Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections welcomes new faculty members.

tomas jaehnTomas Jaehn joined University Libraries in July as the director of the Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections. Before joining the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences he worked at the Idaho State Historical Library and Archives in Boise, Stanford University Libraries in California, and at the New Mexico History Museum’s Fray Angélico Chávez History Library in Santa Fe. He attended universities in Germany and the United States and holds a PhD in history from the University of New Mexico.

As a graduate student at UNM he worked in the CSWR providing reference assistance to researchers in the Anderson Reading Room and says he feels quite at home in his new position.

He specializes in interdisciplinary subjects relating to New Mexico and the American Southwest as well as U.S. and European histories and cultures, and covers rare materials from around the world. He has written articles and edited books about the Southwest and West and is the author of Germans in the Southwest, 1850–1920 (University of New Mexico Press, 2005). Most recently he edited and wrote the preface to the German edition of Jedediah Smith: Durch Amerikas Südwesten, 1826-1828 (2015).



michael taylorMichael Taylor joined the CSWR in August 2016 as head of public services for Special Collections and the Center for Southwest Research. In this role, he oversees reference, instruction, and outreach involving archival materials and rare books.

Michael holds graduate degrees in history and library science from Indiana University, with a specialization in rare books and manuscripts librarianship. He has received additional training from Rare Book School (University of Virginia), California Rare Book School (UCLA), and the History of Books & Printing Workshop at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining UNM, he worked for eight years as the rare books curator at Louisiana State University, where he was involved in acquisitions, outreach, exhibitions, digitization, and grant writing, significantly expanded the Special Collections instruction and social media programs, and launched the library’s “Afternoon in the Archives” programming series. From 2004 to 2007, Michael worked in public services and image reproductions at the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

Michael is a member of the Rare Books & Manuscripts Section of the Association of College & Research Libraries and has also participated in various historical associations. His current research focuses on library outreach, programming, and the history of books and printing.

Portia VescioPortia Vescio began working at the University of New Mexico in May 2016 as the University Archivist. She is responsible for collecting, cataloging, and promoting the university’s historical documents and photographs.  Prior to arriving at UNM, Portia was the assistant director of the University Archives & Historical Collections at Michigan State University.  She was at MSU for nearly 14 years and during her time there taught a freshman seminar, developed a reference training program, started the department outreach and instruction programs, and taught adult education classes.  Prior to her time at MSU she spent nearly two years at New Mexico State University as a manuscripts librarian for the Rio Grande Historical Collections.  Portia received her MLIS degree from Indiana University and her BS in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Portia has been actively involved in archival organizations since receiving her degree.  She has served on many committees for various archival organizations and co-planned an international archival conference in 2005.