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Joseph Frank Tondre and the Tondre Family Papers

Identifier: MSS-510-BC

Scope and Content

This collection consists of the materials from three aspects of Tondre's life, political career, business and personal life. They include correspondence, office records, clippings, business records, financial records and diaries. Sheriff's records contain subpoenas, criminal investigation files and correspondence with other law enforcement officers. Warden's records consist of rules and regulations of penitentiary, statistical reports and correspondence with related organizations. Most of the business records are invoices of estates. Check receipts are the major part of the personal financial records

Biographical information about Tondre is in the miscellaneous and clippings series.


  • 1858-1994

Language of Materials

English, Spanish, Tigua

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

Joseph Frank Tondre, politician and businessman, was born February 26, 1883, in Isleta Pueblo, just outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. His grandfathers on both sides emigrated from France, Vincent Mellecker becoming a citizen of the United States in 1858 and Joseph Frank Tondre I, in 1856.

Joseph Tondre's formal education consisted of a smattering of learning in Spanish, in a little class in Los Lentes and three years with the Catholic Brothers at St. Michael's School in Santa Fe. In a real sense, Tondre was a self-educated man; he could speak five languages --- Tigua, English, Spanish, French and German.

Tondre spent virtually all his life within a few miles of his birthplace. When in his teens he was a telegrapher, worked in steel mills, then he worked for Simon Neustadt Company, which he was associated with for almost forty years.

In the 1920's, Joseph Tondre began his longtime political career, He was elected as Valencia County Sheriff serving 1921 - 1924 and elected again, 1941 - 1942.

Under Presidents Coolidge and Hoover, Tondre was appointed United States Marshal for New Mexico serving eight consecutive years, 1926 - 1933.

In 1951 - 1952, he was appointed as the State Penitentiary Warden by Governor Edwin L. Mechem. During this period he paid great attention to improvement of prison conditions.

As a public figure, Joseph Tondre drew attention as Republican candidate for governor in the campaign of 1942, but lost his bid by less than 10,000 votes to John J. Dempsey, Democrat. He also ran on the Republican ticket for Lieutenant Governor in 1938. Tondre was a longtime Republican Chairman in Valencia County and served off and on as a member of the County and the Los Lunas consolidated district boards of education.

Joseph Tondre married Ruth Powers of Las Vegas, New Mexico. They have one son and four daughters. He died on February 3, 1968.


9 boxes (8.8 cu. ft.), plus oversize folders

Related Archival Material

United States Marshal (New Mexico) Records Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to Joseph Frank Tondre Photograph Collection.
Finding Aid of the Joseph Frank Tondre and the Tondre Family Papers, 1858-1994
Processed by Staff
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 510 BC::Joseph Frank Tondre Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss510bc.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