pasadena, California where George landed a job with the E. O. Nay Company which was contracted to provide buildings in and around Los Angeles with heating and plumbing. George met Irene Moulton and on May 10, 1907, they married. They had two sons, Neil and Jean.

George had a sister that worked in the Indian Service in Arizona, she told him about the good opportunities that were available in Arizona. He bought a trading post at Castle Butte, Arizona and moved his family. In the spring of 1914, the family arrived in Holbrook, Arizona. Here, they began to learn the ways of the Navajo next hit. Four years later, George bought a store inside the Reservation, at Keams Canyon, forty miles north of Castle Butte. This store catered to both the previous hitNavajo next hit and Hopi tribes in the area. Shortly after purchasing the store, an Influenza Epidemic swept through the population and many of the Native Americans died. George contracted the disease and died on November 3, 1918 in the Keams Canyon hospital.

After his death, George's family sold the stores and livestock and moved back to Pasadena. Irene died in 1969; she was eighty- four years old. Neil Lived until 1986; he was seventy-eight years old. His brother Jean died in 1935 and was only twenty-five years old.

Scope and Content

This collection contains photographs, news clippings, and a memoir that depict life before the Robinson family moved to Castle Butte Trading Post and at the store in Keams Canyon, their time spent their, and what happened after they left.

The photographs focus on the years, 1912 to 1918, that the family was living at Castle Butte and later, Keams Canyon. The photographs contain images of the family, friends, local Native Americans, wildlife, and the stores.

The memoir, written by Neal Robinson, accounts for his paternal grandfather's and his father's dealing with the Native Americans of Idaho and Arizona. It also tells of his experience at the trading posts and of his father's death and what happened afterward.

The news clippings contain a short biography of George Robinson's early visit to his birth home as well as his obituary. Contained in the obituary is a short biography of George's life.


Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for Northern Arizona University, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Related Material

Controlled Access Terms

Personal Name(s)

Family Name(s)

Corporate Name(s)

Geographic Name(s)


Genre Form(s)


Administrative Information

Alternative Form Available

Digital scans of original prints retained by the donor are available upon request.

Preferred Citation

Vest Robinson Papers, MS.493 [Manuscripts]. Special Collections and Archives. Northern Arizona University. Cline Library. Flagstaff, Arizona.

Vest Robinson Papers, NAU.PH.2016.9 [Photographs]. Special Collections and Archives. Northern Arizona University. Cline Library. Flagstaff, Arizona.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Terry Brownell, George Vest Robinson's great-grandaughter, in 2016.

