Skip to main content

Agnes Morley Cleaveland papers

Identifier: Ms-0025

Scope and Content

The Agnes Morley Cleaveland papers span the years 1865-1954 with the bulk of the collection falling within the years 1929-1954. The 11 linear feet have been arranged into six series: Correspondence, Personal Files, Literary Files, Politics, Publications, and Photographs. These records were located at the Datil ranch. Some of the materials have damage due to mice and/or mold. Damaged materials have been preserved as fully as possible.

The Correspondence series, 1909-1953, is divided into two subseries: Family Correspondence and General Correspondence. The family correspondence is arranged alphabetically by last name of the family member sending the letter. All correspondence to Agnes is listed first with an additional 12 folders of correspondence to other members of the family listed at the end of the series. The general correspondence is arranged alphabetically by last name or company name. This subseries includes a large amount of correspondence from Houghton Mifflin Company, who published No Life for a Lady. Norman Cleaveland's correspondence to his mother contains copies of reports that he filed while in Malaya after World War II. These reports give some idea of the events that were occurring at the time. The correspondence series also includes a box of voice recordings from Norman Cleaveland sent to his mother when her eyesight was failing.

Significant correspondents: Clinton P. Anderson, Norman Cleaveland, Herbert Willoughby Eustace, Frank E. Gannett, Houghton Mifflin, Frank King, Fred Lambert, Loraine Reynolds, Conrad Richter, and Mary Cleaveland Wohlers.

The Personal Files, 1929-1954, are arranged alphabetically by subject. This series contains financial records, legal records, family records, memorabilia, and items that related to Agnes' family or her personal life.

The Literary Files are arranged alphabetically by title or subject. This series includes writings by Agnes Morley Cleaveland and writings by other authors associated with her, such as Fred Lambert. Also contained in this series are files about people or subjects that were related to Agnes' writing or were themselves authors, such as Francis Schlatter, Mary Baker Eddy, and Eugene Manlove Rhodes. The materials in this series are in manuscript form. Published forms of works are placed in the Publications series. Writings in this series tend to be more literary in nature. Writings dealing directly with politics are in the Politics series.

The Politics series is organized into three subseries: General, Pro America, and Writings. Each subseries is arranged alphabetically. This series contains information, articles, clippings, pamphlets, flyers, and other materials related to Agnes' involvement in politics. The writings subseries contains short articles written by Agnes which are political in nature.

The Publications series, 1865-1951, is arranged alphabetically by title. The series contains newspapers, journals, pamphlets, and other published items collected by Agnes Morley Cleaveland. Many of the pamphlets are Christian Science literature by a variety of authors including Mary Baker Eddy, Frederick Dixon, and Edward A. Kimball.

The Photographs series contains over 200 images. Many of the photographs were copied from images owned by Norman Cleaveland, however, there are some original negatives in the collection. The majority of the photos were taken on or near the Datil ranch. There are additional photographs that come from other places in the collection, such as the correspondence series and the article by Mary Coolidge. Additionally, there are some postcards which were kept by Agnes.


  • 1865 - 1954


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 to New Mexico State University.

Biographical Sketch

Agnes Morley Cleaveland was born in 1874 in Cimarron, New Mexico. Her parents were William Raymond Morley, a location engineer for the Santa Fe Railroad and manager of the Maxwell Grant, and Ada McPherson Morley. Agnes was the eldest of four children. Her siblings were William Raymond "Ray," born in 1876; Ada Loraine "Lora," born in 1878; and Benjamin Franklin who died in infancy.

William Raymond Morley died in 1883. After his death Ada Morley remarried. Shortly after her second marriage, the family moved to a ranch near Datil, New Mexico. After spending the majority of her inheritance, Ada Morley's second husband disappeared, leaving her in charge of the ranch. Not suited to running a ranch, the responsibility fell to Agnes and Ray, then in their teens. They alternated operating the ranch with schooling and managed to turn the ranch into a well-run operation.

In 1899, Agnes married Newton Cleaveland, a mining engineer, and moved to Berkeley, California shortly afterward. There she became active in politics and other local activities. She was head of the local chapter of Pro America, the National Organization of Republican Women, and participated in other organizations such as the Alameda County Federation of Women's Clubs.

A steadfast patriot, Agnes published the pamphlet American Primer in 1931. This pamphlet was designed to tell Americans what they needed to know about their country. It was passed out to members of Congress in 1948. Agnes was a prolific writer and wrote for many newspapers, magazines, and journals. She also gave many speeches and participated in debates.

In 1941 Agnes published her autobiographical book No Life for a Lady, which was a winner of the Life-in-America contest sponsored by Houghton-Mifflin. No Life for a Lady describes Agnes' life growing up on the Datil ranch, the responsibilities of the children, and the people who were friends, neighbors, or passersby. Among her acquaintances were the legendary Englishman Montague Stevens and cowboy author Eugene Manlove Rhodes.

After the death of her husband in 1944, Agnes retired to a ranch near Datil to be near her sister Loraine. She died on March 8, 1958.

Newton and Agnes Morley Cleaveland were parents to four children: Norman Cleaveland, Loraine (Keffer) Lavender, (Agnes) Morley Cleaveland, and Mary Cleaveland Wohlers.


11 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



New Mexico author and rancher. The collection includes family correspondence, general correspondence, personal files, literary files, political files, publications, and photographs. Also included are a partial manuscript of No Life for a Lady and a complete manuscript of Satan's Paradise.

Related Material

Ms 403 Norman Cleaveland Papers Archives and Special Collections. New Mexico State University Library. Ms 406 Loraine Lavender Papers Archives and Special Collections. New Mexico State University Library. Ms 3 Eugene Manlove Rhodes Papers Archives and Special Collections. New Mexico State University Library.
Guide to the Agnes Morley Cleaveland papers
Processed by Linda Blazer, Portia Vescio, with Roxanne Klunczyk and Shannon Cavanagh.
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