Commission of Public
Records Elects New Chair
By Paula Flores,
At its regular meeting on June 6, 2000,
the New Mexico Commission of Public Records elected Dr. Stanley
Hordes to the position of Chair. Dr. Hordes received his B.A. in
History from the University of Maryland in 1971, his M.A. in Latin
American History from the University of New Mexico in 1973, and
his Ph.D. from Tulane University in 1980. His doctoral dissertation,
"The Crypto-Jewish Community of New Spain, 1620-1649: A Collective
Biography," was based on research conducted in the archives of Mexico
and Spain, supported by a Fulbright dissertation fellowship.
He began his public history career
as Curator of Colonial Archives for the Louisiana Historical Center
of the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans. In 1980 he moved to
Albuquerque, New Mexico to work as a Historian for the U.S. Department
of the Interior's Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service,
and in 1981 assumed the position of State Historian for the State
of New Mexico in Santa Fe. He has served on the New Mexico Commission
of Public Records since 1996.
New Mexico Commission of Public
Records Welcomed Newest Member
By Paula Flores,
The New Mexico Commission of Public Records welcomes
its newest member, Dr. Thomas H. Wilson. Dr. Wilson, a native of
Alamogordo, New Mexico, is the new Director of the Museum of New
Mexico in Santa Fe. A graduate of Alamogordo High School, he holds
both a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters degree from the University
of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkley.
Wilson also holds a law degree from the University of Maryland,
with specialties in art law, museum law, and international cultural
Dr. Wilson has served as the Director of the Southwest
Museum in Los Angeles, Director of the Wright Museum of Art and
the Logan Museum of Anthropology at Beloit College in Wisconsin,
and Deputy Director of the Museum of African Art in New York. He
has also been employed by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Wilson spent time as a Coast Archeologist under Richard Leaky for
the National Museums of Kenya, and is currently a research associate
for both the American Museum of Natural History in New York and
the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
Wilson’s publications number over two dozen in
the fields of archeology, museum anthropology, and cultural conservation.
He has participated in many archeological excavations in the Southwestern
United States, Mexico, Central America, Eastern Africa, and Southwestern
Donation of the
Beatrice Chauvenet Collection
By Melissa Salazar,
Archives and Historical
State Records Center and Archives (SRCA) houses many large public
and private collections, it is sometimes within the smallest that
the most interesting and engaging material is found. This is true
of one of the most recent private collections acquired by the SRCA.
In November, 1999, Sharon Niederman donated the
Beatrice Chauvenet Collection of manuscripts and papers belonging
to Ina (Perlina) Sizer Cassidy (1869-1965) and Jenny M. Avery (1884-1976).
The collection includes Chauvenet’s own research notes and materials
created and collected in the process of writing Cassidy’s and Avery’s
biographies. Also included are photographs of Cassidy and Avery
and 31 copies of the Magdalena Mountain Mail Newspaper (1981-1986).
Although the collection is a little more than one
linear foot in size, it is rich with information on four early to
mid-twentieth century women, who by some were considered “quiet
leaders” of their time. As most of the SRCA’s collections focus
on men, this collection helps to fill the information and gender
gaps we have on women living, working, and surviving in New Mexico.
Beatrice Chauvenet first came to Santa Fe with
her husband William Chauvenet in 1926. She was a courier in the
Indian Detours and later an abstractor for the Avery-Bowman Abstract
Company. Chauvenet also served as executive secretary and director
of the Santa Fe Red Cross Chapter from 1942 to 1950. Her published
books are The Buffalo Head, with Daniel T. Kelly; Holy
Faith in Santa Fe; The Episcopal Church in Santa Fe;
Hewett and Friends: A Biography of Santa Fe’s Vibrant Era;
and John Gaw Meem: Pioneer in Historic Preservation.
