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George Amos Godfrey papers

Identifier: Ms-0116

Scope and Content

As a leader in the cattle industry, George Godfrey's papers reflect the concerns of NewMexico cattlemen in the 1940s and 1950s. Problems with the federal government overadministration of the public lands, particularly Forest Service lands, are discussed, as to thegeneral fear of extensive federal regulation of the livestock industry. Another real problem facedby New Mexico cattlemen during this era was the threat of foot and mouth disease being broughtinto this county from Mexico. Consequently, Godfrey, as an active member and officer of the NewMexico Cattle Growers' Association, was frequently in communication with the Departments ofInterior, Agriculture, and State, as well as with numerous local and state agencies, and cattlemen'sassociations in other states. As a result, this collection provides an excellent picture of therelationship between the federal government and ranchers.

Not only is this collection a good source for agricultural history, but it provides an interestinglook at some national legislation introduced by important political figures. One example of this isthe extensive correspondence Godfrey carried on with political figures concerning John F.Kennedy's labor bill introduced in 1958. The cattlemen opposed this legislation but were moresupportive of the forestry bill sponsored by Lyndon Johnson during the same time period. AmongGodfrey's political correspondents were Representatives Thomas G. Morris, John J. Dempsey andAntonio Fernandez; Senators E. L. Mechem, Dennis Chavez, Clinton P. Anderson and Carl Hatch;as well as Governors Jack M. Campbell, Ed Mechem and Thomas Mabry.

A strength of the Godfrey Papers is the wealth of information it provides on the New MexicoCattle Growers' Association since only minimal records of the organization are extant. Not onlydid the association provide a forum for the state's leading cattlemen to express their viewpoints,but the correspondence, speeches, reports, programs, newsletters and press releases document theuncertainty and economic problems faced by New Mexico ranchers following World War II (oneof which was the military takeover of grazing lands). As an officer of this organization, Godfreycorresponded with many prominent New Mexicans, including A. D. Brownfield, Roger B. Corbett,Floyd W. Lee, Hugh M. Milton III, Albert K. Mitchell and W. P. Thorpe.

Godfrey also was active in the American National Cattlemen's Association (formerly theAmerican National Live Stock Association), and frequently corresponded with members of theNew Mexico Wool Growers Association. Other organizations in which he took an active part (asshown by the materials in the collection) include the Border States Foot and Mouth Disease Board,Cattle Sanitary Board of New Mexico, and the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.

In addition to this organizational information, the collection also contains some ranch records.The oldest of these is an account book dating from 1914 and there are a few records dated as lateas 1974; however the bulk of the ranch records are from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

The collection has been divided into two sub-groups, "Godfrey Ranch" and "RanchingOrganizations." The first sub-group, Godfrey Ranch, contains Godfrey's personal and businesspapers, and is further divided into eight series: Correspondence, Legal documents, Financialdocuments, Reports, Speeches, Maps, Printed materials, and Miscellany. The other sub-group,Ranching Organizations, is divided by organization. There is necessarily a great deal of overlapin the subject matter of the two sub-groups, since the issues with which the organizations weredealing were the same issues which concerned Godfrey in the management of his own ranch.Therefore a researcher would be well advised to use a wide approach.


  • 1914-1974

Language of Materials


Access and Use Restrictions

This material may be examined by researchers under supervised conditions in the SearchRoom.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance withall copyright and other applicable statutes.

The copyrights possessed in this collection by Thelma Godfrey have been transferred and assigned to NewMexico State University.

Biographical Sketch

George Amos Godfrey was born in Newton, Kansas, on December 20, 1886. He worked as acowboy on the Maria River, near Shelby, Montana, from 1904-1908. In 1909 he went to Hachita,New Mexico, to work for the Diamond A Cattle Company and homesteaded in New Mexico'sAnimas Valley that same year. In 1914 he leased one school section in the Animas Mountains, 25miles south of Animas, and gradually increased his ranch by buying out homesteaders and smallranchers as they left the area. Godfrey married Thelma Gibson, of Deming, New Mexico, in 1918.They had one son, William Godfrey.

George A. Godfrey was involved in the following activities:

  1. President (two terms), vice-president (three terms), and member of the NewMexico Cattle Growers' Association.
  2. Member and Livestock Committeeman, New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau.
  3. Second vice-president (two terms) and member of the legislative committee, forestcommittee, and brand and theft committee, American National Cattlemen's Association.
  4. Chairman, Hidalgo County Screw-worm Program.
  5. Director, Lordsburg Chamber of Commerce and representative, United States Chamber ofCommerce.
  6. Chairman and member, Cattle Sanitary Board of New Mexico.
  7. Chairman and member, Border States Foot and Mouth Disease Board.
In his ranching activities Godfrey cooperated with the United States Department ofAgriculture in rat control, and with New Mexico State University in experiments on land and grasstesting, pregnancy testing, Vitamin A testing, and parasite control. He was also an honorarymember of the Future Farmers of America.

He received the following awards and recognitions: Swift Meat Company Award, 1951; NewMexico Cattle Growers' Cattleman of the Year, 1959; the District Federal Land Bank OutstandingMan of Agriculture, 1968; and the New Mexico State University Agriculturist of Distinction, 1970.

George Godfrey died May 5, 1973.


2.5 Linear Feet (6 Boxes)


Animas Valley rancher, and a leader in New Mexico's cattle industry. Godfrey servedthree terms as vice president of the New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association and two terms asthat organization's president. Godfrey also served as an officer in the American NationalCattlemen's Association. These papers contain correspondence, legal documents and financialrecords relating to Godfrey's business and personal life, as well as correspondence, legal andfinancial records, and programs from the various organizations to which Godfrey belonged, andmany reports, articles, speeches and clippings on subjects of interest to Godfrey, particularlypredator control and the eradication of foot and mouth disease. Significant correspondents includeSenator Clinton P. Anderson, A. D. Brownfield, Floyd Lee and Albert K. Mitchell.


  1. A76-07 Gift of Thelma Godfrey, March 1976

Related Material

Red River Valley Company Records. Ms 5. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Southeastern New Mexico Grazing Association Records. Ms 35. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University New Mexico Cattle Growers' Association Records. Ms 149. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University New Mexico Wool Growers Association Records. Ms 178. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Spencer Family Ranching Records. Ms 201. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University


Contact Information

  1. Archives and Special Collections
  2. New Mexico State University Library
  3. P.O. Box 30006
  4. Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-8006
  5. Phone: (575) 646-3839
  6. Fax: (575) 646-7477
  7. Email:
  8. URL:


Register of the George Amos Godfrey Papers, 1914-1974
Processed by Randall Gaylor, Merleen Dibert, & Linda Blazer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//New Mexico State University::Archives and Special Collections//TEXT(US::NmLcU::Ms 116::George Amos Godfrey Papers)//EN" "nmlcu1ms116.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA