Skip to main content

Joseph M. Montoya Papers

Identifier: MSS-386-BC

Scope and Content

The Joseph M. Montoya Papers document Montoya's career in politics, primarily in the U. S. House of Representatives and U. S. Senate. The collection contains administrative files, correspondence, legislation, reports, speeches, press releases, campaign materials, and news clippings. The collection is divided into 10 overlapping series.

Biographical, 1957-1964 contains biographical information about Senator Montoya.

Lt. Governor, 1937-1957 contains legislation, correspondence, speeches and other administrative materials related to Montoya's tenure as New Mexico's Lt. Governor (1955-1957).

U. S. House of Representatives, 1913-1966 This series is further divided into 3 subseries. Administrative primarily contains general correspondence and invitations. Correspondence contains "official" correspondence, largely issue related, but there is also a section of general correspondence within this subseries. A myriad of issues are documented through correspondence including agriculture, gas tax, education, the Highway Department, and legislation. Agencies/Departments/Committees is by far the largest subseries containing correspondence, background information and files, reports, and legislation pertaining to the gamut of Montoya's House involvements. Agriculture (including the Bracero program), Armed Services, Appropriations, Atomic Energy Commission, Banking, Commerce, Defense (including White Sands and NM Air Force Bases), Education, Finance, Veterans, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Drug Administration, Foreign Relations, HEW (Health, Education and Welfare), HUD (Housing and Urban Development), Judiciary, Post Office, Ways and Means are a small sampling of agencies/departments represented in this subseries. Documentation of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and public works projects (Federal and New Mexico) are important and interesting components of this section. American Indian materials relate to the Navajo and Pueblo Indians and include the return of Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo. Documentation related to the Colorado River Storage Project, the San Juan-Chama Diversion Project, and the Navajo Irrigation Project is also contained in this subseries.

U. S. Senate, 1957-1976 documents Montoya's involvements as a U. S. Senator. The series is divided into six subseries.

Watergate: Montoya served on the Senate Watergate committee. Correspondence, reports (including from the Committee on Presidential Activities), legal documents, documentation of President Nixon's office recordings, media, and publications including press releases, speeches, news clippings, and ephemera all relating to the Watergate investigation are housed in this series.

Internal Revenue Service: As chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that approved I.R.S. funds, Montoya spearheaded hearings on the agency's performance, which began in 1974. This subseries contains correspondence, background information, research, witness information, press coverage, and other data related to the I.R.S. investigation.

Administrative: contains general correspondence such as invitations, thank you letters, memos, and mailing lists. Also included are documents relating to Montoya's travel, as well as files of Paul Demos, Montoya's administrative assistant. This section also contains grant award announcements for New Mexico by county, agency press releases pertaining to grants and general media messages.

Agencies/Departments consists primarily of correspondence with attached reports and literature pertaining to programs, requests, and inquiries. Communication is from constituents as well as agencies and serves to document the significant issues that Montoya was dealing with during his tenure in the Senate. Issues are wide ranging in scope, pertaining to both national and New Mexico interests. Department of Defense, Atomic Energy Commission, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Mines, and Bureau of Land Management are among the larger agencies and departments represented in this subseries.

Projects: These files relate primarily to public works and economic development projects. New Mexico projects are arranged by county, by Pueblo and by Navajo Chapter. General projects include the Four Corners Regional Commission, education, Four Corners Power Plant, Rio Grande Water Salvage Project and rural electrification. National and international projects are included as well.

Legislation consists of reports, bills, statements, correspondence, requests/responses for information, and documentation of hearings pertaining to legislation. Legislation covers most areas of government, including agriculture, appropriations, civil rights, commerce, crime, defense/military, education, elections, energy, natural resources, postal service, public works, welfare, etc.

Correspondence, 1962-1976 is divided into 2 subseries: General and Subjects/Issues Much of the correspondence relates to legislation and is from constituents in New Mexico as well as interested parties across the country. Montoya's responses are usually included.

