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Women's groups are the focus of historical collection

The Rio Grande Historical Collections at New Mexico State University contains 46 collections -- 42 manuscripts and four oral history collections -- on New Mexico women and women's groups.


uscripts included in the collections, some of which date back to 1836, include such things as diaries, clippings, correspondence, research files and photographs. The papers detail events in New Mexico history, including ranch life, social affairs, weather conditions and state events, such as New Mexico's admission into the Union.

The oral history collections include interview transcripts and other documents from four oral history projects: Gender and the Counterculture Women of New Mexico, 1968-1973, the New Mexico Federation of Women's Clubs Oral History Project, the Oral Histories of Low Income and Minority Women Project and the NMSU Women's Oral History Project.

The manuscript collections contain papers from past New Mexico State faculty, staff and students, including teacher Celestine Roach Neale, registrar Era Rentfrow, museum curator Terry R. Reynolds and Marianne Hobbs Thaeler, the first female commissioner of Las Cruces.

Authors featured in the collections are Bula (Mrs. Tom) Charles, who co-authored "Tales of Tularosa;" author of "Journey to the People" Ann Nolan Clark; author of "No Life for a Lady" Agnes Morley Cleaveland; mystery writer and journalist Margaret Page Hood; southwestern author Dorothy Pillsbury; co-author of "Cowboys and Cattlemen" and "Indian Women of the Southwest" Lela Waltrip and Grace Barker Wilson, the first woman inducted into the New Mexico Education Hall of Fame.

Papers from other notable women in New Mexico history also can be found in the women's collections. Among these are Anne Bucher, the first female member of the National Building Owners and Managers Association, Las Cruces' first high school principal Frances "Fannie" French, social and civic activist Carmen Freudenthal, who helped establish Planned Parenthood in Dona Ana county, composer of the New Mexico state song Elizabeth Garrett, founder of the Socorro chapter of the Woman's Auxiliary to the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineer Betty Blakslee Reynolds, social worker, educator, librarian and actress Marie Pope Wallis, artist Ernestine Chesser Williams and women's rights activist Frances F. Williams.

The collections also contain information from various women's groups in New Mexico, such as the Grants Woman's Club, the Loretto Academy, the New Mexico Chapter of the Philanthropic and Educational Organization Sisterhood, the Progress Club of Las Cruces and the Women's Improvement Association.

The women's collections are located on the fourth floor of Branson Hall Library in the Rio Grande Historical Collections, which is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact the Rio Grande Historical Collections at (505) 646-3839 or archives@lib.nmsu.edu.