Choosing a Topic

Students can choose any topic they want, as long as they feel they can demonstrate the impact of their topic in history. Students should be aware that primary sources for some topics may be difficult to find and some topics may lend themselves to one category more than another.  

If you need non-digital materials from a library please get in touch with the library as soon as possible to request them. 

NHD Step by Step

Click the links to navigate to a page with a recorded webinar and downloadable resources for the classroom.

Planning an NHD Year »

Exploring the Theme »

Choosing a Topic »

Writing a NHD Thesis Statement »

Doing NHD Research »

New Mexico Digital Resources

The Seeing Red Radio archives are not necessarily New Mexico specific, but are a snapshot of Native activism in the early 70s, and the archive contains interviews with many major artists, activists, and community leaders from the time, including Mescalero and Navajo.

Rudolfo Anaya archives »

Tony Hillerman archives »

Reverend John Menaul »

Padre Antonio José Martinez »

FSA-OWI New Deal photographs of New Mexico »

Seeing Red Radio Archives - AIM and Contemporary Native arts and politics »

Full Text Online Books from New Mexico history »

Federal Writers Project in New Mexico »

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Letterhead, New Mexico Branch of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. From the Thomas Catron papers.

Letterhead, New Mexico Branch of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. From the Thomas Catron papers.

Primary Sources for Women's Suffrage in NM

UNM Women's Suffrage Lib Guide

The following digital documents are provided only for research purposes. Please cite them appropriately. The NMHC can not give permission for publication or use for any of these materials; please contact the copyright holder.


Suffrage Documents in the Thomas Catron Papers

warning: these are large files

Please cite: Thomas B. Catron Papers, Sect. 408, box I, folder 19. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. 


Suffrage articles in the Santa Fe New Mexican

Please cite: (e.g.) Santa Fe New Mexican, 26, 27, 29 February 1916.


Secondary Sources on NM Suffrage

Please cite:

Joan M. Jensen, "'Disenfranchisement is a Disgrace': Women and Politics in New Mexico, 1900-1940," New Mexico Historical Review 56.1 (January 1981): 5-36.

Dunbar, Laird J.. "A Study of the Suffrage of the Arizona and New Mexico Indian." (1948).

Young, Janine A.. ""For the best interests of the community": the origins and impact of the women's suffrage movement in New Mexico, 1900-1930." (1984).

Kerstetter, Mary Ann. "Suffrage- New Mexico's Story." Unpublished.

Martinez, Stephen C. 2006. Civic Ideals in New Mexico: The Sacred Quest for Citizenship. 2006.

Machen, Meredith. "Ada McPherson Morley." Unpublished.

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Digital Resources at NMSU

Explore New Mexico People, Places, & Events For Your History Day Project!

The list below of primary source material available at the New Mexico State University Library Archives & Special Collections (ASC) relates directly to the theme, Communication in History: The Key to Understanding. Students interested in exploring these topics, or any other local history topic, should visit contact ASC during normal business hours at (575) 646-3839 and ask to speak with an archivist. They may also send email correspondence to

More information about ASC can be found at

* Publishing agricultural research and helpful information for New Mexico farm and ranch families.
Since its founding, NMSU has worked to communicate with agricultural interests across the state regarding
cutting edge plant and animal science research as well as practical application of the results via newspapers,
reports, guides, and handbooks. Over 100 years of this Ag Extension and Experiment Station information can be
accessed at and

* The scrapbook of Howell Allie Smith communicates the experiences of college students in the 1910s.
Containing hundreds of photographs, autographs from classmates, detailed logs of academic and social activities,
souvenir programs of balls, dances, promenades and cotillions, class schedules, membership cards for student
organizations, letters from friends and family, newspaper clippings, records of R.O.T.C. and military service in
WWI, and his cherished diploma, this scrapbook documents an actives social life. More about the book and
images from it can be found at:

* The diary of Captain Joseph Quesenberry, a 23-year old student killed in France during World War I.
A recently acquired diary of Joe Quesenberry documents the former student’s time with the U.S. Army 18th Infantry
as he leaves his Las Cruces home, trains at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and then deploys overseas with Company
K. The diary can be accessed at More about his life and sacrifice can be found at

* Communicating to the world the discovery of the planet Pluto.
Astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh discovered Pluto in 1930, a claim that had to undergo rigorous scientific scrutiny
and verification. The personal and professional papers of the longtime NMSU faculty member can be found at; the digital files include his time at the Lowell
Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona where carefully documented his discovery.

* Letters from World War II soldiers documenting their experiences during the war.
Dean Daniel B. Jett of New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (today’s NMSU) received hundreds
of letters during World War II from his former students about their war experiences. Many of these letters were
reproduced in the book, The Whole Damned World: New Mexico Aggies at War, 1941-1945: World War II
Correspondence of Dean Daniel B. Jett (NMSU Library/Rio Grande Books: 2009). An online exhibit, Aggies at
War, includes a selection of these moving letters and portraits:

* Miscommunication, suppression of free speech, and mistrust create a decade of student protest at NMSU.
From the late 1960s thru 1970s students protested, demonstrated, and occasionally rioted over disagreements with
university leadership on issues of cultural diversity, ROTC enlistment, and campus rules. The exhibit, Controversy
and Confrontation, NMSU: 1968-1978, includes photographs and copies of student “underground” publications:

The above ideas can also be further researched using the following digital collections at the NMSU Library. Additional topics, particularly about student life, can also be discovered by perusing these resources:

* Photographic Collections:
More than 500,000 photographic items from the Rio Grande Historical Collections, with materials that cover almost 150 years of image making in New Mexico and the Southwest and pertain to all aspects of the state's cultural heritage.

