Albert B. Fall family papers
Scope and Contents
The Albert B. Fall Family Papers span the years 1885-1951. The bulk of the collection falls between the years 1900-1931. The materials are divided into size series: Correspondence, Files, Writings, Fall materials donated by the Mahlon Everhart family, Photographs, and an Addendum. The correspondence series consists of four subseries: Black Notebook Alphabetical File, Edward L. Doheny, Warren G. Harding, and General. The first three subseries are files that were maintained by Fall and/or Fall family members. The Black Notebook file largely contains letters relating to the bribery trial as well as one folder of clippings. Much of the correspondence in the Edward L. Doheny and Warren G. Harding subseries predates the bribery trials, and consists of business and political involvements. The final section of Correspondence consists of materials belonging to Fall and other family members that were not integrated into the earlier files. These letters are arranged by recipient and focus extensively on the bribery trials and sentencing of Fall. Materials in this series include letters received and copies of letters sent. Mrs. Fall’s correspondence is found throughout this series. Four subseries comprise the Files series: Blue Book, E.P. Chronological File, E.P. II, and Mexico. The Blue Book series contains letters, telegrams, and legal documents that were numbered and bound by Fall. There is an index at the beginning of this subseries. Both of the E.P. subseries contain information pertaining to the trials of Fall. The first E.P. subseries includes documents dealing with Mexico concerns, E.P. II contains materials relating to the Falls’s eviction from their Three Rivers Ranch in 1929. The Mexico portion of the collection covers the Mexico revolutionary period through the end of Fall’s term as Secretary of the Interior. Types of documents include correspondence, clippings, memoranda, reports and printed materials. Writings include family histories, news clippings, and articles relating to Fall’s trial and sentence. Also included is a directory of New Mexico’s fourth legislature in 1919. An additional series was added in 2003 which includes materials donated by the Mahlon T. Everhart family. Mahlon T. Everhart Sr. was married to Fall’s daughter Carrie. Both Fall and Everhart were business partners in the Tres Ritos Cattle and Land Company. These materials include correspondence, papers, reports, photographs, maps, books, and file cards. The materials relate to Fall, his years in the Senate, his position as Secretary of the Interior, and his involvement in a Senate Subcommittee on Mexican Affairs. They have been arranged into subseries and described. There is a subseries for Emma Fall, and a number of other family items are also included. The Photograph series includes a portrait of Fall, a snapshot of Fall and his friend Eugene Manlove Rhodes, and two photographs of Elk Hill, California, part of the land involved with the oil lease controversy. Additional photographs donated by the Everhart family and a photo album show Colonel W.C. Greene and his businesses in and around Cananea, Mexico. Please note that family relationships play an important part in understanding the materials in this collection. Mahlon T. Everhart was married to Fall’s daughter Caroline (Carrie) and was a business partner with Fall in the Tres Ritos Cattle and Land Company. Clarence Chase was married to Fall’s daughter Alexina. Chase was the nephew of Colonel W.C. Greene, operated the Cananea Cattle Company, and was the general manager of the Greene Gold and Silver Company. Brandt Elliott was married to Fall’s daughter Jouette.
Biographical / Historical
Albert Bacon Fall was born November 26, 1861, in Frankfort, Kentucky, to William R. and Edmonia Taylor Fall. Fall attended country schools as a child in Nashville, Tennessee, but was primarily self-educated. At age eleven, Fall was employed in a cotton factory. As a young man Fall headed west looking for a better climate for his lifelong health problems. He lived in Oklahoma and in Texas, and eventually settled in the New Mexico Territory. Between the years 1879-1881, Fall taught school and studied law. He was admitted to the New Mexico Bar in 1891 and started his practice in Las Cruces, New Mexico. On May 7, 1883, Fall married Emma Garland Morgan in Clarksville, Texas. The couple had four children: a son, John (Jack) Morgan Fall; and three daughters: Alexina Chase, Caroline Everhart, and Jouett Elliott. Both Jack and Caroline died within a week of each other in 1918 during an influenza epidemic. The Three Rivers Ranch in the Tularosa Basin of New Mexico was their family home which they operated until forced to foreclose in 1929. The Falls also maintained a home in El Paso, Texas. In the 1890’s, Fall became involved in New Mexico territorial politics, and was elected to the New Mexico Territorial House of Representatives. He served as an Associate Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, and for two terms as an Attorney General. Fall also took part in the 1911 convention which framed the constitution for the statehood of New Mexico. In 1912, Fall was elected one of the first senators of the state of New Mexico. He served as senator until 1921, when President Warren G. Harding appointed him Secretary of the Interior. While in this capacity, Fall leased government lands at Teapot Dome, Wyoming, and Elk Hill, California. These activities led to conspiracy and bribery investigations and trials from 1924-1929. Fall was convicted and served nine months at the State Prison in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for accepting a $100,000 bribe from Edward L. Doheny. Doheny was acquitted of the bribery charges brought against him. Emma Fall died in 1943, apparently after a period of hospitalization. Fall died November 30,1944, in El Paso, Texas, after a long illness. His family never ceased to claim his innocence in the political scandal.
17 Linear Feet (40 Boxes)
Language of Materials
New Mexico lawyer, rancher, and politician. Political and personal correspondence, papers, reports, press clippings relating to Fall’s public career as a Senator, and United States Secretary of the Interior. This includes his role in United States Naval petroleum reserves (known as the Teapot Dome Scandal), and his subsequent prosecution and trial. Includes material relating to Fall’s Mexican mineral interests, and politics during World War I. Also included are materials created and received by Fall’s wife, daughters, and other family members.
P.R.M. (Koa) Brooks, Jr., November 1976. Revised by Marah deMeule and Christine Moreland-Bruhnke, July 2000. Additional materials added by Leslie Bergloff, September 2003.
- Guide to the Albert B. Fall family papers
- Revised by Marah deMeule and Christine Moreland-Bruhnke, July 2000. Additional materials added by Leslie Bergloff, September 2003.
- September 2003
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note