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An Anthropological Evaluation of William Keys' Desert Queen Ranch, Joshua Tree National Monument, California
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Keys' Ranch means many different things to people who care about it. To Keith Anderson of the National Park Service's Western Archeological Center the ranch is a complex archeological site, evaluation of which required an effort to integrate the disciplines of archeology, history and cultural anthropology. Dr. Anderson's arrangements for financial support (Purchase Order PX810050290) made my study possible, his suggestions concerning my applications of anthropological theory made my work more rigorous intellectually, and his careful editing produced a more persuasive and palatable report than would otherwise have been possible.

To Tom King Keys' Ranch offered a chance to return to the California Desert for a bit of fieldwork (an opportunity few Californians transplanted to the East Coast would miss) and a chance to do battle with the author on many of the concepts to be found in this report. This study has benefited immensely from our many discussions.

How to care for Keys' Ranch is a practical problem to those working at Joshua Tree National Monument. Superintendent Homer Rouse has been extremely cooperative and enthusiastic about research at the ranch and is very concerned about its future. Park Naturalist Donald Black spent many hours recording provenience, cataloguing and storing materials from Keys' Ranch and many more hours researching information pertinent to William Keys and the ranch. He willingly shared the products of his efforts with us. Pat Flanagan of the monument staff catalogued some of the many artifacts from the ranch and willingly helped us copy documents from the Joshua Tree National Monument Library during the eleventh hour before our departure. Reino Clark, Don Black and others have taped interviews with Keys and his family. These tapes and others were made available to us. Two VIPs, Ray Camper and Fran Gibson, lived at the ranch while we conducted fieldwork. We are grateful for their knowledge about Keys and for their efforts to make our work as comfortable as possible. Dan McCarthy, the monument's archeological staff member, not only helped us assess the possibilities for archeological fieldwork at the ranch, but also provided living quarters.

Cheryl Erickson, librarian at the Twentynine Palms Branch, San Bernardino County Public Library, allowed us to use her files on local history and transcriptions of tapes from the oral history project she has initiated. Her interest in and concern for local history were matched by her hospitality to us.

Herrick Hanks of the Bureau of Land Management at Riverside, California, gave us data about other southwestern properties nominated to or included on the National Register of Historic Places.

I am deeply grateful to all of these persons, without whose help this project would never have been completed.

The text was edited and prepared for publication by John Bancroft, editor at the Western Archeological Center, and Sally Tobola and Vonna Mason, typists. The illustrations were prepared by Jeannette Schloss.

All interpretation and errors of fact are, of course, my own.

Patricia Parker Hickman

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Last Updated: 04-June-2007