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Finding Aid to the Spanish Archives of New Mexico Translations MS.204
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Access
  • Historical Note
  • Acquisition
  • Preferred citation
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Other finding aids
  • Arrangement
  • Processing history
  • Use
  • Biographical note

  • Title: Spanish Archives of New Mexico Translations
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.204
    Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 4.0 Linear feet 5 document boxes
    Date (inclusive): mid-1930s
    Language: English.
    Abstract: This is a collection of English translations of the Spanish Archives of New Mexico, which was an endeavor of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the mid-1930s. Records in this collection document matters of estates, land grants, wills, government, and relations between Spanish colonists, Native Americans, and Anglo Americans in New Mexico between 1682 and 1855. Translations were made by WPA employees in New Mexico, and a typed set were donated to the Southwest Museum in 1938.
    creator: United States. Works Progress Administration.

    Scope and Contents note

    This collection of 638 documents consists of English translations made by Works Progress Administration employees of selected Spanish documents from the Spanish Archives of New Mexico. The original documents which are translated in this collection range in date from 1682-1855 and include correspondence, decrees, estate and archival inventories, land grants, lawsuits, petitions, reports on Indian campaigns, sale of land and houses, wills and other papers regarding relations between Spanish settlers and Native Americans, Anglo-Americans, and colonial rule in New Mexico. The English translations are identified by their Twitchell number, and full descriptions and titles of the documents can be found by consulting Twitchell’s publications Spanish Archives of New Mexico, volumes 1 and 2.


    Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application or contact library staff at rroom@theautry.org. An item-level inventory is available from library staff.

    Historical Note

    The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was a relief measure established in 1935 by executive order. From 1935 until its end in 1943, the WPA employed more than 8.5 million people and established almost 1.5 million projects, including construction of roads, dams, schools and other public facilities, murals in public buildings, written guides to each state, and the Historical Records Survey. Administrative control of these projects was turned over to the states in 1939.
    The Spanish Archives of New Mexico was assembled by the Surveyor General of New Mexico (1854-1891) and the Court of Private Land Claims (1891-1904). These offices were charged with investigating claims of property ownership in New Mexico and reporting to the United States Congress in order to adjudicate land titles pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Some of these Archives were translated into English by Ralph E. Twitchell for his 1914 publication Spanish Archives of New Mexico. More English translations were completed as part of the WPA Historical Records Survey in the mid-1930s, under the direction and supervision of Fred G. Healey and Ina Sizer Cassidy. Upon completion of the project, paper copies of 637 documents were donated to the Southwest Museum by the WPA.
    The English translations are identified by their Twitchell number, and full descriptions and titles of the documents can be found by consulting Twitchell’s Spanish Archives of New Mexico, volume 1.
    The original Spanish archives consist of administrative, civil, ecclesiastical, and military records of the Spanish colonial government in New Mexico from 1621-1821.
    References “Works Progress Administration." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2000. 1129. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Accessed April 27 2011. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?&id=GALE%7CCX3406401047&v=2.1&u=uclosangeles&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w.
    Lawson, Alan. "Works Progress Administration." Dictionary of American History. Ed. Stanley I. Kutler. 3rd ed. Vol. 8. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. 530-531. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Accessed April 27, 2011. http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?&id=GALE%7CCX3401804595&v=2.1&u=uclosangeles&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w.
    The Center for Southwest Research, “Land Grant Research,” http://elibrary.unm.edu/cswr.


    Donation by the Works Progress Administration, 1938.

    Preferred citation

    Spanish Archives of New Mexico, mid-1930s, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.204; [folder number] [folder title][date].

    Related Archival Materials

    Spanish Archives of New Mexico, New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
    Spanish Archives of New Mexico Translations, Fray Angelico Chavez History Library, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    Other finding aids

    Descriptions and titles of the documents can be found in Spanish Archives of New Mexico: compiled and chronologically arranged with historical, genealogical, geographical, and other annotations by authority of the state of New Mexico, by Ralph Emerson Twitchell, [Cedar Rapids, Ia.]: Torch Press, 1914. Braun Research Library Collection 016.9789 T v. 1-2.


    Collection is in chronological order of original document.

    Processing history

    Historical note prepared by Eloise Nelson, Braun Research Library intern, 2011 March 23. Initial processing completed by Braun Library staff. Finding aid completed by Holly Rose Larson, NHPRC Processing Archivist, 2012 August 6, made possible through grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commissions (NHPRC).


    Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Biographical note

    Twitchell was a prominent New Mexico lawyer and the most notable historian of New Mexico of his time. In May 1892 Twitchell helped save the Santa Fe Archives from a fire that destroyed the territorial capital building. In 1914 he published Spanish Archives of New Mexico, which was the first calendar and guide to the Spanish Archives manuscript collection (the same that he had earlier helped save from fire) and was used to develop the finding aids for the Archives.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Indians of North America -- Government relations
    Indians of North America -- New Mexico
    Land grants -- New Mexico
    Land titles -- New Mexico
    Manuscripts, Spanish
    New Mexico -- Colonization
    New Mexico -- History -- To 1848
    New Mexico -- Officials and employees
    New Mexico -- Politics and government
    Spanish Americans