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Sadie Moore Walker Papers

Identifier: MSS-399-BC

Scope and Content

The Sadie Moore Walker Papers consist of memoirs, poetry, broadsides, pamphlets, and some photocopied photographs. Manuscript materials relate to Sadie Moore Walker's childhood and later life, her relatives, and her writings (both poetic and prosaic). The largest of the manuscripts describes Walker's childhood experience as a colonist in Topolobampo, Sinaloa, Mexico, in the cooperative colony founded by Albert Kimsey Owen. Her writings also reflect the pioneer life of her family members in Carlsbad, New Mexico and other parts of the U.S. Southwest.


  • 1879-1944
  • Majority of material found in 1892-1896

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The 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

Sadie Moore Walker was born into a family which sought its fortune and later its peace of mind in various parts of the United States and Mexico. In the late 1800s, Walker's family lived in Kansas, California, Arkansas, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and old Mexico. An intriguing part of her family history occurred between 1892 and 1895, when Walker's family participated in an experiment of communal living and an attempt at utopian society in Topolobampo, Mexico along with other colonists from the United States.

The colony at Topolobampo Harbor in Sinaloa, Mexico (on the Gulf of California) was founded by Albert Kimsey Owen in 1872, and populated beginning in 1886. Owen, of Welsh Quaker descent, based the community on principles of cooperation, pacifism, and equality, and prospective colonists had to agree to live by these principles in order to be accepted into the colony. These idealist motivations were combined, however, with Owen's entrepreneurial goal of establishing Topolobampo as the site of a transcontinental railroad destination in order to advance U.S. trade with South America and Asia. By proving the area livable through his colonists' survival, he could establish the area as an appropriate site for the railroad and thus promote investment in his railroad plan. The political, economic, and social context which allowed this endeavor to be carried out hinged upon various dominant goals and attitudes of the time. It was a time of imperialist expansion on the part of industrialized nations (into lesser developed ones) as well as a moment in Mexican history, under the leadership of Porfirio D?az, during which foreign capital was welcomed with the hope of furthering development of the Mexican economy, and in which a post-civil war United States sought to expand its economic strength into Mexico. Furthermore, the expansion of railroad lines was at its peak.

These historical conditions combined with a socialist movement in the nineteenth-century U.S. resulted in the establishment of a North American socialist colony in Mexico, protected by the Mexican government. This colony had only communal property and access to natural resources, free education and transportation, obligatory work-related contributions to the community for all individuals between 20 and 50 years of age, an absence of taxation, freedom of expression, a limitation of religious expression to the household, anticlericalism, feminist ideas of equality, and a puritanical view of marriage as the basis of society. Author Ray Reynolds calls Topolobampo "the most fascinating Utopian experiment in American history." While some consider it an experiment in socialist living, Reynolds refers to it as "a bastard mix of communism and democracy."

Both the transcontinental railroad and the experiment in utopian, cooperative living failed, and ten years after its inception, the colony was abandoned.


1 box (.38 cu. ft.)


This collection consists of memoirs, poetry, broadsides, pamphlets, most of which were written by Sadie Moore Walker, regarding her family, upbringing, and passion for writing.
Fiinding Aid of the Sadie Moore Walker Papers, 1879-1944 (bulk 1892-1896)
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 399 BC::Sadie Moore Walker Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss399bc.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