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Contreras Family Papers

Identifier: MSS-52-BC

Scope and Content

This collection contains the miscellaneous business and private papers of Felipe Peralta, Abram Contreras and Emiliano Contreras. These papers reflect the social, political, and economic circumstances of the era in Socorro County, county seat and trading center located 72 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Among these documents are commercial licenses and Felipe Peralta" oath of loyalty to the United States during the time in which New Mexico's political status was that of territory. This oath is the same as that now given to individuals seeking citizenship in the United States. Other records reflect land transfers, post office transactions, and letters of courtship (and negotiation) between Emiliano Contreras and his betrothed, Sofia Chavez. These letters reflect the social customs surrounding courtship and marriage as well as the gender relations of the time. The critical phrase (taken from one such letter) "Women want to wear men's pants" suggests a sense that changes in gender roles were imminent. Other documents relate to a homestead application, certificates (registrations) of cattle brands, receipts, a pamphlet regarding a soil survey of the Socorro and Rio Puerco areas of New Mexico (1929), and general correspondence. Of particular interest are four letters from Elfego Baca, noted New Mexican historical figure, then attorney, to Emiliano Contreras. Record books from local businesses, including the Charles Ilfeld Company, and other general store tabs are also housed in this collection. Many of the documents in this collection are written in Spanish. The collection was previously called Emiliano Contreras Papers. The collection also contains six unidentified photographic portraits.


  • 1820-1944

Language of Materials

English, and Spanish.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

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


Felipe Peralta was a La Joya merchant and Socorro County Justice of the Peace. Abram Contreras was a merchant of La Joya, New Mexico, and his son, Emiliano Contreras, was postmaster of Contreras, New Mexico in the 1930s and 1940s.


1 box (.38 cu. ft.)


This collection is comprised of business and private papers pertaining to Abram Contreras, Felipe Peralta, Emiliano Contreras and their relatives who resided in Socorro County, central New Mexico, in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Related Material

Charles Ilfeld Company Records Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Elfego Baca Collection Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Nicolas T. Armijo Family Papers Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico.
Finding Aid of the Contreras Family Papers, 1820-1944
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 052 BC::Contreras Family Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss052bc.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