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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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Rio Grande Historical Collections announces new online oral history resource

The Rio Grande Historical Collections at the New Mexico State University Library has added an online oral history resource to its Web site.

d abstracts of the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum oral history project "Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture" are available at http://archives.nmsu.edu/rghc/index/pow/.

Full transcripts and the interview tapes are available for use in the repository. The Web site also features photographs of prisoners and guards and a map of prisoner of war camps located in New Mexico.

The collection of audio and video tapes documents the use of POWs in New Mexico agriculture during World War II. Italian and German POWs were housed in New Mexico and some worked as laborers harvesting and planting mostly commercial crops. Two large camps were located near Roswell and Lordsburg and there were many smaller base camps established throughout southern and eastern New Mexico.

The collection contains the oral history interviews of former POWs, farmers or their descendants, townsfolk and children's perspectives of the POWs, guards, civilian camp employees, adjunct workers and program administrators. Topics cover the work and daily life of the POWs, the farmers' assessment of the work of the POWs and of the program and the administration of the program by state and local government officials.

The exhibit, "To Get the Job Done: Employing Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture During World War II," based in part on the oral history collection, was recently on display at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. The exhibit will be installed at the Fort Bliss Museum in El Paso, Texas, September through December.

For more information about the exhibit, call the Farm and Ranch Museum at (505) 522-4100.

To view the collection "Prisoners of War in New Mexico Agriculture" visit the Rio Grande Historical Collections Web site at http://archives.nmsu.edu/rghc/index/pow/. For more information contact Portia Vescio at (505) 646-4746 or pvescio@lib.nmsu.edu.

Aug. 1, 2002