Collection Strengths

Collection Strengths

Manuscript Collections

Manuscript collections at the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections shed light on the political, economic, social and cultural history of New Mexico and also contain materials relating to the greater Southwest, Mexico, and other parts of Latin America. Rich in primary source materials including correspondence, oral histories, scrapbooks, diaries, literary manuscripts, unpublished reports, financial records, legal documents, broadsides, maps, photographs, and audio/video recordings, most of the collections date from the 19th and 20th centuries and include the papers and records of historical and literary figures, organizations, and businesses. 

Search for collections in the New Mexico Archives Online and request them in the Anderson Reading Room. See Using Collections for more information. Selected manuscript materials can be found in New Mexico Digital Collections.

Printed materials in the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections focus on the history, literature, and culture of New Mexico and the Southwest from the earliest times to the present. The collection includes antiquarian titles as well as modern local history materials, scholarly publications, reference works, and ephemera. Highlights include the original 1610 edition of Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá’s Historia de la Nueva Mexico, an epic poem chronicling Juan de Oñate’s colonization of New Mexico; Edward Curtis’s The North American Indian; early publications by Father Antonio José Martínez, New Mexico’s first printer; and Pat Garrett’s rare The Authentic Life of Billy the Kid (1882).

Latin America is another area of strength, with a focus on Mexico. General historical and literary works are complemented by travel accounts, grammars and dictionaries, sheet music, Latin American crime and detective fiction, cookbooks, fine press and artists’ books, facsimiles of Mesoamerican manuscripts (including Lord Kingsborough’s Antiquities of Mexico), and materials related to the history of books and printing. Much of the collection came from the libraries of Senator Thomas B. Catron and historian Paul Van de Velde. For more information, see Russ Davidson, Latin American Holdings in the University of New Mexico Library (2004).

Also held is a general collection of rare books that in addition to supporting research, is a good source of teaching aides. Holdings range from samples of Egyptian papyrus and medieval parchment to Victorian dime novels and twentieth-century science fiction magazines. Notable works in the collection include an edition of John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Richard Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1599), the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of Abraham Ortelius (1595), Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary (1755), and William Morris’ edition of the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the Kelmscott Chaucer. Many examples of historical book arts are also available, including fine bindings, fore-edge paintings, decorative paper, and artists’ books. 


Pictorial Collections

The pictorial collections contain over 120,000 images dating from the mid-1850's to the present and focus primarily on New Mexico, the Southwest, and Latin America. Major collections include the Cobb Memorial Collection, the Henry A. Schmidt Collection, and the Atlantic & Pacific Railway Collection. Selected images are available in New Mexico Digital Collections.

In addition to its extensive photographic holdings, the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections also holds the Sam L. Slick Collection of Latin American & Iberian Posters (10,000 items), an archive of prints and broadsides by the Mexican popular graphic artist José Guadalupe Posada, eleven portfolios of lithographs by Guatemalan artist Carlos Mérida, and a comprehensive archive of work done by the Mexican printmaking cooperative Taller de Gráfica Popular.

For more information, see the Photographs and Images Research Guide. All pictorial collections have finding aids in the  New Mexico Archives Online .


University Archives

The University Archives was established in 1985 to prepare for UNM's centennial celebration in 1989.  The mission of the University Archives is to collect, organize, preserve, and make available University records that have long-term historical significance and to encourage their use in classes and by the community.  The collections include administrative records, departmental records, faculty papers, alumni collections, and student organizational records.

General Access and Use

UNM Archives and other UNM resources are available in the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections (CSWR), Anderson Reading Room. Come in or contact the CSWR for assistance. See Using CSWR Collections for more information.

Photo of UNM cheerleaders from the 1950s

Research UNM:

University Archives' collections can be searched through finding aids on New Mexico Archives Online. UNM Publications can be searched in the library catalog and include many books, class catalogs, yearbooks, annual reports, periodicals, theses, dissertations, and UNM Press books. 
The UNM Digital Repository contains digitized collection materials. Find articles, reports, and more from UNM faculty, staff, and students, as well as UNM theses and dissertations. 
New Mexico Digital Collections contains nearly 3,000 selected photographs and documents digitized by the University Archives.

UNM Vertical Files are subject and newsclipping files on many UNM topics, including campus architecture, art, activism, and departments and organizations.

Online Publications:

Online Records:


Los Luceros House, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico

John Gaw Meem Archives of Southwestern Architecture

The John Gaw Meem Archives of Southwestern Architecture documents the built environment of New Mexico and the Southwest region. Named for renowned New Mexican architect and preservationist John Gaw Meem, the archives document the works of numerous New Mexican and Southwest regional architects, builders, preservationists and architectural historians.

Materials include:

  • Architectural drawings and plans
  • Colored building perspectives
  • Renderings
  • Personal papers
  • Architectural firm records
  • Photographic materials

Architectural archives can be searched for in the New Mexico Archives Online and requested in the Anderson Reading Room. See Using CSWR Collections for more information.  



John Donald Robb Archive of Southwestern Music

The John Donald Robb Archive of Southwestern Music is dedicated to preserving the musical heritage of New Mexico and the Southwest and works closely with the John Donald Robb Musical Trust. Robb deposited his collection of field recordings, compositions, and papers at UNM in 1957. In 1964, Donald L. Roberts established the Archive of Southwestern Music at UNM, which was named for Robb in 1981.

In addition to Robb's work, the Archive contains thousands of hours of recordings by more than twenty other collectors. Featured are Native American, Hispanic, Anglo American, and African American recordings, interviews and programs, as well as material from Spain, Mexico, and Latin America.

Explore the Robb Archive collections through the New Mexico Archives Online. Access selected audio files and music in New Mexico Digital Collections. See Using CSWR Collections  for more information.

John Donald Robb's Field Recordings  are available online through New Mexico Digital Collections. They consist of Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo music recorded between 1942-1979 in different parts of New Mexico.

CSWR Summer Hours:

Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. 

Holidays: May 27, June 19, July 4

About the Center

Zimmerman Library 1st floor
West Wing
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