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Edward E. Crocker Records from the Excavation and Restoration of the Santuario de Guadalupe, Santa Fe, N.M.

Identifier: MSS-709-BC

Scope and Content

The bulk of this collection relates to the records kept by Edward Crocker concerning renovation of the Santuario de Guadalupe, an historic Catholic church in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the archaeology that resulted. The collection documents renovation work, archaeology, and architecture with contracts, newspaper articles, correspondence, notes, manuscripts, background research, photographs and slides. The material covers the time span from of the formation of the Guadalupe Historic Foundation in 1974 through 1999. The bulk of the material is dated 1989-1990, documenting Crocker's contract to do structural support work and archaeology on the Santuario de Guadalupe. Also documented are the many problems played out in real time and in the newspapers by the discovery of human remains within the confines of the Santuario de Guadalupe Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Though much of the collection is concerned with the preservation of the Santuario de Guadalupe, and the subsequent unanticipated archaeology conducted with the discovery of human remains beneath the church, the underlying issues of Hispanic attitudes towards death, religion, and history are also covered. Other relevant events represented in this collection include grant funding debates, the use of the Santuario as a religious or cultural venue, and the disposition of the human remains found buried under the floor of the Santuario. The role played by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the Commission for the Preservation of Historic New Mexico Churches, and the lay brotherhood known as the Hermanos Penitentes are also key ingredients in the story documented by this collection.


  • 1976-1999 (bulk 1989-1990)


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.


The historic Santuario de Guadalupe is said to have been built between 1776-1795. The original structure was typical of 18th Century indigenous architecture. Built in the shape of a Latin cross, the nave measured about 70 feet in length, the arms of the transept about 30 feet. The building, constructed of large adobe bricks forming walls approximately 33 inches thick, had a flat roof and a three tiered bell tower. A burial ground or camposanto encircled the church and the whole was surrounded by a low adobe wall.

The church was originally known as Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, later also known by the English translation, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Devotion to the Virgen de Guadalupe was widespread throughout the Spanish colonial world. A 1783 painting by Jose de Alzibar of the Virgin of Guadalupe was commissioned for the church in Santa Fe where it still hangs behind the alter of the Santuario. The Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Church went through profound architectural changes to accommodate the political and ecclesiastical administration resulting from the appropriation of New Mexico by the United States, 1846-1848. The bell tower was demolished, the flat roof was covered with a steep wooden shingle and adored with a tall spire "of the strictest New England meeting house pattern." The old adobe wall was demolished and replaced by a picket fence. In 1922 a fire gutted the church but left the 1783 painting by Alzibar intact. In rebuilding the church the original example of a New Mexican mission church was lost to an eclectic style inspired by the California mission style. With the passage of time and continual influx of population, a new parish church was built and the old church was left to the elements and vandalism. Periodic attempts to restore the church were unsuccessful until 1975.

In 1974, the Guadalupe Historic Foundation was formed and received title to the historic church plus a half block of surrounding land. Restoration began in 1975 and the church was re-christened the Santuario de Guadalupe. The church was brought back to its original 18th century appearance by architects Owings, Johnson and Nestor and a group of dedicated crafts people.

In 1989, anticipated grant money was earmarked for continued renovation including roofing, plaster and electrical work. Edward Crocker was contracted to begin work on a steel shoring system in the church narthex to support the massive bell tower made of concrete, steel and masonry which was built after the fire of 1922. It was during the excavations for the footings of this system that a vast concentration of human and cultural remains were discovered under the floor of the narthex.


1 box (.5 cu. ft.) + 1 oversize folder


This collection is a well documented history of the excavation and restoration of the Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It documents the archaeology conducted by Edward Crocker and his firm when burials were discovered beneath the floor of the church during restoration work. Resulting social and cultural dynamics of the community relating to the church, its renovation and the archaeology are also covered in the collection.

Related Material

Will, Martina Elaine. God Gives and God Takes Away : Death and Dying in New Mexico, 1760-1850. University of New Mexico. Dept. of History. Thesis (Ph. D.), 2000

Separated Material

Photographs and slides have been transferred to Edward E. Crocker photograph collection.
Finding Aid of the Edward E. Crocker Records from the Excavation and Restoration of the Santuario de Guadalupe, Santa Fe, N.M., 1976-1999 (bulk 1989-1990)
For Approval
Processed by Dennis Peter Trujillo
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 709 BC::Edward E. Crocker Records from the Excavation and Restoration of the Santuario de Guadalupe, Santa Fe, N.M. )//EN" "nmu1mss709bc.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