A catalog of the Elkus Collection of Southwestern Indian objects
at the California Academy of Sciences

Dorothy K. Washburn

The Elkus Collection: Southwestern Indian Art

Between 1922 and 1965, Ruth C. and Charles deYoung Elkus of San Francisco assembled an important collection of nearly 1700 examples of historic and contemporary Native American art, with an emphasis on Navajo and Pueblo material. The collection includes paintings, textiles, pottery, jewelry, baskets, and katsinam carvings, and includes early works by Charles Loloma, Kenneth Begay, Maria and Julian Martinez, Fred Kabotie, Beatien Yazz, Pablita Velarde, and more than 200 other artists, representing 74 tribal groups.

The collection was bequeathed to the California Academy of Sciences in 1972. Published in 1984, this catalog lists all the southwestern pieces from the collection, excepting baskets and katsinam.

The Elkus Collection: Southwestern Indian Art was published as Special Publications of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, 1984. 222 pages, 23 color plates, 209 black & white photographs. Soft cover. ISBN 0-295-96170-8.

The entire Elkus Collection at the California Academy of Sciences, including paintings, textiles, pottery, jewelry, baskets, and katsinam, is available to view online.

  Frank Talbot, Director, California Academy of Sciences
  Ben Elkus
  Dorothy K. Washburn
Pueblo Ceramics
  Dorothy K. Washburn
Navajo and Pueblo Silverwork
  John Adair
Southwestern Weaving
  Joe Ben Wheat
Navajo, Pueblo, Apache, and Plains Paintings and Drawings
  J.J. Brody



The Elkus Collection: Southwestern Indian Art
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Last updated 08 January 2024


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Catalogs of the Academy's Anthropology collection are available to purchase from the Department.

Purchase The Elkus Collection

Anthropology Collections

Our permanent research collection consists of more than 16,000 objects, most of which are ethnographic. Current strengths include holdings from the U.S. Southwest and the Pacific Islands, and basketry from California. Our searchable online database features the entire Anthropology collection, including digital images for every piece.

Hominin Cast Collection

The Department of Anthropology houses a collection of hominin fossil and comparative casts that are available for reference by visiting researchers and students.