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Bertha Sanford Dodge Manuscript

Identifier: MSS-357-SC

Scope and Content

The manuscript contained in this collection, written by Bertha S. Dodge, and precursor to her publication The Road West, Saga of the 35th Parallel, describes three centuries of travelers who stopped to rest at a now-famous monument.

Native American residents from the top of the mesa located on what is now known as El Morro were the first to inscribe petroglyphs upon the smooth surface of Inscription Rock -- one face of what is now El Morro National Monument in New Mexico. After these original "artists" left the area, passers-by followed suit, leaving a record of their travels. The oldest dated inscription is from 1605 by conquistador Juan de Onate in search of an overland route to the Pacific Ocean. Many noted explorers and pioneers have passed by El Morro leaving their mark, as well, until the site was declared a National Monument in 1906 and further inscriptions were prohibited. Among the famous names that have joined Juan de Onate's are those of don Diego de Vargas, Kit Carson (who passed by several times in expeditions with John C. Fremont and others), Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale, Lieutenant James H. Simpson, Lieutenant Amiel Weeks Whipple, Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy (first bishop of New Mexico) and the names of multiple westward-bound emigrants from the 1800s.

Bertha S. Dodge's manuscript draws from diaries, letters and other surviving records of these conquests, travels, and migrations. The resulting narrative recounts events so varied that their only commonality is the proximity (in space only) shared by their signatures upon Inscription Rock. These events include the frustrated explorations of Spaniards in the 1600s, the days of military rule over the territory of New Mexico, fatal ethnic rivalries between Native Americans and the trackers, military officers, and pioneers who threatened their lands, and a somewhat ill-fated attempt at the adaptation of camels to desert expeditions including the humorous description of Lieutenant Beale riding into Los Angeles astride a dromedary after establishing a route along the 35th parallel to serve as a wagon road linking Fort Defiance, New Mexico, with California. This road was later further developed and known as Route 66. Other travelers by El Morro described by the author include wagon trains of gold-seekers bound for California, though many who only got so far as New Mexico. Still other participants in such travels whose names are not inscribed upon the rock are also noted in this manuscript, like that of Hadji Ali, better known as Hi Jolly, Syrian camel driver loyal to the U.S. military.


  • 1980

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

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

Biographical Information

Bertha Dodge was born on March 23, 1902 in Cambridge, Mass. She earned her A.B. degree from Radcliffe College in 1920, and her M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1922. Amongst other jobs, Dodge held a variety of high school and college freshman teaching positions in science and mathematics. In 1948, Dodge's first book, Introduction to Chemistry was published. In an interview (for Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series), Dodge stated that, "...history of no kind exists save in terms of the people involved and that, therefore, history must begin and end with those people. Necessarily, this means much digging into ancient accounts-often quite unusual ones-correlating facts and reports, digesting the material, and then presenting it all impartially but in terms of people, who have not really changed very much through the ages."


1 folder (1 item)


This collection is comprised of the manuscript titled, "The Deserving and the Lucky" by Bertha S. Dodge. Following minimal changes, this manuscript was published by the University of New Mexico Press in 1980 under the title, The Road West, Saga of the 35th Parallel, which recounts reports of those who have passed by what is now El Morro National Monument.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Dodge, Bertha S. The Story of Inscription Rock. Canaan, New Hampshire: PhoenixPublishing, 1975.
  • Dodge, Bertha S. The Road West, Saga of the 35th Parallel. Albuquerque: University ofNew Mexico Press, 1980.
  • Slater, John M. El Morro: Inscription Rock, New Mexico. Los Angeles: The PlantinPress., 1961.
Finding Aid of the Bertha Sanford Dodge Manuscript, 1980
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 357 SC::Bertha Sanford Dodge Manuscript)//EN" "nmu1mss357sc.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