This collection consists of materials relating to the
political and business activities of Arizona businessman, prospector, and politician Ralph H. Cameron (1863-1953), mostly
in the years between 1903
and 1912. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence. Among the most
prominent subjects are Cameron’s business activity at the Grand Canyon, and the
conflicts that his interests triggered with various groups, as well as Republican
politics in the early twentieth century.
Ralph Henry Cameron (1863-1953) was born in Southport, Maine, in 1863. He moved to
Arizona in 1883, and operated a sheep ranch with his brother Niles in Flagstaff. In
1890, he and his partners turned to mining and filed numerous mining claims in and
around the Grand Canyon. Beginning in 1891, Cameron and his associates built and
operated the Bright Angel Trail as a toll road from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim to
the Colorado River. Also in 1891, Cameron was appointed Sheriff of Coconino County.
He also served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in St. Louis in
1896 and served on the Coconino County Board of Supervisors as Chairman, from 1905.
In 1908, he defeated Democratic incumbent Marcus A. Smith to become Arizona’s
Territorial delegate to Congress. His term in as delegate was marked, above all, by
the successful efforts to secure Arizona’s statehood, which was approved by Congress
and President Taft in 1911. Cameron, who expected Arizona’s voters to reward him for
his successes in securing statehood, lost in his first attempt for a Senate position
in 1912, and lost again when he ran for the Governor’s seat two years later. Cameron
eventually won election to the Senate in 1920, where he served one term. He ran for
the Senate unsuccessfully on two subsequent occasions, after which he retired from
1,527 items in 7 boxes
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