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Tipton (William M.) Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical History
  • Organizational History
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content of the Collection
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Archives & Special Collections, Santa Clara University Library
    Title: William M. Tipton Papers
    creator: Tipton, William (William M. Tipton)
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.1923.09.23
    Physical Description: 1.79 linear feet (1 document box, 1 archival binder and 1 flat box)
    Date (inclusive): 1887-1978 (bulk 1893-1918)
    Abstract: The William M. Tipton Papers, 1887-1978 (bulk 1893-1918), document the personal and professional life of William M. Tipton. The records consist of pamphlets, correspondence, Spanish vocabulary lists, photographs, land surveying tools, government documents, newspaper clippings, and various notes. This collection is arranged into three series: Series I. William M. Tipton's Personal Papers, 1887-1978 (bulk 1893-1918); Series II. Lists of Spanish Terms with English Translations, n.d.; and Series III. Surveyor Tools and "The Gift of Tongues" Manuscripts, 1915-1923 (bulk 1915-1917).
    Language of Material: English, Spanish.
    Physical Location: This collection is located in Santa Clara University Library's Archives & Special Collections.


    The collection is open for research. There are no restrictions.


    This collection is arranged into three series: Series I. William M. Tipton's Personal Papers, 1887-1978 (bulk 1893-1918); Series II. Lists of Spanish Terms with English Translations, n.d.; and Series III. Surveyor Tools and "The Gift of Tongues" Manuscripts, 1915-1923 (bulk 1915-1917).

    Biographical History

    William M. Tipton was born in Dayton, Ohio on February 20th, 1857. His family moved to Brownsville, Nebraska the following year and his father Thomas Weston Tipton was elected to the United States Senate after the end of the Civil War. During Thomas Tipton's incumbency, the family lived in Washington, D.C. where William Tipton was educated at the Emerson Institute. William Tipton briefly taught in the Brownsville, Nebraska public schools before accepting a position in the office of the Surveyor General of the Territory of New Mexico in Santa Fe. In order to read old governmental documents from New Mexico from its time under the governance of Spain and Mexico, Tipton learned Spanish and began to develop skilled understanding of land grants and how to handle Spanish language documents specifically. Because of this self-taught expertise, he worked as a land surveyor and protected the U.S. government from fraudulent land claims in the New Mexico Territory.
    On August 15, 1892, Tipton was appointed a Special Agent and Spanish Expert to the United States Attorney for the Court of Private Land Claims. The court was organized to address and settle land claims in New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona in the aftermath of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. In 1901, Tipton was sent by the United States government to the Philippines at the beginning of the U.S. occupation following the 1898 Treaty of Paris. He established the Bureau of Public Lands and became of the first head of the Bureau. After a few years working in Manila, Tipton returned to the United States and worked in different federal and New Mexican state government positions before his retirement in 1921.
    He then moved to Santa Clara County with his second wife, Alice J. Tipton, and lived on a ranch there until his death in 1922 at the age of 65.
    Throughout his life, Tipton complied lists of Spanish terms with the hope of adding them to a Spanish-English dictionary. These lists make up the majority of his personal papers.
    The biographical information for this finding aid comes mostly from a letter written by William Tipton's second wife Alice J. Tipton to the University President Rev. Zacheus J. Maher, S.J. from when she transferred William Tipton's papers to the University Library in 1923 and from an article from the The American Surveyor.
    Bibliography Roeder, Fred, LS. "Will Tipton of the Spanish Archives." AmeriSurv.com. The American Surveyor, 11 Aug. 2009. 05 Aug. 2016.

    Organizational History

    Santa Clara University was founded in 1851 by the Society of Jesus as Santa Clara College and is California's oldest operating institution of higher learning. It was established on the grounds of Mission Santa Clara de Asìs, the eighth of the original 21 California missions. The college originally operated as a preparatory school and did not offer courses of collegiate rank until 1853. The institution became known as the University of Santa Clara in 1912, when the schools of engineering and law were added. For 110 years, Santa Clara University was an all-male school. In 1961, women were accepted as undergraduates and Santa Clara University became the first coeducational Catholic university in California. The number of students and faculty tripled over the next decade and the university began the largest building program in school history with eight residence halls, a student union, and an athletic stadium. In the early 1970s, the Board of Trustees voted to limit the size of the undergraduate population, an action that was intended to preserve the character and ensure the quality of the university for generations to come. In 1985, the university adopted Santa Clara University as its official name. Bibliography: Santa Clara University. "About SCU – History." www.scu.edu/about/history.cfm (Accessed Nov. 23, 2010) McKevitt, Gerald, S.J. The University of Santa Clara: A History, 1851-1977. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1979.

    Preferred Citation

    William M. Tipton Papers, MSS.1923.09.23, Santa Clara University Library, Archives & Special Collections.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed and finding aid written by Michelle Runyon in 2016. Finding aid updated and EAD encoded by Andrea Hoff in 2019.

    Related Materials

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    Código de colonización y terrenos baldíos de la República Mexicana / formado por Francisco F. de la Maza y publicado según acuerdo del presidente de la República. Por conducto de la Secretaría de estado y del despacho de fomento. Años de 1451 a 1892 (link to bibliographic record): https://sculib.scu.edu/record=b1302826
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    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The William M. Tipton Papers, 1887-1978 (bulk 1893-1918), document the professional and personal life of William M. Tipton who worked in several capacities for the state and federal government, starting as a land surveyor for the New Mexico Territory. In his spare time, Tipton complied several lists of Spanish terms that did not appear in most prominent Spanish-English dictionaries of his time with the hope of submitting them and also studied how Tagalog interacted with Spanish in the Philippines. The records consist of lists of Spanish terms, notes, government documents, land surveyor tools, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and photographs.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in Archives & Special Collections may be subject to copyright. All requests for permission to publish from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the University Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Archives & Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials, and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Santa Clara University -- History
    Education, Higher -- California -- San Jose
    New Mexico -- History
    Land Grants -- New Mexico