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Terry Corbett papers

Identifier: Ms-0546

Scope and Contents

The Terry Corbett Papers contains photocopied materials dating between 1669 and 1981, along with original notes, covering the story of the Rio Grande valley and surrounding areas, with an emphasis on Las Cruces, Mesilla, Dona Ana, Tortugas, El Paso, Ysleta and Juarez. Records range from Catholic baptism, marriage and birth records from a large number of churches throughout the Rio Grande region, street maps, official US Census data, cemetery records, militia lists, records from the Albuquerque Indian School, and a variety of Colonial Spanish records. The Colonial period records explore the families in the territories of Nuevo Mexico and Nueva Vizcaya under the Viceroyalty of New Spain (1669-1821). From this era, Church records and compiled notes demonstrate the role of faith and ethnicity in the Spanish system and society, with correlation between individual occupations and roles being deeply connected to the classification of individuals clear through the constant note of racial class throughout church records. These sources from the colonial era not only discuss the lives of the Spanish settlers to modern New Mexico, Texas and Chihuahua but also the tail of the native population, showing their conversion to Catholicism and the effects of native resistance, most notably in records relating to the records of Tortugas and the foundation of the settlement after the retreat of the Spanish and their native allies during the Pueblo Revolt (1680) that temporarily ended Spanish rule in most of New Mexico. Militia lists and church records also demonstrate the role of Native Americans in the later 18th century and later move to independent Mexican rule. Church records remain mostly the same even after the US annexation of the region in the Mexican American War and Gadsden Purchase, with only a shift in language being notable. The territorial era is where the records of the Cities of Las Cruces, El Paso and Mesilla begin to tell of Anglo-American settlement in the Rio Grande Valley with an obvious increase in traditional English names throughout documents. Documents from the 19th and 20th centuries depict the modern history of famalies that have been in the region hundreds of years as well as recent immigration to the region.


  • 1669 - 1981

Biographical / Historical

Terry Corbett is a local researcher focused on the families of Las Cruces and surrounding communities who worked at NMSU under the Anthropology department. He is known for his work on early Pueblo and Spanish families and their developments, often working with the Rio Grande Historical Collections and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, publishing a 1990 monograph with Patrick H. Beckett on the Tortugas pueblo’s history and culture under COAS. His work within this collection explores the wirten history of the Rio Grande Region begining with the growth of Spanish Settelment in region up until the modern era.


5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Spanish; Castilian


A collection of photo-copied sources and handwritten notes covering the growth of Las Cruces and the families of the region, using a combination of Church and Official Government records to explore the lives of individuals as far back as the Spanish Colonial Period, with some records also relating to local native tribes.


  1. RG2015-019 Gift of Terry Corbett
  2. RG2015-022 Gift of Terry Corbett
  3. RG2016-015 Gift of Terry Corbett

Related Materials

Mary Daniels Taylor papers. Ms0162. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.
Terry R. Reynolds Research Files. Ms0342. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.
Doña Ana County Historical Society records. Ms 0153. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.
Katherine D. Stoes papers. Ms 0208. Archives and Special Collections, New Mexico State University Library.

Processing Information

Processed by Tyler Whitaker 2021-2022, under the direction of Jennifer Olguin.
Guide to the Terry Corbett papers
Tyler Whitaker and Jennifer Olguin
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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