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Flora Spiegelberg Papers

Identifier: MSS-18-SC

Scope and Content

This small collection consists primarily of reminiscences of Flora Spiegelberg, including original typewritten manuscripts of brief articles and published articles. Also included is a manuscript about Flora Spiegelberg and the Spiegelberg family written in 1975. The articles by Spiegelberg primarily concern life in the Territory of New Mexico in the late 19th century. Other articles are about New York City where the Spiegelbergs lived after leaving New Mexico.


  • 1857-1943


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

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

Biographical Information

Flora Spiegelberg was born Flora Langermann in New York City in 1857. She grew up in San Francisco, New York, and Germany. At the age of seventeen she married Willi Spiegelberg in Nuremberg and returned with him to the United States, arriving in New Mexico in 1875. Her husband was the youngest of five Spiegelberg brothers who operated a large mercantile business founded in 1946 by Jacob Spiegelberg in Santa Fe. Spiegelberg Brothers was the first great mercantile enterprise in the territory following the American takeover.

Accepted into Santa Fe society as a member of one of its wealthiest, commercially successful families, Flora Spiegelberg quickly became a leading socialite and civic leader. She entertained such notable guests as President Rutherford B. Hayes, Archbishop Lamy, Governor Lew Wallace, Robert Ingersoll, and Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Phillip Sheridan. Also active in civic matters, Spiegelberg was especially concerned with education. Forming the first non-sectarian school in the largely Catholic city, she hired a Presbyterian teacher to instruct the Jewish and Protestant students. Maintaining her faith was also important to Spiegelberg. Without enough Jews in the Santa Fe area to start a synagogue, the Spiegelbergs invited others to join them in their family celebrations of major Jewish holidays. She also organized a Sabbath school for Jewish children. Despite her influence in Santa Fe society, Spiegelberg came to miss regular contact with a broader Jewish community.

Flora and Willi Spiegelberg and their two daughters relocated to New York City in the 1890s. She continued her active community life there, both within and outside of the Jewish community, becoming a civic reformer, vocational educator, and author of stories for children. One of her stories, "Princess Goldenhair," was made into both a stage production and a film.

After her husband died in 1929, Spiegelberg began writing articles, some of which were published, based on her experiences in New Mexico territory. Flora Spiegelberg died in 1943.


1 folder (47 items)

Related Archival Material

Spiegelberg-Ilfeld Family Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico. Perea Bros. Mercantile Co. Letterpress Copybook Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico
Finding Aid of the Flora Spiegelberg Papers, 1857-1943
Described by D. Burge
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 "-//The University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 18 SC::Flora Spiegelberg Papers )//EN" "nmu1mss18sc.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