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Fermor Church Collection,

Identifier: 1959-028

Scope and Content

The Fermor Church Collection consist of records relating to the Los Alamos Ranch School (1918-1944), the Los Alamos Foundation (1943-1973) and the Papers of Lawrence S. Hitchcock (1938-1973). The Los Alamos Ranch School was a private school located in Otowi, New Mexico, present day Los Alamos. The idea of an outdoor school for boys was first conceived by Ashley Pond II and A. J. Connell in 1917. The principal aim of the school was to build up the constitution of the boys from eastern cities by an active well-guided outdoor life and academic curriculum. The school opened its doors in 1918 with an enrollment of three students. Fermor S. Church was Acting Headmaster in 1943, when the school was closed by the U.S. War Department through condemnation proceedings under the War Powers Act. Real estate belonging to the school including, buildings and equipment were taken to set up the Manhattan Project for the development of the first atomic bomb. After the closing of the Los Alamos school, attempts were made to establish other schools in Taos and Pojoaque, both schools failed.

The Los Alamos Foundation (1940-1973,) was incorporated in 1940 to receive and dispense gifts and donations for the benefit of the Los Alamos Ranch School. The Foundation also contributed to the support of two other schools which attempted to carry on the Los Alamos tradition - the Waring School in Pojoaque and the Los Alamos School in Taos. In 1973 the Foundation transferred its financial assets to the Foundation Endowment Fund of St. John's College in Santa Fe.

Lawrence S. Hitchcock served as Headmaster of the Ranch School, from 1926-1942. Records include: correspondence, financial and legal records, newspaper clippings, and Foundation materials.

The collection is organized as follows: Los Alamos Ranch School Papers, which include correspondence, legal records, financial records, printed material, curriculum & school information, alumni records and records of the Los Alamos School at Taos. Followed by records of the Los Alamos Foundation, and Lawrence S. Hitchcock Papers. NOTE: Student records are restricted. The collection was donated in 1971 by Mr.Fermor Church and his wife Peggy Pond Church, who acquired the papers of Lawrence Hitchcock in 1984.


  • 1918-1973

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. NOTE: Student records are restricted.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical Note

Fermor Spencer Church (1900-1975), son of William Henry and Amy (Spencer) Church received an A.B. in 1921 from Harvard, and married Margaret (Peggy) Pond in Santa Fe, New Mexico June 26, 1924. Miss Pond was the daughter of the Ashley Pond II, founder of the Los Alamos Ranch School. Mr. Church served as Assistant Headmaster of the Los Alamos Ranch School and President of the Los Alamos Foundation. Mr Church was actively involved with the Foundation until 1973 when it was dissolved. Known published works by Fermor Church include; "An Exhumed Erosion Surface in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico," Journal of Geology, 1939. Published works by Peggy Pond Church include "House at Otowi Bridge," 1959.


8.5 Linear Feet


Collection is organized into three series: I. Los Alamos Ranch School records, 1918-1944; II. Los Alamos Foundation records, 1940-1973; III. Lawrence S. Hitchcock papers, 1926-1942.

Related Collections

Historic Film Collection New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico Contains two 16mm films for the Los Alamos Ranch School from 1931 and 1941.

Los Alamos Ranch School, 1918-1944 New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico Los Alamos Foundation, 1943-1973 New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico Papers of Lawrence S. Hitchcock, 1938-1973 New Mexico State Records Center and Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Contact Information:

  1. New Mexico State Records Center and Archives
  2. Archives and Historical Services Division
  3. 1205 Camino Carlos Rey
  4. Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
  5. Phone: 505-476-7908
  6. Fax: 505-476-7909
  7. Email:
  8. URL:


Date Processed:
April 22, 1997
Inventory of the Fermor Church Collection, 1918-1973
Edited Full Draft
Processed by Sandra Jaramillo
© 2000
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is inEnglish.

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//New Mexico State Records Center and Archives//TEXT (US::Nm-Ar::1959-028::Fermor Church Collection)//EN" "nmar1959-028.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 New Mexico State Records Center and Archives Repository

1209 Camino Carlos Rey
Santa Fe NM 87507
(505) 476-7948