In 1962, Chauvenet contracted to write Cassidy’s
biography, Ox Carts to Astronauts. The project, however,
ended some time after 1963. After Cassidy’s death in 1965, Chauvenet
received various documents from the First National Bank of Santa
Fe, executor of the estate. Included with the material were several
drafts of Cassidy’s memoirs, Life On The Picketwire, in which
she recalled growing up along the Rio de Las Animas near Boggsville
and Fort Lyon, Colorado.
Cassidy, whose parents were homesteaders in Southern
Colorado, was born March 4, 1869. Her first husband, John B. Davis,
died in 1899. She married artist Gerald Cassidy in 1912. In 1935,
she became director of the New Mexico Federal Writers Project. She
was also involved with the New Mexico Association of Indian Affairs,
the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, and the Historical Society of
New Mexico. Additionally, she wrote a column entitled “Art and Artists
in New Mexico for New Mexico Magazine.
Chauvenet’s collection of Cassidy’s papers includes
manuscripts and short stories written by Cassidy, personal correspondence,
excerpts from her diary, and notes relating to her memoirs. Chauvenet
began writing Avery’s biography in 1988. The biography was based
on Chauvenet’s collection of Avery’s papers, which includes personal
correspondence, notes, legal documents, materials on professional
organizations, and her personal notes on Grace Bowman (1875-1951),
her business partner, companion, and friend for over 50 years.
Avery and Bowman, both originally from Three Rivers,
Michigan, came to New Mexico in 1914. Avery purchased three fourths
of the Santa Fe Abstract, Realty & Insurance Agency in 1917 and
formed a business partnership with Bowman in 1918. The name of the
business was changed to the Avery-Bowman Company in 1925.
For those who have speculated over the Avery-Bowman
relationship, personal correspondence, diary transcripts, and Avery’s
touching account of Bowman’s death may provide some insight into
their enduring relationship. In her autobiographical notes Avery
also explains why she remained an “old maid.” For other related
materials, researchers may also want to review the Ina Sizer Cassidy
Collection, the Jenny M. Avery Papers, the Carmen Quintana Collection,
and the Farona G. Konopak Collection. All are available at the SRCA.
New Mexico Historical
Collection: Dawson, New Mexico
By Jose L. Villeags,
Archives and Historical
The New Mexico Historical Film Collection consists
of over one thousand 16mm, 8mm, and 35-mm motion picture films depicting
various New Mexico towns, places, cultures, traditions, and languages.
“Dawson, New Mexico,” is a 12-minute movie about Dawson, New Mexico,
a mining town and Phelps Dodge Company town 15 miles northwest of
By 1917, Dawson had a population of 6,000 people of whom 2,000
were employed in the mining business. The mining enterprise produced
5,000 tons of coal and 500 tons of coke a day.
In the film, a sign at the Dawson coal mines reads: “These mines
are next in importance to those of Pennsylvania.” The sign was typical
of the types of objects that were filmed for the movie, which is
a conglomeration of sites, signs about the sites, and an occasional
action scene – a train, tourists in a coal car, smoke pouring from
stacks. Five hundred and seventy-one coke ovens had been built at
Dawson, and the movie camera spans long rows of them from a moving
train. Seventy-five miles of underground railroad tracks that transported
the coal from five different mines throughout New Mexico and Arizona
are also depicted in the movie.
Dawson began to die as early as the mid-1920s. The coal camp had
served as the major supplier of coking fuel for the Phelps Dodge
copper smelting plants of Arizona during most of its first twenty-five
years of existence. Waste gasses were converted into heat to operate
In 1954, the Phelps Dodge Company decided to pull out of Dawson,
leaving it a ghost town of empty buildings and unused railroad tracks.
Thus, the historical significance of this movie lies in its documentation
of a New Mexico community that is no longer.
The New Mexico Historical Film Collection has motion pictures
pertaining to New Mexico history for people to see, enjoy, and use
as a bridge to the past. Films are viewed by appointment only.
