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Nambe Community School and San Jose Demonstration School Records and Teacher's Diaries

Identifier: MSS-306-BC

Scope and Content

The Nambe Community School and San Jose Demostration School teachers' diaries consist of handwritten journals from various teachers and administrators at both schools School. All diaries contain lesson plans, names of students, completed assignments, and grades (though there is variation from diary to diary). Most diaries also contain student projects, such as drawings, and occasionally, correspondence between students and teachers. Later diaries offer more detail pertaining to teaching methodologies and record progress and interaction with students. Most diaries contain a class history as well as behavioral notes. Some diaries contain information on teacher visits to students' homes and corresponding discussions of living conditions, languages spoken at home, and educational level of parents. This collection also contains a small assortment of miscellaneous materials pertaining to administrative duties and projects.

Most of the diaries are grouped by teacher followed by year. For example, all of the diaries for "Jane Doe" are grouped together and organized by the year they were written. Some items are removed from the diaries and placed in an adjacent folder with each (e.g. "Box 1, 1, Folder 1"). Several large drawings are in an oversize folder. Researchers may be interested in reviewing the Nambe Administrative document "Keeping Behavior Journals" (Box 1) prior to reviewing the journals.

Broadly speaking, each grade focused on specific curriculum:
  1. Prefirst Grade: School acquaintances, pets, food, and garden
  2. First: Pets and their care, foods at Nambe, clothing, garden plants, insects and animal life
  3. Second and Third: Reading, flowers and gardening, birdlife, and domestic animals
  4. Fourth and Special: Plants, animals, and birds of the community, homes, the land
  5. Fifth and Sixth: Growth/preservation of foods, keeping our bodies well, weather, record keeping, insect control
  6. Seventh and Eighth: Plant life of the southwest, how the world travels, how the world is clothed, study of New Mexico, soil conservation practices in the southwest
The collection illuminates issues including experimental multicultural education in New Mexico, bilingual education, health and hygiene, gender, community organizations, and a variety of topics and approaches associated with nationalism and post-colonial studies. Some of the diaries include comments and critique of the school by the teacher and/or the community. Most of the diaries are in English, however, there some materials in Spanish. An oversize folder contains several art projects.


  • 1935-1942


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Prior to being granted access to the collection researchers must sign the attached consent form, agreeing not to disclose information that would be an invasion of privacy of living individuals, not to divulge names of individuals mentioned in the diaries, and to hold harmless and to indemnify UNM and its employees for any loss or damage to them occasioned by the release of the informational content of these materials. This restriction expires January 1, 2050.

Copy Restrictions

Duplication of materials from diaries is not permitted.

Institutional History

It was through the efforts and financial assistance of Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus McCormick that the Nambe community school project was undertaken. In 1937, realizing that Nambe's school was not meeting the community's needs, the McCormick's brought together Dr. Loyd Tireman of the University of New Mexico's College of Education and Mr. Joseph Granito, Santa Fe County Superintendent of Schools to discuss the possibility of developing a community school. The McCormicks offered to subsidize the school for 5 years so there would be no additional tax burden. Backed by the majority of the community, the project went forward.

In cooperation with the parents, the Nambe community school would design and implement a program that would make the best use of all available resources. Foremost, the school would determine and address the most important needs of the community: health, infant mortality, social relationships, land management, craft work, recreation, command of the English language. Secondly, the school would utilize the community's resources: fields, arroyos, homes, shops, and the expertise of community members. Proficiency in the three R's was an expectation. The school would liaison to county, state and federal agencies in pursuit of additional funding and resources. The curriculum would be kept flexible so that it could meet and address community needs as they arose.

Staff would have to be "open-minded, familiar and sympathetic with the problems of Spanish-speaking children." Staff would need to be familiar with rural areas, share the vision of the project, and be part of the community. Project administrators included Joseph Granito (county superintendent), Meriamne Geyer (county supervisor), Loyd S. Tireman (director), Mary Watson (principal). Cooperating agencies included the Community of Nambe, Santa Fe County Board of Education, General Education Board, University of New Mexico, State Public Health Service, State Vocational Departments, County Health Service, County Agricultural Agent, County Home Demonstration Agent, National Youth Administration, Works Progress Administration, Soil Conservation Service, Forest Service, Children's Bureau Department of Labor.

The project ended in 1942, five years after its inception. This experiment in education provided a window to the potentials and controversies that community sensitive and well funded education could have in rural New Mexico.

Sources: Tireman, L. S. " La Comunidad: Report of the Nambe Community School, 1937-1942. University of New Mexico Press, 1943; Tireman, L. S. Nambe: A Community School, 1939; Apodaca, Rita C. The Nambe Community School (1937-1942): A Study of a Community-Relevant Curriculum. PhD. Diss., University of New Mexico, 1986; Bachelor, David L. Educational Reform in New Mexico: Tireman, San Jose, and Nambe. University of New Mexico Press, 1991; Tireman, L.S. A Community School in a Spanish-Speaking Village. University of New Mexico Press, 1948.

Research Note: Until 2014 the collection was titled "Nambe Community School Teacher's Diaries" but researcher and doctoral candidate Laurel A. Semsch identified the location of the San Jose School as being in the suburb of Albuquerque. The collection name and this finding aide has been changed to reflect this.


26 boxes (6 cu. ft.) + 1 oversize folder


This collection contains primarily teacher diaries from the 1935-1942 Nambe community school and San Jose Demonstration School projects. Most diaries contain student rosters, lesson plans, assignments, exams, grades, student projects (texts & drawings), flyers from contemporary organizations, as well as occasional photos, personal correspondence, notes on student behavior ("character sketches"), and student living conditions within the communities of Nambe village (not Nambe the Native American Pueblo) and San Jose, a south Albuquerque suburb. The material and detail in each is highly variable. The collection also contains principal and teacher records.


Most of the diaries are grouped by teacher, followed by year. Loose items were removed from the diaries and placed in an adjacent folder. Several large drawings are in an oversize folder.

Related Archival Material

L. S. Tireman Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Related photographs are in U.S. Soil Conservation Service Region Eight pictorial collection
Finding Aid of the Nambe Community School and San Jose Demonstration School Records and Teacher's Diaries, 1935-1942
Processed by Sean P. Bruna
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • 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