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Charles and Jacqueline Meketa Papers

Identifier: MSS-875-BC

Scope and Content

The Charles and Jacqueline Meketa papers contain the working papers and research files collected and produced during the research for their books and articles related mainly to the Civil War period and to 20th century New Mexico and Arizona history. Materials include notes, unpublished manuscripts and correspondence concerning publication and funding of their work. The collection is divided into four series.

Biographical and Personal papers include correspondence related to early college life and class work, a Meketa family genealogy chart and correspondence from friends, family and publicists.

The bulk of the materials in the collection are contained in the Southwest and New Mexico Military History series. Included are research notes, draft manuscripts, grant proposals, correspondence, bibliographies of historical figures such as Rafael Chacón, Louis Felsenthal and Albert Pfeiffer, as well as notes and extractions from various records of New Mexico forts and military units. 17 reels of microfilm from the National Archives and Records Administration, James W. Arrott collection (from New Mexico Highlands University), and Division of State Archives and Public Records, Denver, Colorado are also included in this series.

General History Research files are comprised of material collected during research on the respective topics and personages, including facsimiles of original documents, archival resource guides and indexes, correspondence, facsimiles from journal articles, and draft manuscripts. Examples of persons researched include Native American Medal of Honor recipients, women pioneers such as Sadie Orchard, stage driver; Jane Wilson, Comanche captive and the women of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. Also included is material on World War II, Korea, Vietnam, buffalo soldiers, New Mexico towns, and religious and territorial New Mexico history.

The Photo series contains mostly copy prints of various people and subjects related to the books that the Meketas wrote, along with a few original photos and transparencies.

The photocopied documents, transcriptions/translations, and collected material, along with the published and unpublished manuscripts offer historical information for researchers of the Civil War, Hispanic and Native American involvement in the Civil War, and general military and social New Mexico history during the Territorial period.

More material was added to the Meketa Collection in the Fall of 2022. Among the papers are writings by Charles and Jacqueline Meketa. There are folders with research and studies on Valverde, Glorieta, Fort Union, Fort Craig, the Confederate invasion and the Indian Wars. There is also information on United States army weapons and equipment used in the Southwest. There are copies from NARA of some individual pension records for New Mexico volunteer soldiers, who served in the Civil War and Indian wars, that the Meketas were studying. Several folders contain photographs.

The collection also contains a good number of original one-of-a-kind papers from Colonel Ethan W. Eaton. Dating from 1862-1906, they pertain to Eaton’s military career, mining business in Galisteo and activities in Socorro. There are original business invoices and receipts for Eaton and others from the 1870s and 1880s on company letterhead papers for grocery, pharmacy and mining supply stores in Socorro, Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Willard, White Oaks, San Antonio and Kelly, New Mexico. Further, the collection contains a few original business papers of Juan Jose Baca, a Hispanic merchant in Socorro. Some of the business papers are written in English and others in Spanish. There are also personal letters written in Spanish. Included, too, are papers dating from 1880s-1913 from John Ellsworth Griffin, a Socorro attorney and local Republican leader.

In addition, there are original Warranty Deed land transfers papers and tax receipts from the 1880s-1910s for folks from Mora County, San Miguel County, Rio Arriba County and Taos County. Some of the papers pertained to Vicente Mares, of Wagon Mound, who bought properties in those counties.

There are also three oversize folders with a variety of added material. Among them are several New Mexico maps from the 1950s-1970s showing the national forests with Spanish and Pueblo land grants. There are also several maps of Vietnam in the 1960s. The addition offers many new items for understanding the history of New Mexico in the nineteenth century, as well as broader topics.

The addition is in Boxes 5 to 8 which are located in the B3 Overflow Area.


  • 1792-1994
  • Majority of material found within 1860-1990


Language of Materials

English, Spanish, German

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

Charles Edward Meketa was born in East St. Louis, Illinois on October 19, 1923. He was a pilot in Army Air Corps and later became a lieutenant in the Air Force serving in the Pacific and Caribbean theatres. A sculptor, woodworker and folk artist, he worked as a cartographer for the USGS, and at Kirtland AFB and Los Alamos as a craftsman and designer.

