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Edwin L. Mechem papers

Identifier: Ms-0292

Scope and Contents

The Edwin L. Mechem papers are composed of various books, political and southwest in nature, along with political cartoons drawn about him by an artist named McGinnis and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings from his time as governor of New Mexico. With more photographs than manuscript documents, Mechem explains in a letter to the Archives that he tried to avoid accumulating or collecting paperwork from his gubernatorial activities. Some of the photographs contain annotations by Mechem.


  • ca. 1950-2004

Biographical / Historical

Edwin Leard Mechem, born on July 12, 1912, was New Mexico's only four-term governor, a former U.S. senator and a federal judge. Originally from Alamogordo, New Mexico, Mechem graduated from New Mexico A&M, now New Mexico State University, and earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas. Related to former New Mexico Governor Merritt C. Mechem, Edwin L. Mechem went into practice with his father and then joined the FBI during World War II. Mechem won a state House seat in 1946. Four years later, he upset Democrat John Miles to. A member of Republican party known as "Big Ed," Mechem served as New Mexico governor from 1951-54, 1957-58, 1961-62, with his first term as New Mexico's first Republican governor in 20 years. New Mexico governors were elected to two-year terms when Mechem served. He resigned as governor in November 1962 to complete the U.S. Senate term of Democrat Dennis Chavez and during that time he voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mechem lost his bid to retain the seat in 1964. In 1970, he was appointed a federal judge by President Nixon and took senior status as a judge in 1982 on his 70th birthday. Mechem served as a judge for more than 30 years and continued to work at home until his death on November 27, 2002.


2.80 Linear Feet (4 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers and photographs from former Republican New Mexico governor and federal judge Edwin L. Mechem.

Related Materials

Garrey Carruthers papers. Ms 0307. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

A.B. Fall papers. Ms 0307. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Holm Bursum papers. Ms 0305. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Hagerman family papers. Ms 0104. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Processing Information

Updated by Cassie McClure, 2006
Guide to the Edwin L. Mechem papers
Updated by Cassie McClure
Updated 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

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