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Stephen W. Dorsey Research Collection

Identifier: AC 359

Scope and Content

Collection consists of the research materials gathered by Thomas J. Caperton while writing Rogue! Being an Account of the Life and High Times of Stephen W. Dorsey, United States Senator and New Mexico Cattle Baron (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1978). Materials include copies of letters; news articles; copies of incorporations papers for Dorsey's business holdings; copies of lawsuits (including the "Star Route" mail fraud); as well as details on the history and construction of the Dorsey Mansion.


  • 1861-1916

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions


Copy Restrictions

Duplication allowed for research purposes. User responsible for all copyright compliance.

Some materials may not be photocopied due to poor condition.

Biographical Information

Stephen Wallace Dorsey, the son of Irish immigrants, was born in 1842 in Vermont. I his youth he moved to oberlin, Ohio, where he worked as a house painter and attended Oberlin College. He subsequently enlisted in the First Ohio Light Artillery in 1861 and following the Civil War, married and went to work for a tool manufacturer. He rose in the ranks of the company and became involved in Republican politics. Dorsey became president of the Arkansas Central Railway, moved to Arkansas, and in 1872 was elected to the U.S. Senate, and set himself up as an international financer in Washington D.C.

In 1876, Dorsey acquired land in northeastern New Mexico where he constructed a large, rambling log house to which he later added a stone "castle," today known as the Dorsey Mansion. Dorsey dabbled in lucrative schemes and was frequently embroiled in controversies, scandals, and lawsuits. In 1892, he moved to Colorad and the California. He died in Los Angeles, California, in 1916. His mansion, tied up in lawsuits, became an unsuccessful sanatorium for tubercular patients, a cattle ranch, the social and business center for the ranching community, and a private residence. It was placed in the New Mexico State Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was declared a New Mexico state monument in 1976. The mansion is now privately owned.


2 Linear Feet

Separated Material

Photos housed in the photo archives.


Contact Information

  1. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library
  2. The Palace of the Governors
  3. P.O. Box 2087
  4. Santa Fe, New Mexico 87504-2087, U.S.A.
  5. Phone: (+)505.476.5090
  6. Fax: (+)505.476.5053
  7. Email:
  8. URL:


Guide to the Stephen W. Dorsey Research Collection, 1861-1916
Edited Full Draft
Processed by Library Staff
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//Museum of New Mexico::Fray Angelico Chavez History Library//TEXT (US::NmSM::AC 359::Stephen W. Dorsey Research Collection)//EN" "nmsm1ac359.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library Repository

Fray Angélico Chávez History Library
New Mexico History Museum
113 Lincoln Ave
Sante Fe NM 87501 USA
(505) 476-5090