NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

International history award bestowed upon NMSU professor

An associate professor of history at New Mexico State University is the recipient of an award from the international Oral History Association for "The Oral Histories of the Taylor Family and Residence."

ner will receive the Elizabeth Mason Award in October in Little Rock, Ark. The international award is given every two years. Hunner was selected for the interviews conducted with former New Mexico State Rep. J. Paul Taylor, his wife Mary, and their six children - Robert, Dolores, Michael, Pat, Mary Helen, and Rosemary - about their home on the Mesilla Plaza. The Taylor family is donating their historic home and its many pieces of art and artifacts to New Mexico State Monuments to eventually become a museum.

"It's an honor to get the award, but really it's the Taylor family that should be recognized," Hunner said. "My part was easy; I just put the microphone in front of them, asked questions and just had a great time talking with them. They are a unique family who have been heritage preservationists for generations and continue to be."

Also included in the project team was videographer Hugo Perez, a former KRWG-TV staff member, and public history graduate students Veronica Gallardo and Diane Bebin.

J. Paul Taylor worked in the Las Cruces Public Schools for 30 years as a teacher, principal and superintendent. In 1988 he was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives. For 14 years, he pushed for the rights of children, the poor, the elderly, and arts and historic preservation.

Oral history has become an important way of preserving history, Hunner said.

"With oral history, emotions, motivations, joy, sorrow - all of that is right there. You don't see pieces of paper cry in the archives, but in oral history you might see people cry, or laugh or come up to new realizations," he said.

Bob Nosbisch
Sept. 1, 2006