Critters of Arizona


Photograph of two dogs sitting at a piano at the Ganado Navajo Presbyterian Mission in Ganado (Ariz.), ca. 1935, MG 4 Clarence G. Salsbury

Like any good library, we have our fair share of crazy animal lovers here. Cats, dogs, geckos, guinea pigs, we have a little bit of everything. This month, we’re giving some love to the critters in our collections! It turns out that we have a little bit of everything, ranging from dogs playing the piano, random cats pictured in Arizona Highways, and event some ostriches! So next time you’re at the archives, stop by and see some of the goodies we have in the case!


Photograph/colorized postcard of ostriches on an ostrich farm, RG 99 Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, SG 12 Historical Photographs, 97-2915.jpg

Arizona has a long history of interesting critter stories. For instance, we have an ostrich farm that has been in operation for three generations, the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Farm!

And of course, who could forget Beale’s Camel Train, pre-Civil War period when the U.S. Army created the U.S. Camel Corps to experiment with using camels to pack gear through the desert. One figure in this story is Hadji Ali, more commonly known in Arizona as “Hi Jolly,” who was hired as one of the first camel drivers hired by the Army, and whose grave and memorial can be viewed in Quartzsite today.


Photograph of Mr. & Mrs. Hadji Ali (also called Hi Jolly) in Quartzsite (Ariz.)., 1880. RG 99, SG 12, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. History and Archives Historical Photographs.

IMG_5760We also have materials related to wildlife preserves here in Arizona, which are partly documented in David Brown’s 2012 history of the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, Bringing Back the Game.


Letter from Boy Scouts of America in favor of Big Horn Sheep Refuge, RG 47, Arizona Department of Game and Fish.


Bringing Back the Game: Arizona Wildlife Management, 1912-1962. David Brown. Phoenix, Ariz. : Arizona Game and Fish Dept., c2012.