Book signing for Indeh, An Apache Odyssey-1980. Eve, age 90, is at the center seated in the carved Mexican Chair. Co-author, Lynda Sánchez, is on right or Eve’s left side; others were friends attending the presentation. including many Apaches.
She wrote more than 150 articles and numerous books chronicling Mescalero and Chiricahua Apaches, as well as Anglo and Hispanic settlers in the Ruidoso highlands of New Mexico. She received numerous awards for her work, including nomination for the Presidential Medal of Freedom and induction into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.
Eve Ball grew up on the plains of Kansas and Texas and moved to the Ruidoso highlands of New Mexico after World War II. She attended college and taught several grades, as well as junior college level courses, in Dodge City, Kansas. Her many travels to New Mexico, during her childhood and later, inspired her to write about the peoples of the southwest, especially the Apaches. Ruidoso was the natural place for her to pursue this ambition. The beautiful mountain setting as well as the nearby Mescalero Apache reservation were major attractions to the aspiring writer.
Over the course of her lifetime, Ball wrote more than 150 articles and numerous books chronicling Mescalero and Chiricahua Apaches, as well as Anglo and Hispanic settlers in the area. She spent two decades researching and developing the confidence of many tribal elders. Her manner was quiet and patient. She earned trust and respect. Her sincerity became obvious and, as a result, many people gave her their papers, family photos, and treasured mementos, or shared their oral histories.
By the 1960s she decided she could start writing. She wrote a history of Ruidoso; a biography of Bob Crosby, a champion cowboy; and, in succession, her classic works Ma’am Jones of the Pecos, In the Days of Victorio, My Girlhood Among Outlaws, and Indeh, An Apache Odyssey (co-authored by Nora Henn and Lynda A. Sánchez).
Ball’s work was recognized with many prestigious awards. She received The Golden Spur for best short story in 1974 for “Buried Money.” In 1982, she won the “Oscar of Western writing,” the Golden Saddleman award from the Western Writers of America for Indeh, an Apache Odyssey. A year later, she was nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom and received a special joint U.S. Congressional Resolution honoring her entire body of work on the history of the west. She was also inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1982.
Historians have praised her, saying she never refused any person who sought information from her, and that “her views…were a breath of fresh air.” Another wrote that there is “gladness that she came this way, and in our time.” She died on Christmas Eve in 1984, leaving behind a remarkable legacy.
Zia Press Woman’s Award, The Golden Spur Award 1974, for best short story.
Saddleman Award from Western Writers of America.
Cowgirl Hall of Fame
By Eve Ball: Ma’am Jones of the Pecos; Indeh; My Girlhood Among Outlaws; In the Days of Victorio.