Andy Ward
traditional SW pottery

Where is the rest of the Mills Collection?

When I was younger and researching Babocomari Polychrome, I logically asked the Amerind Foundation to be allowed to visit their collection and was denied. I then called the Arizona State Museum and they told me that they had examples of Babo Poly, so I made an appointment and visited. I was disappointed to find that their samples included only a few shards. Then I remembered that Jack and Vera Mills had excavated the Hereford Site and so the pottery from Hereford must be at Eastern Arizona College with the Mills Collection. After making the long trip to Thatcher, Wes Jernigan told me that he didn’t have any examples of Babocomari Polychrome in his collection. I also noticed some other exceptions. For example, the cover of the report of the Mills’ excavations at the Kuykendall site has a picture of a real nice duck effigy vessel that is also not in the collection at EAC. A post by Archaeology Southwest says regarding the Mills work at the Dinwiddie site, that “we have not yet been able to locate and study the bulk artifact collections from the site”.

The point being that however great the Mills Collection at EAC is, it is not complete. There are some significant artifacts missing. I would speculate that they are in the possession of the Mills family. Can someone please point me in the right direction here? I would love to be able to see and photograph some of those artifacts if they are still in the area.

Here is a link to the Cochise Quarterly from March 1971 (the exact month and year in which I was born) which contains an article by Vera Mills regarding their research.


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About Andy Ward

I am an independent researcher, writer and artist interested in all things Southwestern. Southeast Arizona is my home and area of primary interest.

2 thoughts on “Where is the rest of the Mills Collection?”

  1. I went to visit the Mills once at their Elfrida ranch. They were absolutely lovely people and I was impressed not only with their archaeology work but also Jack’s carpentry skills. This was in 1975. I do not know if I can find it but I have a file somewhere that might have an address because we corresponded several times. I will look for it. Wish me luck. You might also check with AAS ( because I know they supported their work.

  2. Andy Ward says:

    Thanks Marc! By the way, have you see this? It’s a gallery of old photos of the Millses.

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