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Angélico Chavez Research Papers

Identifier: MSS-440-BC

Scope and Content

This collection is limited to the research notes for Fray Angélico Chavez' work entitled, New Mexico Roots Ltd, 1678-1869 (11 Volumes), 1982 which consist of biographical information gathered from the Diligencias Matrimoniales (DM's) 1678-1869 (Pre-Nuptial Investigations) required by the Catholic Church. Most of the DM's are housed within the Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

The collection consists of twenty-six (26) notebooks of research notes taken by Chavez from church Diligencias Matrimoniales documents. These are usually in chronological order but not necessarily in alphabetical order.


  • 1950-1982


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.


Fray Angélico Chavez was born on April 10, 1910 at Wagon Mound, New Mexico. He was the eldest of ten children born to Don Fabian Chavez and Doña Nicholasa Roybal whose families have long ties to northern New Mexico. He was christened Manuel Ezequiel Chavez and spent most of his early life in Mora, New Mexico.

From early on Chavez was interested in the Franciscan way of life, he particularly wished to follow in the footsteps of the missionary workers. In 1924, at the age of fourteen, he entered the Franciscan Seminary (Cincinnati, Ohio) to begin his training. In 1929 he received his Franciscan habit and the name Fray Angélico (after a medieval Dominican painter) because of his artistic talent. After serving a very short novitiate period, he was enrolled in Duns Scotus College in Detroit. He was graduated in 1933 taking his solemn vows in the Franciscan Order. His theological training followed in the House of Theology (Olderburg, Indiana) and culminated in his ordination in St. Francis Cathedral (Santa Fe) in 1937. According to Phyllis Morales, he has the distinction of being the first native New Mexican ordained into the Franciscan Order.1

Because of his superior ability to write and excellent comprehension of theological matters, Chavez was urged by his superiors to further his studies by either attending Oxford University or advanced theological training in Rome. But, he was determined to return to New Mexico to do missionary work. His wish was granted and he was assigned to the village of Pe?a Blanca. His duties also led him to minister to surrounding communities as well. Cerrillos and the Indian pueblos of Santo Domingo, Cochiti, San Felipe and Jemez were a few in his care. Throughout those years he also toured the state in grueling preaching tours specifically aimed at the Spanish-speaking parishes where he was always welcome. All the while he was continuing with his writing and extensive research which greatly contributed to the history of this region. This creative talent within him remains a major influence through his life and certainly follows in the pattern of many other priests and monks. Fray Chavez served for over thirty years as a Franciscan priest in New Mexico retiring in 1972 from parish work to pursue some personal interests.

While he was the happiest ministering to the people of New Mexico, he was called upon to serve in the Army in both World War II (1943-1946) and the Korean War (1950-1952). He served with distinction and was honorably discharged with the rank of Major.

Fray Chavez has travelled extensively, specifically for research purposes. He holds honorary degrees from the University of New Mexico (1947 and 1974) and from the University of Albuquerque (1963). He has been recognized for his work in the arts and has served on many local and national organizations for the promotion of art and history.

After his retirement as the appointed archivist (1975-1982) for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe he continued to research and write.


1 box (1 cu. ft.)

Microfilm Edition

Microfiche of New Mexico Roots Ltd.available at Zimmerman Library and the Center for Southwest Research: F795 C44 1982c

Electronic Edition

CD of New Mexico Roots Ltd. is available at ZIM CSWR Anderson F795 C442 2001

Separated Material

Archival CD of New Mexico Roots is stored in accession folder.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Morgan, Phyllis S. Fray Angélico Chavez: A Bibliography of His Published Writings (1925-1978). Jene Taylor, Publisher: Santa Fe, 1980. 80 pages.
  • The Albuquerque Journal - Impact Magazine. "Fray Angélico: Priest, Poet, Historian," by James Abarr. August 28, 1979, pp. 12-15.
  • The Denver Post - Empire Magazine. "'A Genius of Sorts': Respected Historian Keeps Setting the Record Straight," by Richard S. Johnson. January 11, 1981, pp. 18-25.
Finding aid of the Angélico Chavez Research Papers, 1950-1982
For Approval
Processed by CSWR Staff
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 440 BC::Angélico Chavez Research Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss440bc.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