Mary Mark Ockerbloom (merrigold) wrote,
Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Lost Indian Magic

I am happy to announce online edition # 318:

"Lost Indian Magic: a mystery story of the red man as he lived before the white men came."
by Grace Purdie Moon (1884-1947).
Illustrations and decorations by Carl Moon (1878-1948).
New York, Frederick A. Stokes company, 1918.

Grace Purdie Moon and Carl Moon are well-known as some of the earliest authors and illustrators of children's books about Native Americans, and for the ethnological record they created through their photographs, paintings, and books.

Carl Everton Moon (or "Karl Moon" as he signed his early works) was born on October 5, 1879, in Wilmington, Ohio, the son of a doctor. His fascination with Indians began as a child. "I was still very young when I made up my mind to go West into the Indian country, as soon as I could grow up. When I was twenty-three I did just as I said I would do, but instead of hunting Indians with a gun and bowie knife, as the story book heroes always did, I was to hunt my Indians with a camera, paint brushes, and a writing pad. It was a lot more fun than the gun and bowie knife way, and a lot safer."

Carl Moon spent six years' apprenticing with various photographers in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Wheeling, West Virginia, before opening his own studio in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The hot dry climate had been recommended for his first wife, Bessie Wilson, who had tuberculosis. She died soon after the move, around 1903. With determination and perseverance, Moon developed friendships in several nearby Indian villages, sometimes spending weeks at a time there. Having gained their trust, he began to make photographic "art studies" of the Pueblo Indians. Carl Moon saw himself as a historian and an artist, recording the Southwestern Indians as they had lived before civilization changed their way of life, society, customs, and dress.

Grace Purdie was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Feb. 5, 1884. She studied at the University of Wisconsin and the Art Institute of Chicago. Her father was a professional archaeologist who had studied the Mayan ruins in Mexico, and Grace went on his expeditions. She met Carl Moon in 1909, on a trip to the Grand Canyon where Moon had moved to work for the Fred Harvey Company. Their common interests drew them solidly together. They were married June 5th, 1911, in Saint Joseph, Missouri. They travelled extensively among the Hopi, Taos, Havasupai, Navajo, and other tribes.

In 1914, the Moons moved to Pasadena, California, to open their own studio. They continued to sell Carl's stunning photographs, but Carl began to concentrate on painting, often using his photographs as a basis for his paintings. Many of his paintings were used to illustrate his wife's books. Grace gave up her own painting to focus on writing. Her book "Runaway Papoose" was a Newbery Honor Book in 1929, and is said to have lost the medal to Eric P. Kelly's "The Trumpeter of Krakow" by a single vote. The books are notable for the sympathy and respect with which she treats her Indian characters, and also her emphasis on brave female protagonists. Grace once remarked, "Mr. Moon and I like to write about Indians and picture them because I think way down in our hearts, we almost wish we were Indians ourselves."

I checked the copyright renewal records for the Moons, and found that while most of their copyrights were renewed, one or two were not. Based on the copyright renewals I checked, the following books by Carl and Grace Moon are in the public domain in the United States and can be republished online. If anyone wants to work on them, please let me know.

"Indian Legends in Rhyme", Stokes, 1916 -- Full copyright term completed, work is in public domain
"Lost Indian Magic", Stokes, 1918 -- Full copyright term completed, work is in public domain [See this edition!]
"Wongo and the Wise Old Crow", Reilly, 1923 -- No copyright renewal, so work has entered public domain
"Tita of Mexico", Stokes, 1934 -- No copyright renewal, so work has entered public domain

Most of their other titles were renewed, and cannot be legally reproduced without permission:

By Grace Moon:
Chi-wee: the adventures of a little indian girl, Doubleday, 1925 [Renewed]
Chi-Wee and Loki of the Desert, 1926 [Renewed]
Nadita (Little Nothing), Doubleday, 1927 [Renewed]
Runaway Papoose, Doubleday, 1928 [Renewed] Newbery Honor Book, 1929
The Magic Trail, Doubleday, 1929 [Renewed]
The Missing Katchina, Doubleday, 1930 [Renewed]
The Arrow of Teemay, Doubleday, 1930 [Renewed]
Far-away Desert, Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran & Company, inc., 1932. [Renewed]
Book of Nah-Wee, with Carl Moon, Doubleday, 1932 [Renewed]
Shanty Ann, Stokes, 1935 [Renewed]
Singing Sands, Doubleday, 1936 [Renewed]
White Indian, Doubleday, 1937 [Renewed]
Solita, Doubleday, 1938 [Renewed]
Daughter of Thunder, Macmillan, 1942 [Renewed]
One Little Indian, Whitman, 1950 [Renewed]

By Carl Moon:
The Flaming Arrow, Stokes, 1927 [Renewed]
Tah-Kee: the boy from nowhere, Stokes, 1932 [Renewed]
Painted Mocassin, Stokes, 1931 [Renewed]
Photographic Studies of Indians (photographic portfolio) c1910 [online at]
Indians of the Southwest, 4 vols. of Photographic prints. 1905, 1936. Copyright not checked.

For information about the Moons, and a wonderful collection of their photographs and paintings, I recommend "In Search of the Wild Indian: photographs and life works by Carl and Grace Moon", by Tom Driebe, Moscow, PA: Maurose Publishing, 1997.


You may notice some slight changes on the Celebration pages. John and I have done an overhaul of the underlying women writers database. We are now including the Library of Congress authorized forms for names whenever possible. We have also changed the specification of birth and death dates to ISO standard date format, which allows us to include day and month and year information for birth and death dates. One effect of this is that you may see some redundancy on the pages, and possibly, some conflicting information, if the authorized form of a name includes date information and we have birth and death dates as well. We will be adding new authorized forms and updating date information on an ongoing basis. If you see something that you think is just plain wrong, please do let us know.

Best wishes, Mary Mark Ockerbloom
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