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Albuquerque and New Mexico Pamphlet Collection

Identifier: MSS-112-BC

Scope and Content

This collection is comprised of pamphlets which reflect the history of Albuquerque as a destination for tourists, health-seekers, railroad passengers, investors, and newcomer residents. Pamphlets from the early 1900s boast the railroad, Temple Albert, "a fine sewer system," schools, hospitals, churches, stores, and types of residences to attract new residents, calling Albuquerque "the Commercial Metropolis of New Mexico," "Chief City of a New Empire in the Great Southwest," and "The Metropolis of the Land of Sunshine." Photos in these brochures depict buildings and comforts of life and "aristocratic residence," juxtaposed with photos whose captions advertise "picturesque hotels and Indians."

These pamphlets seek to convince prospective residents of Albuquerque's cosmopolitan nature by describing its population as comprised of "progressive and aggressive businessmen," and listing its numbers as 25,000 in 1912. While perhaps included in the population statistics, Native Americans are not included in discussions of Albuquerque's population, but rather listed as a tourist attraction.

Pamphlets aimed at health-seekers in the early 1900s list numerous reasons why patients should choose to recover in Albuquerque, "away from depressing drizzle," while warning that "Albuquerque does not invite indigent or hopeless cases" and that one should not "come if you're broke," but rather "come in time, with enough money." These pamphlets advertise Albuquerque as "The Gate of the Valley of Health and Prosperity," and most are printed by the Chamber of Commerce. Other pamphlets are distributed by Santa Fe Railroad Company.

Advertising aimed at tourists includes pamphlets from Koshare Tours, the company part-owned by Erna Fergusson, as well as other companies and guide books to Santa Fe, Taos, and "Indian Country." Tourist brochures juxtapose images of bathing-suit-clad Anglo women by the pool with those of "picturesque Indian Country." Also included are brochures about the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial from various years between 1939 and 1950, which reveal that this was not an event originally organized by Native-Americans. Other tourist materials include information on Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and come to describe the area's development as going "From Arrows to Atoms."

Materials intended to attract investors are also present in this collection. One business pamphlet boasts "Decades of Destiny" and acknowledges that "the business life of Albuquerque undoubtedly began long before any records were kept." It proposes that business existed in Santa Fe as far back as the 1700s. Bank advertisements also seek to recruit future investors.

Another visitor population targeted by these brochures are the potential outdoor enthusiasts. Pamphlets distributed by assorted lodges and resorts advertise hunting possibilities (including that of animals now protected such as bear and mountain lions). Materials produced by the National Forest Service display images of New Mexico's national parks and monuments as well as supply statistical reports for public use of these national parks. Some of the captions which accompany the images in these documents provide insight into the relegation to the past of Native American populations, such as the phrase "The Indians of New Mexico live today much like they were living when Coronado found them," while a few pages away, ancient rock formations are considered to "beckon you to new experiences." Living peoples are described as "Colorful. Primitive. Fascinating," while rock formations are "Majestic. Picturesque. Fascinating." More recent materials in this collection describe the political scene in New Mexico, generally, and the Democratic Club and candidates, specifically, for the 1950s. One folder contains biographical information regarding war correspondent Ernie Pyle, as well as the program to his memorial service. Additional materials include numerous advertisements for what appear to be tartan neckties inspired by the colors of the desert and named for the pueblos. Other necktie ads draw from natural motifs of the area such as animals native to New Mexico, as well as its residents and visitors: skiers, hunters, cowboys, and a tie whose design inspired the title "Cradle of the Atomic Age." There is one pamphlet regarding the New Mexico Art League. A catalog displays numerous Navajo rugs. A folder of items about Albuquerque's radio and television stations provides insight into the history of such media in this area. Annual reports for the Public Service Company of New Mexico from 1949-1964 are also included. A sparse folder regarding education in New Mexico focuses on the University of New Mexico.

In 2001, the New Mexico Organizations Memorabilia, Pamphlets, etc. collection was added into this collection. These materials include organizations' by-laws and conference proceedings.


  • 1880-1961


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.

Historical Information

As Marta Weigle and Barbara Babcock note, "The artists' role in constructing the national imagery of the West cannot be overtitleasized." Artists working for the Santa Fe Railway and others whose images were used by the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce or local lodges and resorts presented images of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Southwest in such a way as to promote the Southwest as a tourist or residential destination which mixed romanticized images of nature and Native Americans with depictions of comfortable, "cosmopolitan" living. Numerous scholars have noted the way in which Native Americans have been utilized to promote travel. However, tourists were not the only visitors courted in this way. For some time, Albuquerque and other parts of New Mexico were attractive to health-seekers, generally, and to tuberculosis patients, specifically. Albuquerque promoted itself to this clientele boasting a climate beneficial to those who suffer from tuberculosis and a higher recovery rate for tuberculosis patients than other areas of the country. Given most areas' fear of drawing tuberculosis sufferers, Albuquerque was alone in its advertising to this community. Erna Fergusson noted, in 1940, that "Albuquerque had two businesses: the Santa Fe Railroad and tuberculosis. She reported that at that time, between 350 and 500 health-seekers visited Albuquerque each year. Still, these were not the only new residents to Albuquerque. Erna Fergusson concluded, in 1947 that the nature of newcomers to Albuquerque was changing. "Of late, the character of these newcomers has changed from people seeking salubrious climate and people from neighboring states drifting westward, to GI's, investors, highly trained technicians. These people have made us more than ever cosmopolitan."


2 boxes (2 cu. ft.), plus oversize folder


This collection contains pamphlets related to Albuquerque and New Mexico. Topics range from political campaigns to national parks and monuments, and conferences convening in this area. Many pamphlets are aimed toward prospective residents, tourists, and health-seeking visitors to New Mexico.

Select Pamphlets Available Online

Selected pamphlets from this collection are available at New Mexico's Digital Collections.

Related Material

Ward Hicks Advertising Printing Samples Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Southwest Travel Literature Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Erna Fergusson Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico George McCrossen Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Sandra Lynn Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Fergusson, Erna. Albuquerque. Albuquerque: Merle Armitage Editions,1947.
  • Fergusson, Erna. Our Southwest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1940.
  • Howard, Kathleen L. And Diana F. Pardue. Inventing the Southwest. Flagstaff, Arizona: Northland Publishing, 1996.
  • Weigle, Marta and Barbara A. Babcock. The Great Southwest of the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railway. Phoenix: The Heard Museum,1996.
Finding Aid of the Albuquerque and New Mexico Pamphlet Collection, 1880-1961
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 112 BC::Albuquerque and New Mexico Pamphlet Collection)//EN" "nmu1mss112bc.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