Jacqueline Dorgan Meketa (1926-1999) was born in Balboa, Panama and moved to New Mexico in 1932. Jacqueline was a member of the Southwest Writer's Guild and the recipient of many literary awards including the New Mexico Presswomen's Zia Award in 1995.

Charles and Jacqueline were married in 1946 and raised 7 children. They earned their bachelor’s degrees at UNM in the 1950’s. The Meketas lived in Los Alamos, Placitas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were an historian and public speaker duo who worked on many projects together. Charles was interested primarily in frontier military history of New Mexico and Arizona in the 1860s. Jacqueline was interested in New Mexico historical biography, and wrote articles and short stories. They both assisted each other with research acquiring photocopies of documents, photos, and maps from archival resources in New Mexico and neighboring states, as well as from National Archives and Records Administration microfilm, and from personal visits to historic sites. Charles analyzed selected NARA microfilms, territorial documents and period newspapers for data on the military activities of various units and individual soldiers serving in New Mexico and Arizona. The Meketa's papers are tied closely to their research interests and publications which include: Medal Of Honor: Indian Wars, 1865-1891, by Charles Meketa; One Blanket And Ten Days Ration: 1st Infantry New Mexico Volunteers In Arizona 1864-1866, by Charles and Jacqueline Meketa, 1980; From Martyrs To Murderers: The Old Southwest's Saints, Sinners, And Scalawagsby Jacqueline Dorgan Meketa, 1993; Legacy Of Honor: The Life Of Rafael Chacon, A Nineteenth-Century New Mexican, edited by Jacqueline Dorgan Meketa, c.1986; Louis Felsenthal: Citizen-Soldier of Territorial New Mexico by Jacqueline Dorgan Meketa, c.1982. Legacy of Honor is considered by scholars to be the most accurate account of the Mexican and Civil War eras in New Mexico history. Much of their research pertained to Hispanics in the Civil War era. By searching individual medical records, the Meketas clarified that New Mexico volunteer Hispanic soldiers - previously falsely accused of desertion at Valverde in 1862 and causing the Union defeat - had in truth held their ground and taken heavy casualties. They greatly added to the scholarship on the war that now concludes the battle was lost by poor management at the command level. They wrote an article on the battle for the January 1987 New Mexico Historical Review. Some of Charles Meketa's research on the Hispanic New Mexico volunteers at Valverde is also cited in John Taylor's book, Bloody Valverde, UNM Press, 1995, 1999.

Jacqueline Meketa passed away on May 28, 1999 after battling a long illness. Charles Meketa passed away on March 3, 2007 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.


8 Cubic Feet (8 boxes, 4 oversize folders, 17 reels)


The Charles and Jacqueline Meketa papers primarily contain working papers and research files collected and produced during the research for their books and articles related to the Civil War and 20th century New Mexico and Arizona history.


Four series: Biographical and Personal papers, Southwest and New Mexico Military History (sub series- Research and Infantry and Company survey notes of New Mexican military service, Microfilm), General History Research files, and Photos.

Acquisition Information

Rebecca Meketa Lovesee donated her parents papers plus an assortment of maps, books, and microfilm to the CSWR.

Related Archival Materials

Charles Meketa Papers, U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, Pa.

Separated Material

17 reels of microfilm from the National Archives and Records Administration, James W. Arrott collection, and Division of State Archives and Public Records, Denver, Colorado are shelved with CSWR microfilm. Other microfilm reels have been catalogued into related UNM Library microfilm collections. Additional publications have been catalogued for University Libraries general collection.

Archival CD of partial interview with Ruth Selvridge about Rafael Chacón located on B3.

Interviews pertaining to Los Alamos were transferred to Los Alamos Historical Society.
Finding Aid of the Charles and Jacqueline Meketa Papers, 1792-1994
© 2011, 2022
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Finding aid is in English

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