Buddy Mays, Photojournalist of the Southwest

The AHC is pleased to announce that we have just recently completed a new online finding aid for the Buddy Mays papers.

Buddy Mays using a camera in a crowd of people. Written on the back: "Gallup, NM Navajo Press photographer at work."  American Heritage Center, Photofile: Indian - Tribe - Navajo.

Photograph taken by Buddy Mays. Written on the back: “Gallup, NM Navajo Press photographer at work.” American Heritage Center, Photofile: Indian – Tribe – Navajo.

Buddy Mays was born in 1943 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After high school, Mays served in the Coast Guard until 1965.  Following his Coast Guard service, he studied vertebrate zoology at New Mexico State University, where he began working as a photographer for the Las Cruces Sun News. After college, Mays became a photographer for the Albuquerque Tribune, and stayed there until 1972. Since then, Mays has been a freelance travel writer, author, and photographer. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for a series of photographs on American Cowboys. The bulk of his work concerns the American Southwest, Southwestern history, wildlife, outdoor recreation, whitewater rafting, and southwestern Indians. In 1996, Mays moved from New Mexico to Bend, Oregon.

This collection contains both published and unpublished essays, articles, and books by Mays, most from the 1970s. Manuscripts for two of Mays’ books, “A Pilgrim’s Wildlife Notebook” and “Wildwaters” are included. It also contains photographs taken by Mays of travel, outdoor activities, people, wildlife, and images of the Southwest. There is a collection of photographs titled “Cowboy Life in the Southwest: a Vanishing Heritage.” There is also correspondence with publishers, colleagues, and friends, and professional files (including notebooks) documenting Mays’ work as a travel writer and photographer.

–Laura Uglean Jackson

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