A knotted cord used by the Pueblo Indians to record and transmit information during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680

1205 Camino Carlos Rey, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
(505) 476-7900    FAX (505) 476-7901
July 2000                                                                                                                                              Volume 5.2
            In this issue:

New Mexico 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 property law.

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 China

Donation of the Beatrice Chauvenet Collection

By Melissa Salazar,
Archives and Historical
Services Division


While the 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 Film
Collection: Dawson, New Mexico

By Jose L. Villeags,
Archives and Historical
Services Division


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 Raton.

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 the plant.

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

Historical Records Grants for 2000-2001

By Jo Anne Jager,
Grants Administrator


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 in-kind services.

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 of Gallup.

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 jjager@rain.state.nm.us.

Disaster Recovery Assistance Team

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.


Upcoming Training Offered by the
Commission of Public Records

By Paula Flores,


New Mexico Administrative Code Training:

•July 25, 2000: New Mexico Real Estate Commission, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

•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 Mexico.


The Honorable Patricia Madrid,
Attorney General

The Honorable Domingo Martinez,
State Auditor

The Honorable Rebecca Vigil-Giron,
Secretary of State

Steven Beffort, Secretary
General Services Department

Thaddeus Bejnar, Law Librarian
New Mexico Supreme Court Law Library

Dr. Stanley Hordes, Ph.D. Chair,

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 pvarela@rain.state.nm.us, or by mail at NM State Records Center and Archives, 1205 Camino Carlos Rey, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505.