Skip to main content

Solomon Luna Papers

Identifier: MSS-102-BC

Scope and Content

The first set of documents in this collection pertained to Luna's sister, Lucretia Pittman and include articles and notes useful to her in writing a thesis concerning Solomon Luna. This portion of the collection includes a letter from Montague Stevens (to Lucretia Pittman) regarding the circumstances of Luna's death at Stevens' ranch, where Luna was overseeing the dipping of his sheep. A letter from Edwin Spindler, federal representative who supervised the sheep dip at the time of Luna's death also attests to the circumstance surrounding Luna's death. A newspaper article regarding Solomon Luna's refusal of a nomination to Congress in 1900 is also among Pittman's notes, housed in this collection, as is information concerning Luna's ancestry, and a map of land grants, depicting the grant lands surrounding Los Lunas, New Mexico.

The second item in the collection is a letterpress book containing letters signed by Max Stein, Solomon Luna, and Jake Levy. The letters concern ordering supplies such as foodstuff and clothing to be resold by a business, as well as bank records pertaining to this business. They also reflect sales of pelts, hides, and wool. It is clear from one letter that Max Stein's business was bought by Solomon Luna, who called the business Solomon Luna & Company. Later letters signed by Jake Levy suggest that Luna may have sold the business to this man. While the bulk of the letters are in English, one is in Italian, and another in Spanish. Some letters are illegible.


  • 1883-1941

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publications or distribution.

Biographical Information

Solomon Luna was born in 1858 in New Mexico. He descends from the family of Don Domingo de Luna, cousin to the Duke of Albuquerque and the first of the Luna family to settle in what is now New Mexico. Don Domingo de Luna was given grant lands in what is now Los Lunas, Valencia County, New Mexico.

Solomon Luna has been characterized as a prominent politician and businessman, "one of the leading shopowners of the southwest." He has also been known as "sheep baron Luna." His reputation ties into the professional and political positions he has held. He was advisor to Governor Otero, the president of the Sheep Growers Association, and president of the Sheep Sanitary Board. He was involved in New Mexican politics from the time New Mexico was a Territory, through its statehood. According to Pittman, "while Solomon Luna had held several offices in Valencia County, he solicited none."

Luna's political career began in 1885, when he was elected to the office of Probate Clerk. In 1892, he held the office of Sheriff. In 1894, he became the treasurer and collector of Valencia County. In 1896, he was one of six members elected (along with T.B. Catron) to the National Republican Committee from New Mexico. In 1900, Luna was offered the Republican nomination to Congress, but he declined. In 1911, Luna was offered the candidacy for the first state governor of New Mexico, but he declined this as well. He did proudly accept, however, a nomination as delegate to the Constitutional Convention of New Mexico in 1910. In a time of great corruption in New Mexican politics, Solomon Luna, according to Lucretia Pittman, was known as "the one who remained clean among corruption."

Solomon Luna died under somewhat mysterious circumstances in 1912 while overseeing the dipping of his sheep on the ranch of Montague Stevens in Horse Springs, New Mexico. Luna's body was found in a dipping vat containing a solution of cresyllic acid and soap. Though murder and suicide were considered, his death was ultimately declared accidental, and it is believed that he lost his footing at night on the way to the outhouse.


1 box (.35 cu. ft.)


This collection contains the letterpress book of Solomon Luna and Co., as well as biographical material concerning Solomon Luna, New Mexican politician, sheep baron, and businessman.

Related Material

Montague Stevens Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico University Libraries. Perea Brothers Mercantile Co. Correspondence. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico University Libraries.

Separated Material

Four photographs of the Luna house in Los Lunas, New Mexico have been transferred to the Solomon Luna Photograph Collection.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Dargan, Marion."New Mexico"s Fight for Statehood, 1895-1912," New Mexico Historical Review 14 (1): 1-33, 1939.
  • Grubbs, Frank H. "Frank Bond: Gentleman Sheepherder of Northern New Mexico, 1883-1915," New Mexico Historical Review 36 (4): 274-345, 1961.
  • Pittman, Sister Lucretia. Solomon Luna: Sheepmaster and Politician of New Mexico, Masters Thesis, St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, 1941.
  • Richardson, Elmo R. "George Curry and the Politics of Forest Conservation in New Mexico," New Mexico Historical Review 33 (4): 277-284, 1958.
Finding Aid of the Solomon Luna Papers, 1883-1941
Processed by K. Stocker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 102 BC::Solomon Luna Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss102bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131