THE NAVAJO PEOPLE and their homeland have appeared on many of our covers over the past 96 years. The best known of them was published 75 years ago this month.
“Ray asked me to photograph some Navajos in the snow, tending their sheep,” Barry Goldwater said in reference to our longtime editor Raymond Carlson.
“This was in late February 1946, and I told him he was out of his head, that it never snowed on the reservation in springtime. So I said I’d try to get something the next year. But, as it happened, I was up at the trading post [Rainbow Lodge] near Navajo Mountain the next week, and when I woke up one morning, there was about 2 feet of snow all over everything. So I ran down the road about 3 miles and got my picture. Just what he wanted.”
“It was a cold, raw winter day deep on the Navajo Reservation when Barry Goldwater took the picture we use on our cover,” Mr. Carlson wrote in his December 1946 column. “The snow clouds were low and the little Navajo girls, watching their sheep, were wrapped in their blankets against the wind. The whole scene is real and simple.”
Of all the milestones in this magazine’s storied history, that issue is among the most significant. In addition to having Mr. Goldwater’s beautiful photograph on the cover, it was the first all-color issue of a nationally circulated consumer magazine — we beat National Geographic, Life, The Saturday Evening Post ... we beat them all. Seventy-five years later, we’re as proud as ever.