Processing Information

Processed in September of 2016


Container List

NAU.PH.2016.9: Photographs, 1912-1918 112 photographic images (prints)
Castle Butte Trading Post and Keams Canyon Album, 1912-1918
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.1: Castle Butte (This date appeared in the original album. It is possible that Vest and Irene visited Arizona before they moved there), 1912
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.2: Five Finger Butte near Castle Butte, Arizona (our desert home) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.3: Five Finger Butte Dad and Mother Bartering (Vest and Irene Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.4: View taken S.W. from the house (from Castle Butte Trading Post) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.5: Taken on horse back. Note horse's ears. Castle Butte in distance ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.6: Untitled ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.7: Closer view of Castle Butte store ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.8: Scene from the top of Mt. towards house. Not Path. House in distance. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.9: Front of stor. Jot (Stiles) on snow ball. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.10: Visiting previous hitNavajo next hit coming to trade. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.11: At Castle Butte (Irene Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.12: Neal (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.13: Edna Long (teacher) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.14:Jean (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.15: Jean (Robinson) on Hopi's burro ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.16: Thos. Honani with sacks of peaches ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.17: Irene and Neal (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.18: Irene and Jean (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.19: Boys (Jean and Neal Robinson) bring home ducks Daddy (Vest Robinson) shot ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.20: Vest, Irene, Gene (Jean), unknown, Neal Robinson (sitting in car) taken in Pasadena, 1917
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.21:Neal, Jean, and Daddy (Vest Robinson) in Arizona ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.22:Neal (Robinson) 9 years old (born in 1908), 1917
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.23: Jean (Robinson) and his Airdale (Airedale) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.24: Jean (Robinson) at 7 years. Normal (refers to his appearance. In later pictures, he looks puffy and exhibits some of the characteristics of Cushings Syndrome. (Born in 1910)., 1917
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.25: Dogie calf and Toggenburg goat (Neal and Jean Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.26: Gunner (dog),
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.27: Neal (Robinson) with previous hitNavajo's next hit baby ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.28: Jean (Robinson) roping as usual (in background) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.29: Our Spring. Gov. and Mr. [Basil] to the right. Vest (Robinson) inside. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.30:Frank and Ishke [Bitee Clutese] ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.31:Hauling wood for stoves ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.32:Frank ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.33:Atta kai bega's boy-"Christmas" ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.34:Atta kai bega and Christmas ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.35: Hasteen Se [Chahtle], 1912
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.36: Neal (Robinson) and Hasteen Sis' girls ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.37: Hasteen Sis and family ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.38: Hongoheny and family (Flo and Mack) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.39: Hongoheny and family-Summer hogan , 1912
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.40: Adsun Shtelly and daughter ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.41: Hunting for body lice (Jean and Neal Robinson and unknown in background) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.42: Hasteen Gray Mt. and Mrs. Irene (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.43: Load starting out in snow ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.44: Typical Squaw ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.45:Modest maidens ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.46: Visiting previous hitNavajo next hit ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.47: Gunner waiting for a handout. (Jean Robinson and unknown in background) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.48: Jean (Robinson) in night shirt and Hasteen Idel throne. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.49: Old Hasteen Idel throne ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.50: Irene (Robinson, on right), Flo, and Hasteen Idel throne ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.51: Winter born lambs ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.52: Frank's two little boys ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.53: Bob and Navajos in hogan ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.54: Untitled ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.55: previous hitNavajo next hit buck coming on high ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.56: A previous hitNavajo next hit winter hogan. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.57: Mrs. previous hitNavajo next hit now entering the porch ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.58: Little boy on burro ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.59: Trying to get a chance to rope one. Marcus on horse. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.60: He has roped it. Marcus did it! ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.61: Branding at Castle Butte corral. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.62: Two ropes on the cow, ready to stretch her out to brand. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.63: Marcus applying iron. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.64: Another one down. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.65: Stretched out and Marcus applying iron. G.V.'s (George Vest Robinson's) corral. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.66: Branding ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.67: Sheep coming out of corral. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.68: Cow boy stole 29 head previous hitNavajo cattle. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.69: Jot's (Stiles) cattle. Looking toward Chander Springs. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.70: Frank loading wool. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.71: More wool. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.72: Wool ready to be shipped. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.73: Wool in sacks for shipment. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.74: Loading pelts to be sent to R.R. (Neal Robinson in foreground). ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.75:Daddy (Vest Robinson) and Navajos on load of wool. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.76: Crowd at house party (front: Jean Robinson, Vack Left to Right: Irene Robinson, unknown, Neal Robinson, Vest Robinson, Jot Stiles) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.77: Crowd-(Jean and Neal Robisnon are the boys). , 1912
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.78: Vest, Jot and Jean (left to right: Jean and Vest Robinson and Jot Stiles). ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.79: Crowd again. (far left: Vest Robinson, center: Jean and Irene Robinson, far right: Neal Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.80: Hogan for Indian visitors. (far left: Vest Robinson, little boy in center is Neal Robinson). ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.81: At hogan. (far left: Vest and Neal Robinson, second from right: Irene Robinson). ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.82: Washing the china. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.83: Dodge- Marjory (Marjorie Bowles/Stiles) in foreground. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.84: Lovers (Marjorie Bowles/Stiles and Jot Stiles) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.85: Same house party. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.86: Jot (Stiles), Neal (Robinson) and Gunner (dog). ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.87: Irene (Robinson), Flo, Hal Shirp, and some other guys. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.88: Irene (Robinson), Flo, and some salesman. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.89: Flo and Irene (Robinson) left to right: Irene Robinson and Flo. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.90: Flo and Irene (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.91: Flo and Irene (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.92: Again, Flo and Irene (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.93: Ralph's brother, Flo, and Irene (Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.94: Untitled (Irene Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.95: Goat calf, Frank and gals (Flo and Irene Robinson) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.96: Ralph ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.97: Flo and Grubbs ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.98: Irene's (Robinson) barber shop. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.99: Flo, Irene, and Ralph. (left to right: Irene Robinson, Ralph, Flo) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.100: Ralph and one of the boys' saddle horses. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.101: untitled (Front of Castle Butte Trading Post) ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.102: In front of store and dwelling. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.103: Another view of front. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.104: Dad Moulton (Irene Robinson's father, Alfred W. Moulton of Pasadena, CA) and burro loaded. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.105: Keams Canyon Hospital where Vest (Robinson) died Nov. 3 1918. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.106: Hogan for visitors. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.107: Shimopavy Village ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.108: View in front of Ethel Honani's house (Georgie's friend). ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.109: Hopi store on first Mesa ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.110: Second Mesa homes. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.111: Street scene in Shimopavy. Ethel (Honani) in foreground. ,
NAU.PH.2016.9.1.112: Second Mesa. ,
MS.493: Manuscripts, 1904 ca.- 1976 0.1 linear feet textual
1.1 George Robinson Newspaper Clipping and Obituary, 1904 ca.- 1918
1.2 Robinson Family Genealogy and Photos, 1907-1955
1.3 Neal Robinson Speech, 1976