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Laird Family Correspondence

Identifier: MSS-670-BC

Scope and Content

This collection consists of three series, comprised of some 450 items, including business correspondence, personal correspondence, and miscellaneous items such as lecture notes, a diary, photographs, and postcards. Much of the business correspondence reflects Thomas Laird's tenure with the Los Lunas and Mountainair school boards, and as superintendent in Mountainair. The collection contains letters relating to the hiring of teachers, letters from aspiring teachers seeking jobs, letters about the burning of the Mountainair (N.M.) high school building, and issues relevant to the school board. The non-school related business correspondence has to do with house rentals and furnishings, property, oil and gas, crops, the sale of minor items such as a typewriter, and assorted correspondence with the Laird's bank in Minnesota. Also present in the collection are various canceled checks and receipts.

Personal correspondence in this collection includes family correspondence (from both Minnie Kennedy's side and Thomas K. Laird's side) from numerous relatives from Minnesota, New York, and elsewhere. One folder in the collection contains documents pertaining to the successful search for Thomas' brother, Ewing, who was missing in 1930. Personal correspondence to Thomas K. Laird includes letters and telegrams from friends from "home" (Austin, MN), from Macalester College, and from former students. Personal correspondence to Minnie, also referred to as "Mino" (which constitutes the bulk of the collection), from as early as 1903, reflects her years as a single woman as well as her married years and motherhood. The Lairds received correspondence from all over the United States (both coasts, the Midwest, and the South) as well as from Scotland. The collection also includes miscellaneous items such as lecture notes written by Thomas Laird regarding New Mexican history and civics, as well as a diary. The diary's cover bears the name Robert Laird, of Austin, MN, but the handwriting does not match that in letters in the collection written by Robert Laird. It does match that in the lecture notes by Thomas Laird and individuals mentioned in the diary are also represented in the letters to Thomas. The diary covers the years 1913 and 1914 and documents a trip to Montana and summer farm labor, the prevalence of church in daily life for Laird (and notes both Methodist and Presbyterian affiliations), summer employment selling candy and ice cream, a trip to visit family in Austin (MN), and duties as a dishwasher in college. The social side of college life at Macalester in 1913 and 1914 is well documented also, describing interclass antics, social events, sports rivalries with other Minnesota colleges, and freshman hazing in detail. The diary also sheds light on Laird's hobbies and studies. It notes the grades he received for one semester, ranging from an A to a D- (the latter in Bible studies), as well as his pastimes, such as playing the fiddle, croquet, tennis, and backgammon. In later pages of the diary, Laird provides literary criticism and commentary on gender roles of the time in his evaluation of the 1904 publication Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter, as he criticizes what he sees as the inverisimilitude of a gun-slinging, bandit-fighting, non-snake-fearing female protagonist.


  • 1903-1938 (bulk 1925-1935)

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

Thomas Kees Laird was from Austin, Minnesota, attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota from approximately 1912-1916, resided in Michigan and New York, and eventually, by the early 1920s, came to reside in various parts of New Mexico (Willard, Mountainair, Los Lunas, and Albuquerque). He married Minnie Hazle Kennedy, from New York, around 1922 or 1923 (as reflected by a name change on letters addressed to her during that time). The Lairds had a daughter, Margaret, in 1925. While Minnie Kennedy Laird worked at the U.S. Indian School in Santa Fe and taught high school history classes, Thomas K. Laird served on the Valencia County and Mountainair school boards. He was school superintendent in Mountainair in the late 1920s, and in Los Lunas in the early 1930s.


1 box (1 cu. ft.)


This collection contains correspondence, notes, and a diary pertaining to Thomas K. and Minnie Laird.
Finding Aid of the Laird Family Correspondence, 1903-1938 (bulk 1925-1935)
Edited Full Draft
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 670 SC::Laird Family Correspondence)//EN" "nmu1mss670sc.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