If you have any films of this nature and are interested in donating
them to the Archives, please contact Jose Villegas at 505-476-7953
or write: New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Attention:
Jose L. Villegas, Sr., Film Archivist, 1209 Camino Carlos Rey, Santa
Fe, NM 87505
Records Grants for 2000-2001
By Jo Anne Jager,
In a two-stage process this spring, the New Mexico
Historical Records Advisory Board (NMHRAB) awarded over $51,000
to 16 repositories that pledged over $55,000 in matching funds and
Five recipients will be spending their awards on professional
assessments to help them prepare records management plans or collection
policies. The recipients range in size from the small Village of
Corona to the much larger Elephant Butte Irrigation District. Microfilming
of record groups to preserve the originals and make copies readily
available is the objective of several others, notably the Hispanic
Genealogical Research Center of Albuquerque. The members of that
organization have secured permission and funding to copy almost
5,000 pages of historical sacramental records of the Catholic Diocese
The general improvement of their records storage environments
is the priority of a library, a museum, and at least three county
offices. The University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library will undertake
the preservation of oral history tapes, while four other repositories
will be taking steps to preserve their photo collections, and one
county will restore its collection of survey plats.
The recent grants were part of the second year of
a strategy to assist State agencies, local authorities, and non-profit
groups in meeting their responsibility for the care and custody
of historical records. Grants will be awarded again in 2001. For
additional information contact
Jo Anne Jager, Grants Administrator, (505) 476-7936 or e-mail email@example.com.
Disaster Recovery Assistance
By Felicia Lujan,
Records Management Analyst
Recent wildfires in New Mexico prompted the evacuation
of entire cities and villages. The threat of destruction to public
records, historical documents, and books maintained by local governments,
historical societies and libraries impelled several librarians,
archivists and records mangers to form an affiliation known as the
Disaster Recovery Assistance Team (D.R.A.T.). These volunteers are
from libraries, record centers and archives throughout New Mexico.
The team is available to assist local and state governments, libraries,
historical societies, and record centers in the event of a disaster.
The D.R.A.T. can also offer advice in disaster preparedness. A disaster
preparedness plan can help mitigate the impacts of any disaster,
either natural or manmade.
Fires, floods, vandalism, intemperate weather, and
inappropriate climates are merely a few of the dilemmas that can
cause the deterioration or destruction of historical records and
books. The D.R.A.T. can offer agencies and families recovery assistance,
including information regarding preparation and preservation to
ensure the rapid evacuation of valuable materials. The team will
be offering samples of disaster recovery plans, instructional literature,
and emergency preparedness and recovery workshops. For more information
contact the New Mexico State Library at (505) 476-9700 or the New
Mexico State Records Center and Archives at (505) 476-7900.
Offered by the
Commission of Public Records
By Paula Flores,
New Mexico Administrative Code Training:
July 25, 2000: New Mexico Real Estate Commission, Albuquerque,
August 29, 2000: New Mexico State Library, Archives and Records
Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
September 26, 2000: New Mexico Tech. University, Socorro,
New Mexico. Records and Information Management Training:
August 23, 2000: New Mexico State Library, Archives and Records
Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Photograph Preservation Workshop:
August 4, 2000: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New
MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION OF PUBLIC
The Honorable Patricia
The Honorable Domingo Martinez,
The Honorable Rebecca Vigil-Giron,
Secretary of State
General Services Department
Thaddeus Bejnar, Law Librarian
New Mexico Supreme Court Law Library
Dr. Stanley Hordes, Ph.D.
Thomas Wilson, Director,
Museum of New Mexico
Any questions or comments
may be directed to Elaine Olah, State Records Administrator at
(505) 476-7902. If you are interested in receiving copy
of our newsletter, contact Paula Flores at (505) 476-7902, by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at NM State Records
Center and Archives, 1205 Camino Carlos Rey, Santa Fe, New Mexico