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Eve Ball papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 3096

Scope and Contents note

Contains research and photographs on Western history and folkore collected by Eve Bell, as well as Bell's professional papers, including correspondence, drafts, and publications.


  • 1855-1984


Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use note

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the Eve Ball papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Katherine Evelyn Daly, a.k.a. Eve Ball, (1890-1984) was a noted oral historian and author. She especially enjoyed working with New Mexico, the Southwest, and the Apache Indians.

Katherine Evelyn Daly (Eve Ball) was born March 14, 1890, to Samuel Richard Daly and Gazelle (Gibbs) Daly on her grandfather's plantation in Kentucky. Eve spent her early years in Clarksville, Tennessee, after which her family moved to Kansas. Her father died when she was five years old, and her mother remarried when Eve was twelve. She had three full siblings and two half brothers.

Eve enjoyed learning from a young age. Her grandmother taught her to read when she was only four years old. Eve's mother, a teacher and the first woman to practice medicine in Kansas, instilled in her daughter a love of education and a spirit of independence that became characteristic of Eve throughout her life. Eve began teaching school at only sixteen years old; many of her pupils were adults. In 1918 Eve received her Bachelors of Science degree in education from Kansas State Teachers College. In 1934 she received her Masters in education at the University of Kansas.

Her husband, Joseph P. Ball, was a Captain in the Kansas National Guard and died in World War I. Following the end of World War I, Eve spent the next few years teaching both elementary and secondary school in Kansas and Oklahoma. She then taught history and literature at Kansas City Junior College and the College of Artesia. Eve was also a successful business woman. She opened a jewelry shop in Hobbs, New Mexico and ran a tourist shop at Casa Hermosa in Phoenix.

In 1942 Eve moved to Ruidoso, New Mexico. After living there for six years she bought an entire block of property near the Ruidoso Downs racing tracks and built an adobe home. It was here that Eve published her first short book, Ruidoso, The Last Frontier, in 1963.

Over time, Eve developed a great passion for documenting the history of the diverse peoples of New Mexico and the Southwest. She was especially involved in collecting the oral histories of various peoples, a venture most historians did not respect. Eve, however, felt strongly about preserving history from the mouths of those who experienced it. She also had a remarkable talent for gaining the trust and respect of all those she wrote about. Many historical figures gave Eve their personal papers and photographs.

Eve collected material for over twenty years before trying to publish. She wrote dozens of stories for True West and Frontier Times. Eve spent a great deal of time interviewing families involved in the Lincoln County War, especially the Coe family and others who knew Billy the Kid. She also took an interest in cowboys and early settlers, and published Bob Crosby, World Champion Cowboy in 1966, Ma'am Jones of the Pecos in 1969, and My Girlhood Among Outlaws in 1972.

Eve is best known for her work with the Apache Indians. Eve's home in Ruidoso was close to the Mescalero Reservation. She was able to gain the trust and friendship of the Apaches by offering Apache women a place to rest on their way to town. Over the years she was able to obtain interviews with important Apache tribal figures, including Jaspar Kanseah (nephew of Geronimo), James Kaywaykla (nephew of Victorio and grandson of Nana), and Asa Daklugie (son of Juh). Eve became an expert on the Apaches as she learned of their beliefs, history, problems, and internal politics. She published two books on the Apaches: In the Days of Victorio in 1970 and Indeh: An Apache Odyssey in 1980.

Eve continued to write up until her death on December 24, 1984, at age 94, even after losing her eyesight. Her books have been used as textbooks at colleges and universities, including: Cambridge, New Mexico, Arizona, New Orleans, Brigham Young, and Harvard. Eve also wrote numerous short stories and drafts for various books that have never been published.

Eve received numerous honors that recognized her contributions to the field of Western American history, including an honorary doctorate from Artesia College, the Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award for best short story, and the Western Writers of America Saddleman Award. In 1984 the United States Senate passed a joint resolution honoring Eve for her life's work and contributions to history.


59 boxes (29.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Collection includes research, publications, business records, and photographs which Eve Ball used in her day-to-day life.

Arrangement note

Arranged in 4 series: 1. Eve Ball research, 1870-1984; 2. Eve Ball publications and writings, 1956-1982; 3. Eve Ball professional life and career materials, 1908-1985; and 4. Eve Ball photographs, 1919-1971.

Arranged alphabetically and chronologically within series.

Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History note

Donated by Eve Ball.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated; Eve Ball.

Appraisal note

Utah and American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.VII, 2007).

Processing Information note

Processed; John M. Murphy, Julie Ann Slater, and Tyler Van Buren Snow; May 2006.

Register of the Eve Ball papers
John M. Murphy
May 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States