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Felipe Chaves Pictorial Collection

Identifier: PICT-000-010

Scope and Content

The collection consists of portraits of Felipe Chaves (Chavez) and his family, and others (including Arthur E. Currens, founder of the Tucumcari News and Clovis News, and family). There are images of the Chaves home and store in Belen, the Felipe Chaves School for Mexican girls, an interior view of a room at St. Joseph's Hospital (1907), and five mounted ranching scenes taken at the Bell Ranch. There is an oversize group portrait of residents (identified on back) of a boarding house in Oberlin, Ohio, dated 1894-95.


  • 1880-1910

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for copyright compliance. For more information see the Photographs and Images Research Guide and contact the Pictorial Archivist.


José Felipe Chaves (mostly known as Felipe) was born in Los Padillas, New Mexico in 1834, the son of José Chaves y Castillo and Manuela Armijo de Chaves. Chaves was the descendent of two of the most powerful and influenial New Mexican families of the day. His grand-father was Francisco Xavier Chaves, the first governor of New Mexico under Mexican rule, his father was governor of New Mexico in 1845, and his mother was a cousin of Governor Manuel Armijo. José Felipe Chaves was married to Josefa Chaves, daughter of José David Chaves and Barbara Armijo, a sister of Felipe's mother. Felipe and Josefa were double first cousins.

After a devastating flood in Los Padillas, Felipe and Josefa moved to Belen and opened a very successful general merchandise store. They later expanded their business to include cattle and sheep ranching. Felipe's business extended up and down the Santa Fe Trail and eventually included commercial activities in New York City, mining investments in Mexico, and banking in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. As a stockholder in the A.T. & S. F. Railroad, Chaves was instrumental in getting the Santa Fe cut-off built through Belen. He also established a private school for girls in Belen know as the "Felipe Chaves Academy" with an accompanying trust fund.

Don José Felipe Chaves was the great hacendado of Valencia County, one of the richest and most powerful men of the territory. He was a banker, sheepman, merchant, and landlord of a vast domain. He was known as El Millonario and El Cajnero (the undertaker) because of his elegant and fashionable attire. Shortly after the death of his wife, Doa Josefa Chaves on January 22, 1899, Felipe commissioned an Albuquerque architect, Angelo de Tullio, to design and erect a mausoleum made of red sandstone and white Carrara marble for his family in Belen. Don Felipe died May 16, 1905.


31 items (2 boxes) : 30 photographs, 1 tintype

Language of Materials



The collection consists of portraits of Felipe Chaves (Chavez), his family, and others.

Physical Location

B2. Shelved by Pictorial Number. Oversize box shelved in Big Box location by Pictorial Number.

Alternate Format Available

Four photographs from the Felipe Chaves Pictorial Collection are available online via New Mexico’s Digital Collections.

Separated Material

Photographs separated from the Felipe Chavez Family Papers.


Contact Information

  1. University of New Mexico
  2. MSC05 3020, 1, University of New Mexico
  3. Center for Southwest Research
  4. Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
  5. Phone: 505-277-7173
  6. Fax:
  7. Email:
  8. URL:
Finding Aid of the Felipe Chaves Pictorial Collection, 1880-1910
Processed by Pictorial Collections Staff
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Language of description
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Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • 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