Talcott Harmon Parkhurst was born November 4, 1883 in Middletown (Middleville?), New York to Esther Mary Talcott and William Dexter Parkhurst, wealthy English immigrants. He lived in Oneonta, NY through high school before attending Syracuse University; leaving there before completing a degree and accompanying his mother to California following the death of his father.
Self-taught as a photographer, Parkhurst was part of a ca. 1910 Smithsonian Institution expedition to study the ruins at Santa Rita de los Frijoles in Frijoles Canyon (now Bandelier National Monument). Following that project, he was hired by the Museum of New Mexico at the Palace of the Governors where he worked under the tutelage of Jesse L. Nusbaum between 1910 and 1915. In Nusbaum’s absences working in the field, Parkhurst would often replace him as the senior museum photographer. Initially self-taught, Parkhurst learned so much from Nusbaum that his early work in Santa Fe greatly resembles his mentor’s. They both used 5 x 7 glass plate negatives and often made nearly identical exposures.
Parkhurst also worked with Charles F. Lummis who, by 1926 was proclaiming Parkhurst one of the best photographers he knew. Parkhurst left the museum in 1915 to open his own studio in the Diaz Building across the street from the Montezuma Hotel. Subsequent locations include a space above the Postal Telegraph office, a studio on San Francisco Street, and his last at 112 Don Gaspar Avenue. Parkhurst was the official photographer to the Los Alamos Boys Ranch School during most of its existence until it was closed by order of the US War Department in 1942. While in Santa Fe, Parkhurst lived in the two Espe houses on Washington Avenue built by Sylvanus G. Morley which were across the street from the Scottish Rite Temple.
Married in 1916, he moved his wife and three children (two girls, Ruth and Caroline and a boy T. D.) to a home on Hillside Avenue near Palace. Following his divorce in 1929 he lived on Canyon Road across the street from Mrs. McComb’s apple orchard. He closed his studio in 1951 several years after being gored by a rodeo bull during a photo shoot. Parkhurst never fully recovered from the accident. After closing his business, he first moved to White Plains, NM to be with one of his two daughters and her family and then moved to California where he died on August 14, 1952. Parkhurst is buried in Boonville, New York.
Find information about using the T. Harmon Parkhurst Photo Collection at the Palace of the Governors Photoarchives.