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French family papers

Identifier: Ms-0006

Scope and Content Note

The French family papers contains documents and photographs from several branches of the family. Included in the materials are correspondences, ledgers, books, certificates, and photographs. Correspondence between him and his wife discusses the move to New Mexico and earlier letters recount J.N. French_s time during the Civil War. There are also J.N. French_s veteran_s badges.

The general collection has complied essays on French family history and various printed publications. Included in the publications are school books of Frances French.

Frances French_s material include materials from her time at NMCA & MA, now New Mexico State University, and material from her involvement in clubs and teaching certificates.

The collection was formerly just the Frances "Fanny" French collection, and after more accessions were found, the collection name was changed to reflect the inclusion of materials from other French family members. The collection is organized chronologically from the older family members, Josiah and Dolly Adams French, to the youngest, Josiah Donald French. Some of the folders, which include correspondence for various family members, remain as they were accessioned to adhere to any provenance given by the creators such as with the Josiah Newell French correspondence.


  • 1802 - 1993

Access and Use Restrictions

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

Copy Restrictions

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

Copyrights associated with this collection have not been transferred and assigned to New Mexico State University.

Biographical Sketch

The French family has a relatively extended history in the United States. In 1636, ancestor founded the town Ipswich in Massachusetts. Other members of the family include artists and writers, such as sculptor Daniel Chester French from 1850-1931. Josiah Newell French, son of Josiah French and his wife Dolly Adams, moved to New Mexico in 1893 with his wife Emma Ann Colley their children Ralph Emerson, Floy Edna, and Frances.

was born in Manchester, Iowa. Until the age of ten, she attended kindergarten and public school there. In 1893, the French family moved to New Mexico because of her father's health. Fannie French entered the Preparatory Department of New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

was a member of the graduating class of 1902 at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Most of the materials contained in the collection cover the period from 1894 until 1925, although there is correspondence from as late as 1973. Certificates awarded to Miss French in later life are also included in the collection.

, Fannie's older sister, also attended NMCA&MA. She did not earn a degree, although she was considered a member of the class of 1897. Having studied stenography at the Mesilla Park campus, Floy received library training at the Chicago Public Library. Among her positions as a librarian, Floy worked at McCormick Reaper, later International Harvester, the University of Missouri, and the Carnegie Foundation in Indiana. From 1914-1924, Floy French was the librarian at NMCA&MA.


4.125 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers from a pioneering family of the Mesilla Valley. The collection contains certificates, news clippings, historical biographies, correspondence, notes, books, ledgers, and also includes papers from belonging to a member of NMCA&MA's Class of 1902, Frances French and her sister Floy French who was another early alumnae of NMCA&MA.

Removed Material

Invitations and programs from the 1902 Commencement week have been removed from the collection and added to the University Archives Collection of Commencement Programs.
Guide to the French family papers
Merleen Dibert, Cassie McClure.
1980, 2005
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

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