From The NAU Archives: Cline Library Staff Picks

Cline Library Staff Shares Their Favorite Item From The Special Collections and Archives

Northern Arizona University
5 min readOct 9, 2023

Located in Cline Library, NAU’s Special Collections and Archives preserves the culture and history of the Colorado Plateau and NAU.

The collection consists of everything from paper materials, photographs, university records to even the famed copper axe.

Each item in the collection tells a story about NAU — who we are, what we’ve done and where we are headed.

We asked Cline Library staff to share their favorite items from the collection and why they find it so fascinating.

Jill Friedmann, Assistant Dean, Cline Library

When I first arrived at NAU as the Visual Materials Curator in Special Collections and Archives, I started first by getting to know the collections. I came to Cline Library to work with the Kolb Brothers collection and it didn’t disappoint.

Creator: Emery Kolb, 1920–2930 (NAU.PH.568.2341)

This portrait of a cowboy on the edge of the Grand Canyon has always been my favorite. It evokes the enormity of the Canyon while at the same time giving you a glimpse into the world of tourism and the people paid to take care of them in the early twentieth century.

John Doherty, Head, Research and Instruction Services

When I was a library school student back in the Dark Ages (early 1990s), I completed an elective course in Archives. As a part of that, I was given the opportunity to delve into a manuscript collection, and I was lucky enough to find the Georgie Clark Collection (NAU.MS. 270).

Creator: Margaret H. Eiseman, 1955 (NAU.PH.2004.

Clark was a river runner, especially on the Colorado River, from the 1940s onwards. What I liked the most, besides the photos that archivists removed from her scrapbooks, were the journals and diaries. Many of these spoke to Georgie’s impressions of the River, and of the Glen and Grand Canyons. As a commercial river runner in the 1970s, Georgie was very vocal about what needed to be done to save the Grand Canyon from the Glen Canyon Dam. Her stories and photos provide a snapshot of life on the river and document the life of an amazing, strong-willed and -hearted woman.

Mike Taylor, Head, Technology Strategies and Services

A favorite or even “most memorable” item in SCA’s collection would be impossible. There’s just too much cool stuff! While searching for the oral history of Georgie White’s 80th birthday party, I stumbled upon Kenton Grua’s oral history. His passion for the river comes shining through interview.

Creator: Richard Jackson, 1994 (NAU.PH.94.37.64)

Another reason this is so fun to listen to is that the recording is excellent. The interviewers are just “back” enough that you can hear them and Kenton sounds like you’re sitting right next to him. He’s a great storyteller and has some great stories to tell. Give it a listen. And if you come across Georgie’s birthday party, let me know.

Tracy Glau, Librarian for College of Arts and Letters and Honors College

This image is unlike any other I have seen, and there are soooo many awesome images in SCA. I had no idea there was a ‘bat cave’ that had tours…apparently the tram wasn’t in before this image was taken. That ladder must be 45–50' high

Creator: George Billingsley, 1973 (NAU.PH.2000.


Eventually, trams were created to bring tourists into the mine. Originally spotted in the 1930’s, attempts failed to get to the rich nitrogen fertilizer, guano. In 1957, the property around the cave was purchased by the US Guano Corporation (who knew this was an actual corporation?) where the company estimated 100,000 tons of guano being in the mine (it ended up there was only about 1000 tons). A tram was built to move the guano and workers. Ending up in Kingman, the guano was packaged for retail. The mining ended up early 1960. Guano Point is still active today with remnants of the old tram station and is owned by the Hualapai Indian Reservation where tourists can purchase a barbecue lunch near the tramway head house.

Theresa Carlson, Head, Collections and Discovery Services

I have two favorites, both by Sue Bennett. The first is Salina at North Canyon. I love the contrast of light and dark and the shadowing on the woman. Also the reflection of the canyon walls in the water running down.

Image #1: Creator: Sue Bennett, 1990 (NAU.PH.2013. Image #2: Creator: Sue Bennett, 1999 (NAU.PH.2013.

The other is this picture of a ballerina. The love the framing of the dancer surrounded by roses and the expression on her face is contemplative or peaceful. It looks like she is taking a break from dancing.

The whole Sue Bennett collection is worth checking out.

Rebecca Harner, Operations Coordinator, Sr.

I don’t know if I’d be able to find this letter again, but as I was reviewing the Walkup Papers [of former NAU President J. Lawrence Walkup] while working in Special Collections and Archives, I came across correspondence from (I believe) another college president.

Only photo of the Lumberjack Marching Band during NAU President J. Lawrence Walkup’s administration Creator: Unknown, 1966 (NAU.ARC.1966.9.3)

One part of the letter said basically (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Well, your football team isn’t the greatest, but your band that played at half-time was fantastic!” He went on for a couple more sentences praising the magnificence of the marching band. Always makes me smile when I think about it!

Stephanie Van Ness, Libraries, Assistant Manager

I used to look through the old yearbooks. The 1917 one (maybe more? I haven’t looked far) has quotes next to each grad and they’re fantastic.

1917 La Cuesta Yearbook, page 21 (LaCuesta1917.022)

My favorite: “He might prove a useful adjunct to society, but Alas! he is no ornament to it”

Explore yearbooks in our archives here!

Learn more about NAU’s special collections in this NAU podcast



Northern Arizona University

It’s always a great day to be a Lumberjack! Join the conversation and share your #NAU story.