Bliss Family Photos

Album Cover

This 12”x6” photograph album was found in a New England estate sale. It contains 14 pages with snapshots and hand written captions. The purchaser was able to track down the little girl straddling the corral fence on the ranch, Katie Brown. Katie and her dad Keith are mentioned in photos describing the cattle round up at Santa Rita Ranch.  The photograph album is now in Tucson, AZ and we would like to return to Bliss family if possible.

The album looks to be a visual journal describing the Arizona landscape to the Bliss family back East. We believe the photos were taken in 1947. The journal starts out in Northern Arizona, including parts of the Navajo nation. Beginning on page 4 the photos are from the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson, AZ.

The top left photo on page 4 is looking northeast on Box Canyon Rd. The lower right photo is looking south towards Mt Wrightson.

On page 5, it notes the area the Bliss family lives on is unique. The local ranchers work with the Forest Service to track valuable data on cattle ranching. The Santa Rita Experimental Range began in 1903 and has over 52,000 acres. Keith Brown bought the Santa Rita Ranch in 1946.  Forest ranger Matt Culley was the Superintendent of the SRER from 1921 to 1950.

Page 6 demonstrates how the cattle are rounded up and weighed. When in the corrals, the cattle can be separated to walk across a scale monitored by Mr Brown and Mr Culley.

The left photo on page 7 shows the cattle walking up the platform to be shipped out. The middle and right photos are the cowboys sitting at the end of the shipping ramp.

Page 8

Page 8 pictures Katie Brown climbing the corral fence. Katie and her sister Julia were featured in a story about the Santa Rita Ranch and that’s how the album purchaser from back East was able to track down the Browns out West. The photo on the right shows a campfire meal. A pot of beans and a larger pot of the main course, possibly a slow cooked meat.

Pages 9-11 shows the journey to bring home a Christmas tree for young Susan. The Bliss ranch house was situated about 4,000 feet above sea level but a short climb up the Santa Rita mountains provided a wealth of suitable trees.

Pages 12-13 have daughter Susan enjoying her tea set outside at the Bliss family ranch house.

Raymond Bliss Jr  (1915 – 2004) developed the first solar heated house near Tucson in the early 1950s and after a long career of teaching and research at the University of Arizona he retired to Chocorua, New Hampshire. Ray, Jr. was the son of Major General Raymond W. Bliss, the Surgeon General of the Army during the Korean War and the person who developed the whole concept of MedEvac using helicopters. The Army Health Center at Fort Huachuca was named for General Bliss. (Nick North –

Life Magazine – November 21,  1955 article on solar powered house in Santa Ritas.