The album was donated by Mr. Newman's niece and nephews: Edna Wolf Gordon, Jack Greening, and Ernie Greening.
He married twice, first Ethel Abbott, then after her death, Jesse Frawley.
The refusal, however, came after Davol sent a team to survey the proposed route in 1919. It was headed by three surveyors: L.C. Willey, Mr. Schliewen, and Robert Laurence Ryan, who were assisted by several "camp rustlers" and a cook. The proposed tram route extended from El Tovar Hotel, northward roughly across the Battleship, Dana Butte, the Tower of Set, Horus Temple, Osiris Temple, and Shiva Temple, before ending on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. The crew began sequentially constructing trams across the buttes, using the newly installed cable ways to ship food and gear to their next base camp (more than once, boxes smashed into cliffs, scattering the contents onto the topography below). Two pack burros were often laboriously hauled up and down cliffs using slings and block-and-tackle, a task not without hazard.
In order to cross the Colorado River, Ryan, the strongest swimmer, tied a rope around himself and swam across the current, a feat he performed twice. The crew constructed a raft out of empty ten-gallon oil cans and hitched it to the ropes via pulleys.
The work was an acrophobic's nightmare, as the men frequently had to scale sheer, exposed cliffs. When a severe November snow-storm struck, the ice, snow, and cold exacerbated the men's fears, and they abandoned the project, leaving food, equipment and the burros behind. The crew reported to Davol, who was staying at El Tovar. He paid them off, then hired two of the men to help him photo-document the line.
Robert Laurence Ryan, who assembled the album of survey photographs, was born on January 17, 1894 in Galesburg, Illinois. He attended Knox College in Galesburg before going to the University of California at Berkeley. He graduated in 1917 with a degree in engineering, although he left six months early in order to serve with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in France during World War I. After his work with the Grand Canyon survey, he went to Mexico to participate in oil exploration as an employee of the Mexican Eagle Oil Company (Royal Dutch Shell); photographs of that venture constitute the second part of his album. Ryan returned to California in 1922, and continued to work for petroleum industries. He met and married Ida May Shiveley (1901-1997), a native Californian and the daughter of a banker, after which he was elected Ventura County Surveyor. The couple had two children, Donna Shively and Robert Laurence. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Ryan joined the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Corps (Seabees), and served in the Pacific. He attained the rank of Commander, and was awarded the Legion of Merit and a Navy Citation for outstanding service. Ryan died on July 31, 1954 in Oxnard, California.
For related information, see the Robert L. Ryan vertical file.
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