Martin and Refugio Amador surrounded by their seven children in a family portrait taken in Las Cruces around 1900

Martin and Refugio Amador surrounded by their seven children in a family portrait taken in Las Cruces around 1900 Credit: Photo Courtesy of Amador Family Papers. Ms 0004. New Mexico State University Library, Archives and Special Collections Department.

Spanish-language correspondence from the Amador papers

Spanish-language correspondence from the Amador papers

Hispanic Heritage Month – Amador Family

Wed, Sep 28, 2022, 10:00am | By Jennifer Olguin

September 15 to October 15 marks Hispanic Heritage Month. This monthlong celebration recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans throughout the country. The monthlong observation celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of a diverse community. I’m pleased to be the first Latina archivist of the Rio Grande Historical Collections (RGHC) at New Mexico State University Library, I am fortunate to be the caretaker of many rich and historical collections such as research records of organizations, personal papers, and other unpublished materials which document the cultural heritage and history of New Mexico and the Spanish Borderlands. 

As you might expect, the RGHC has a variety of Hispanic-based archival holdings, but I wanted to highlight one of the most utilized holdings, the Amador family papers. The Amador family is a Mexican American family who settled in Las Cruces in the late 1840s. The family operated a general store, livery stable, and hotel. Within the family papers are 15,000 pages of original Spanish-language correspondence which sheds light on family matters, social life, community events, business affairs, health, and education to name a few topics. The letters are a valuable resource due to their historical and cultural context. In addition, the letters provide a unique, first-person narrative of the Mexican American lived experience during an influential period.  

The Amador family correspondence makes up about 40 linear feet of manuscript material and aside from the correspondence, the papers include business records, store ledgers, scrapbooks, children drawing notebooks, announcements of weddings, baptisms and funerals, postcards, and hundreds of photographs. 

The Amador family papers came to the NMSU Library in 1962, and since then the family papers have been a well-consulted free resource on-site for researchers for a wide array of research purposes such as for class assignments, scholarly publications, video documentaries, and for personal research interests. Soon the correspondence will be available digitally, and researchers will have the option to consult decades worth of letters from the comfort of their own home or wherever the Internet is available.  

This past May the New Mexico State University Library received a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to digitize and continue preserving the Amador family papers. The NEH grant will be used to digitize and increase access to 15,000 pages of original correspondence from the Amador family which spans over 75 years. The project is led by Monika Glowacka-Musial, metadata librarian at NMSU Library; Dennis Daily, department head of NMSU’s Archives and Special Collections; and myself, Jennifer Olguin, NMSU’s Rio Grande Historical Collections archivist. The digitization project is expected to take about three years to complete, from August 2022 to August 2025. 

Aside from the Amador family papers, below are various Rio Grande Historical Collections (RGHC) archival holdings that highlight the diverse holdings relating to the Hispanic heritage of the region: 

Jennifer Olguin is a native New Mexican and is a tenure-track faculty member at New Mexico State University Library and oversees the Rio Grande Historical Collections Archivist at New Mexico State University. She obtained her undergraduate degrees at New Mexico State University and the University of North Texas.

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this blog post/article does not necessarily represent those of the New Mexico Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tags 4las crucesamador familyhispanic heritagenuevo mexico

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Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these blog posts/articles do not necessarily represent those of the New Mexico Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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