Legislative History/Voting Records, 1957-1976 documents Montoya's voting record and contains records of the legislation that he sponsored and co-sponsored. Legislation pertains to a wide variety of topics including American Indians, bilingualism, consumer protection, crime, education, energy, environment, highways, immigration, poverty, post office, senior citizens, veterans, women, etc. Also included are several files of issue oriented "robo" letters, created for bulk mailing campaigns.

Campaigns and Elections, 1939-1977 contains campaign literature, correspondence, media spots, and press releases as well as election results and letters of congratulations. Materials cover Montoya's runs for Lieutenant Governor, House of Representatives, and Senate, as well as materials relating to George McGovern's campaign for president.

Communications, 1957-1976 includes speeches, remarks, press releases, statements and testimonials given by Joseph Montoya. Campaign speeches focus on New Mexico and Democratic Party issues. Speeches given by Montoya at special events are also included in this series. Speeches cover many of the topics in earlier series, such as the aged, agriculture, American Indians, atomic energy, Mexican Americans, veterans, foreign relations, highways, public works, natural resources, housing, and health. This series also includes publications such as the Congressional Record, Montoya's newsletter (from Washington and New Mexico), and a small sampling of newsletters from interests around the state and nation.

Democratic Party/Politics, 1956-1977 consists primarily of materials relating to the Democratic Party, both in New Mexico and nationally. Included are fact sheets, policy statements, party literature, opinion surveys and notices of events. Correspondence is interspersed within these files.

News Clippings, 1937-1976 are divided into 2 groups: People/Subjects and Agencies. People relate primarily to New Mexico political figures such as David Cargo, Jerry Apodaca, Dennis Chavez, Pete Domenici, Manuel Lujan, and Bruce King. Subjects include activism, agriculture, American Indians, civil rights, environment, conservation, defense, Democratic Party (NM and US), economic development, education, foreign relations, health, history, labor, military, post office, natural resources, and the like. Clippings relating to agencies include Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Labor, Treasury, Public Works, Highway, State Police and Veterans. Clippings are predominantly from the Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque Tribune, and the New Mexican. There are also clippings from smaller town New Mexico newspapers as well as national newspapers. See also microfilmed scrapbooks of news clippings, ZIM CSWR MSS 386 reels 1-6.


  • 1913-1977
  • Majority of material found within 1957-1976

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research. Case files are restricted.

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

Senator Joseph Montoya is arguably one of the most well known political leaders in contemporary New Mexico history. Born September 24, 1915 to Tom O. and Frances Montoya in Peña Blanca, N.M., he graduated from Bernalillo High School. He left New Mexico in 1931 to attend Regis College in Denver, Colorado. Graduating in 1934, he moved to Washington, D.C. to enroll in Georgetown University Law School. During his second year in law school, Montoya (just barely old enough to vote) was elected to the New Mexico State House of Representatives. He was reelected to that position in 1938, just after graduating from Georgetown Law School. By 1939, he was admitted to the New Mexico Bar and began his private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

As a member of the State legislature, Montoya was elected to the powerful position of Majority Floor Leader in 1939 and 1940. From 1940-1946, Montoya served as a state senator, achieving the leadership position of Majority Whip. He returned from other state positions to serve again as a state senator in 1953-1954 and later served as New Mexico Lt. Governor from 1955-1957. An unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1950 provided his first foray into the national political arena. He was elected to the Eighty-fifth Congress, April 9, 1957. He served four successive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was appointed to the important House Judiciary and Appropriations Committees before resigning on November 3, 1964.

Following the death of Senator Dennis Chavez in November of 1962, Governor Ed Mecham was appointed to hold New Mexico's vacant Senate seat until November of 1964. Montoya was elected to fill the remaining unexpired term and was sworn in on November 4, 1964. His own first full term as a United States Senator began January 3, 1965. He attained powerful positions on the Appropriations and Public Works Committees, the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, and the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, notably serving as Watergate Committee member and IRS Hearings chair.

Throughout his career, Senator Montoya authored, co-sponsored, or actively supported legislation in the following areas: civil rights, consumer protection, the elderly, agriculture, environmental protection, economic development, equal opportunity, education, health, and veterans. In 1976 he was defeated for office by Harrison "Jack" Schmitt.