* The Round-Up:
The student newspaper has been published since 1893 and it is one of the most highly requested resources in the Archives’ collections at the NMSU Library.

* NMSU News Release:
This digital collection features a selection of over 11,000 print news releases distributed by the university information service to local and world-wide media agencies from 1958 to 1974.

* NMSU Yearbooks:
The NMSU Yearbooks collection consists of 95 editions of the student yearbook, from its first publication in 1907 to its final edition in 1992. Originally named the Swastika, and later renamed The Phoenix, these student yearbooks contain a wealth of university history and nostalgia.

While much of our holdings are not digitized, we encourage students to also review our collection guides or finding aids and contact ASC to request material be digitized. Most of our archival collections include letters, official correspondence, telegrams, new releases, and audio-visual recordings,

* Rio Grande Historical Collections:
Research records of organizations, personal papers, and other unpublished materials which document the cultural heritage and history of New Mexico and the Spanish Borderlands.

New Mexico State University Library
Archives & Special Collections
(575) 646-3839

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Digital Resources at the Center for Southwest Research

New Mexico Digital Collection

There are photographs, postcards, prints art work and posters on the NMDC. How can images and art convey a message?

El Hispano photo news collection,  how and what did this newspaper  try to say about Hispanics

Navajo Oral Histories transcripts in English, with stories of elders back to the Long Walk and into 1900s and downward. How is oral history a type of communication?

There are oral histories from Chimayo. How can people communicate the past through stories?

Black Alumni Oral History Collection. What message do the African Americans want to communicate  and share with us today?

CSQWR Try search term “Felipe Chaves”   and see if can find a letter from the past 1800s when people wrote pen and ink. Can you find several and describe them?

Here is a letter in the Felipe Chaves set --  1859 from husband to wife

Significant Digital Collections

Michael Steck Papers are mostly scanned on the NMDC, from 1850s-1860s, military, Indian Agency, mining

Indian Affairs Collection, NM Pueblos 1864-1903 is scanned totally

U.S. Soil Conservation Service, 1930s, MSS 289 BC, The Rio Grande series - NM (Boxes 16 and 17) online at  New Mexico Waters.

John Donald Robb field recordings, NM folk music, Native American, Hispanic, Anglo American. How are songs used for communication?


SEE -- Online exhibit World War II NM


Also, online exhibit Women Right Vote 1920-2020


NOTE Many online sources for your students are -----

Or see the UNM Repository directly   to start searching, it has dissertations and scholar studies, even historical NM newspapers. Easier to use than Chronicling America from Library of Congress!


CSWR docs from Spanish and Mexican era on the NMDC

There are a couple of Span colonial docs for NM from the AGI, AGN that I put up on there -----  search these terms

Funds for Captain Domingo Gonzales and family to go to New Mexico, Crown support, 1527

Freedom for a Chichimeca Woman Slave, SW, 1592

Payment to Don Andres, Principal Indian, of New Mexico, from King, 1620

Cristobal de Avila, Petition for Nobility, NM 1630

Appointment of Pedro de la Aguila, Indio, as Governor of the Tiguas, Isleta Pueblo, 1665

Appointment of Mateo Pacheco, Indian, as Governor of Jemez Pueblo, 1665

Comanche battle map and Comanche battle tally sheet (1780s, Gov. Juan Bautista de Anza allies Comanches)

Promotion of Donaciano Vigil by President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexico (Vigil is a NM officer 1841)

Other Primary Sources

In addition, there are many land grant maps and papers, some in Spanish, from Thomas B. Catron Collection scanned on the NMDC

There are historic NM maps from the Eleanor B. Adams Collection on the NMDC (as well as NM maps from other collections, too).

 There are docs, letters from Mexican era and US Territory of NM in the Wm G. Ritch Coll, broad, varied, ie. 1837 Revolt, Santa Fe traders, U.S. Invasion and such.



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The Right to Vote

We can't do anything about the past, but we can ensure that the future is different.
--Sylvia Ramos, National Organization of Women

2020 marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment, giving women the vote in the United States.  

Asian Americans didn't get the vote until 1943. Native Americans didn't become citizens until 1924 and gained suffrage very slowly, and although Miguel Trujillo won the right for the pueblo people in New Mexico in 1947, all Natives in New Mexico did not have the right to vote until 1948


If you are a teacher and would like to request the Herstory: Women's History in American source book from NHD, please contact New Mexico Coordinator Ellen Dornan

The following resources are provided for information purposes, with no endorsement from the NM Humanities Council.

National Women's History Museum: Using Historic Sites in NHD Research »

NPS: New Mexico and the 19th Amendment »

American Journalism: Suffrage and the Media »

Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States »

Women Leading the Way »

National Women's History Alliance »

National Votes for Women Trail »

Womens' Access to the Vote »

Womens Suffrage Primary Source - Library of Congress »

African American Homesteaders

Dr. Timothy E. Nelson has compiled resources on Blackdom, the all-black settlement on the Pecos.

Dr. Nelson Dissertation on Blackdom »

Article about Blackdom: Santa Fe New Mexican »

Blackdom Website - Dr. Timothy Nelson »

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Los Alamos Historical Society

Reach out to museum educator Aimee Slaughter for additional help. Contact information on the linked page.

LAHS online resources & other NHD info »

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Other Digital Archives

Some major digital archives for popular topics.

911 Digital Archive »

White House Historical Association Digital Library »

Civil Rights Digital Library - University of Georgia »

Densho: Digital Archive of Japanese American Internment »

Civil Rights Documents at the National Archive »

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