Skip to main content

Richard Charles Dillon Papers

Identifier: MSS-90-BC

Scope and Content

The R.C. Dillon papers pertain mostly to Dillon's two terms as Governor of New Mexico, 1927-1931. They include correspondence regarding election campaigns, letters to individuals, and general gubernatorial correspondence. Of particular note is correspondence with politicians and public officials such as Senator Bronson Cutting, Manuel B. Otero, Treasury Officer, and tax lobbyist M.L. Fox. General political papers include transcripts of speeches given and files concerning state business and public agencies (1927-1931). Other materials in the collection include newspaper clippings and memorabilia related to Dillon's governorship. Personal correspondence after Dillon's tenure as governor is included in the collection, but these papers maintain a political tone and emphasize Dillon's on-going involvement in the Republican Party (1931-1944). The collection does not contain much information pertaining to Dillon's business interests prior to or after his terms as Governor, although one file of correspondence with Frank Bond for the period 1928-1935 is included.


  • 1918-1944


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.


Richard Charles Dillon, merchant and politician, was born on June 24, 1877 in St. Louis, Missouri. At the age of twelve years, Dillon moved with his family to Springer, N.M. His first employment was as a worker with the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (later called the Santa Fe Railroad). Other jobs during his youth included bootblack, ranch hand, and store clerk. In 1893, Dillon moved to Ottowa, Kansas and worked in railroad construction. Soon after, he moved to Holliday, Kansas, where he worked in a financially troubled store, helping to set it on a firmer footing. Dillon then returned to New Mexico where he worked again in railroad construction. His retail career began in earnest in 1898 when he worked briefly for the Floersheim Mercantile Company in Springer. In 1902, he moved to Las Vegas, N.M. where he was employed as manager of the wool, hide, and pelt department of Gross, Kelly & Company, merchants.

In 1907, Dillon moved to Encino, New Mexico to work for and manage the G.W. Bond and Brother Mercantile Company; he became its vice president in 1914. Dillon was also associated with the Frank Bond and Son, Company, successor to the G.W. Bond and Brother, Co. About this time, Dillon started R.C. Dillon and Company, a general wholesale and retail business in Encino. He also developed an interest in ranching and livestock trade and purchased a sheep ranch at Encino. Dillon maintained a business stake in both R.C. Dillon and Co. and the Frank Bond and Son Co., throughout his life.

Dillon was first elected to public office in 1924 as Republican state senator from Torrance County. He was elected Governor in 1926, and, upon re-election in 1928, became the first two term Governor in the history of the State of New Mexico. His administration was characterized by business-like management and the development of New Mexico's infrastructure, particularly through the construction and black-topping of roads. A Dillon election slogan summarizes the themes of his administration: "Education, Good Roads, and Advertizing the State's Resources." Dillon ran for a U.S. Senate seat in 1934, but was defeated; at this time, Dillon returned to his ranch and business operations at Encino. Dillon died on January 5, 1966, in Encino, N.M.


16 Boxes (9.5 cu. ft.)


The Richard Charles Dillon Papers are a collection of documents relating to the political and business life of Richard C. Dillon. Most of the collection is correspondence generated during and immediately after Dillon's tenure as Governor of New Mexico, 1927-1931.

Related Material

New Mexico Governors Records. Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Miguel Antonio Otero Papers Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico. Richard Lowitt Papers on Bronson M. Cutting Center for Southwest Research. University Libraries. University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to the Richard Charles Dillon Photograph Collection.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Grubbs, Frank H. "Frank Bond: Gentleman Sheepherder of Northern New Mexico, 1883-1915," New Mexico Historical Review 1961:274-345 (For Dillon, see pp. 338-345).
  • Judah, Charles B. Governor Richard C. Dillon, A Study in New Mexico Politics. Albuquerque: Division of Research, Dept. of Government, Univ. of New Mexico, 1948.
  • Torrance County Historical Society. "R.C. Dillon Family," in History of Torrance County. Estancia, N.M.: Torrance County Historical Society, 1979:144.
Finding Aid of the Richard Charles Dillon Papers, 1918-1944
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: Encoding revised by BS, 1/2011
  • 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