Senator Montoya was married to Della Romero of Santa Fe. They were parents of three children: Lynda, Patrick and Joseph, Jr. Montoya died in Washington, D.C. on June 5, 1978. He is interred in Rosario Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.


265 boxes (264.5 cu. ft.)


The Joseph M. Montoya Papers document Montoya's career in politics, primarily in the U. S. House of Representatives and U. S. Senate. The collection contains administrative files, correspondence, legislation, reports, speeches, press releases, campaign materials, and news clippings.


10 overlapping series:
  1. Biographical
  2. Lt. Governor
  3. U .S. House of Representatives (Administrative, Correspondence, Agencies/Departments/Committees)
  4. U.S. Senate (Watergate, IRS, Administrative, Agencies/Departments, Projects, Legislation)
  5. Correspondence
  6. Legislative History/Voting Records
  7. Campaigns and Elections
  8. Communications
  9. Democratic Party/Politics
  10. News Clippings

Microfilm Edition (Scrapbooks)

Joseph Montoya News Clipping Scrapbooks are available on microfilm only: ZIM CSWR MSS 386, reels 1-6.

Reel Scrapbook Number Description
1 1 1956-1958
1 2 1958
1 3 1958-1959
1 4 November 1962 - October 1963
1 5 1963
1 6 August 1963 - December 1964
2 7 November 1963 - January 1965
2 8 1965-1966 (Airports, Committee Assigmnents, Dandur Temple, Education, Extremisms, Inidans, Labor, Latin America, Legislation, Politics, Poverty Programs, Public Works, Small business, Speaking Engagements, Veterans, Voting, Vietnam)
2 9 May 1966 - August 1966
3 10 Augsut 1966 - October 1966
3 11 1966 (Academies, Agriculture, Civil Rights, Conservation, Contracts/Awards, Education, Four Corners, Indians, Latin America, Legislation, Military, Mining, Monuments, Parks, Peace Corps, Personal, Politics, Poverty Programs, Public Health, Public Works, Rural Electrification, Selective Service, Small Business, SpanishSpeaking Americans, Technical-Vocational Education, Tijerina, Veterans, Voting Record)
4 12 1968 (AEC, Agriculture, Airports, Civil Rights, Conservation, Contracts/Grants, Eduication, Floods, Indians, Industry, Labor, Peace Corps, Personal, Politics, Potash, Transportation, Urban Renewal)
4 13 1969 (Agriculture, Airports/Airlines, Civil Rights, Committees, Conservation, Contracts/awards/grants, Cotton, Crime, Dams, Disasters, Drugs, Education, Floods, Foreign Affairs, Four Corners, Labor, Latin America, Legislation, Parks, Personal, Politics, Pollution, Potash, Poverty Programs, Rural Electrification, Speeches, Taxes, Tijerina, Transportation, Veterans, Vietnam, Voting Record, Water)
5 14 1970
5 15 1971 (Agriculture, Airports/Airplaenes, Anapra, Civil Rights, Committees, Consumerism, Contracts/Awards/Grants, Disasters, Education, Foreign Affairs, Four Corners, Government Agencies, Highways, Indians, Libraries, Military, Mining, Poverty, Projects, Spanish-Speaking Activities, Speeches/Invitations, Urban Affairs, Veterans, Visitors)
6 16 1973 (New York Times Economic Articles)
6 17 1973-1976 (Editorials, Commentaries, Letters to Editors, etc.)
6 18 1973-1976 (IRS, Watergate, Scientific and EDA)
6 19 1973-1976 (Legislative, Indians)
6 20 1976 (Primary Election Campaign)
6 21 1976 (Primary Election Campaign)
6 22 1976 (General Election Campaign)
6 23 1976 (General Election Campaign)
6 24 1976 (General Election Campaign)

Processing Information

Inquire with reference staff for access to unprocessed addition (July 2016), ca. 40 boxes, B3-11B.
Finding Aid of the Joseph M. Montoya Papers, 1913-1977
Processed by Political Archives; Described by B. Silbergleit
© 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding provided in part by: University of New Mexico Center for Regional Studies, Dr. Tobias Durán, Director

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