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James O. McDowell Papers

Identifier: MSS-61-BC

Scope and Content

The collection relates to the bookkeeping and petroleum sales of Albuquerque businessman James McDowell. Included are hundreds of letters to and from McDowell to oil and gas companies through the American Midwest and Southwest. Several letters concern a fraud case in which McDowell acted as counsel, 1937. In addition to these business papers, some of McDowell's personal and family correspondence is included. Letters from Senators Carl A. Hatch (NM), Senator Bronson Cutting (NM), and Senator Rush D. Holt (WV) discuss politics and McDowell's job prospects. There are a few maps showing sales by township for New Mexico as well.


  • 1904-1937 (bulk, 1934-1937)

Language of Materials


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.


James O. McDowell was born in West Virginia in 1876. He was educated at the Dunsmore Business College in Staunton, West Virginia, and read law at the West Virginia University Law School. Between 1903 and 1913, McDowell worked as a bookkeeper for two West Virginia petroleum companies, Star Coal and Coke Company, and Cranberry Fuel Company. He also worked briefly as an attorney in Beckley, West Virginia. McDowell moved to New Mexico in 1913 to improve his health.

In New Mexico, McDowell's first job was selling insurance for the Equitable Life Assurance Company in Albuquerque. Then, he resumed his bookkeeping career, joining the L.B. Putney Mercantile Company as an accountant in Albuquerque, between 1913 and 1917. In 1917, McDowell moved to Tyrone, New Mexico, to work as an accountant for the Phelps Dodge Co. He returned to Albuquerque in 1921, where he worked for the Diamond Coal Company until 1930. Throughout his life, McDowell also worked independently as a broker or salesman of oil and gas leases. This work continued up until his death, circa 1937.


1 box ( .3 cu. ft. )


The James O. McDowell Papers consist of business records pertaining to McDowell's career as a book keeper for oil and gas companies in New Mexico.

Related Material

Albuquerque and Cerrillos Coal Company Records. Center for Southwest Research. University of New Mexico.
Finding Aid of the James O. McDowell Papers, 1904-1937 (bulk, 1934-1937)
Processed by Tad Mcilwraith
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 61 BC::James O. McDowell Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss61bc.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