The Arizona Tribune

Barry Goldwater’s Grand Daughter to Save Photo Collection

The late Senator Barry Goldwater used to be a prolific photographer along with all his achievements as a politician. He had clicked around 15,000 photographs of the American landscape. It’s been twenty years after his death came as a shock to Americans, but now his granddaughter Alison Goldwater Ross has decided to preserve and showcase every photograph taken by the ex-republican.

Ross has started the project after discussing everything with the family. She said she always adored her grandfather for his ‘Bigger than Life’ personality and he even let her meet some celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor in the campaign trail in Arizona.

She said she was worried and almost got an anxiety attack thinking of the future of those precious photographs. Ross is the eldest of all her four siblings. And after due consultation with family, she started Barry & Peggy Goldwater Foundation which now possesses the rights to the Goldwater’s photographs.

It’s to be mentioned here that major help in establishing the foundation came from the Salt River Project, a water and power provider that supports local arts and culture.

All pictures are prone to deterioration when it comes in contact with humidity and heat. Ross had to preserve them as quickly as possible so that no picture would be lost.

Goldwater’s wife Peggy had given him a camera on Christmas and following that he started documenting landscapes in Arizona’s tribal landscapes. Most of his works are in the black and white format. His pictures include the landscape of The Canyon, the hills and beautiful landscape of sunrise; he also had photographed Navajo old man with two Navajo girls with their sheep in the snow.

Goldwater said in an interview back then in 1985 that in Arizona any place is a perfect condition for the best landscape photograph. Most of his work was on the Mexico border, Utah border. He considered all of Arizona to be photogenic. His special love was for the deserts, which had provided him with most of his memories.

His work’s stature was so high that he got his membership in the Royal Photographic Society and termed the Senator as ‘fine and eager’ amateur photographer with professional skills.

According to Anna Goldwater Alexander, another granddaughter of the late Senator, Barry’s work in photography captures the whole of Arizona through the lenses of history. According to her, Barry’s work revealed not only his love for photography but also the sensitive side of his personality.


Barry was born in 1909. He led a successful career not only in politics but also on various other grounds. His highest selling book “Conscience of a Conservative” is still remembered by many. And his famous statement “extremism in defense of liberty is no vice” at the time of accepting Republican nomination made him catch quite some followers.

He was known as ‘Mr. Conservative’ and it should be reported here that he lost his presidential race to Democratic incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson.

Goldwater served as five-time senator from 1953 to 1987 and finally succeeded by the famous John McCain.

Arizona Highways has been a great contributor to Goldwater’s work. It has been regularly showcasing his work. Most of his photos can be seen in the special edition on January 6 through January 23 at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West as Photographs by Barry M. Goldwater: The Arizona Highways Collection.

The large part of the photographs is with the family. The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in Tucson, the Hayden Library at Arizona State University in Tempe and the Heard Museum in Phoenix, these three institutions possess also a great number of his work.

Goldwater also was a collector of kachina dolls.

When asked to some Arizonans reaction to the photographs, they said they thoroughly enjoyed his work and no one ever could have the beauty and serenity of Arizona the way he did.

Though a small task, but this preservation of these photographs is definitely is a tribute to the great politician and statesman of Arizona. This way his works can be remembered for future years and it can help the current politicians to reflect upon his ideas and personality.

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