University of Arizona

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Farona Wendling Konopak Papers

Group of Couriers with Indian Detour, undated

Farona Wendling Konopak appears to have been among the second group of couriers trained by the Fred Harvey Company to conduct tours throughout Indian Country in Arizona and New Mexico. She was, perhaps, a typical courier who was chosen for an ability to relate to people and to learn the history, politics, sociology, anthropology, geology and arts of the Southwest. "The Indian Detours" were designed by the Fred Harvey Company using drivers in from their Harveycars Motor Service to entice transcontinental travelers off the trains to linger a while, visit ancient monuments and enjoy spectacular scenery.

Biographical data on Konopak is lacking. However, Diane Thomas' The Southwestern Indian Detours tells the complete story of the couriers and their interesting vocations. See also a typescript volume with hand-drawn maps, A Courier in New Mexico, by Mabel H. Parsons.

The major portion of the collection contains instructional bulletins, lecture notes, and printed materials that were used by the Fred Harvey Company for training couriers. These bulletins demonstrate the depth of knowledge that a courier was expected to master and convey to travelers during the tours. Most of the materials relate to Northern New Mexico sites. For example, the "Sierra Verde Motor Cruise" left Santa Fe for a 900 mile, week long circle cruise visiting Taos, Mesa Verde National Park, Pueblo Bonito, Laguna, and Albuquerque, all for $150 per person. Additional materials include maps and trip logs, expenses for one of Konopak's trips, and four black and white photographs, chiefly posed group portraits of individuals in courier dress.