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Thomas M. Pearce Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-255-BC

Scope and Content

The T.M. Pearce collection consists of four series: I. Research and writings; II. New Mexico Folklore Society (NMFS) Records; III. Personal papers and correspondence; IV. Miscellaneous and oversized materials. The Research and Writings series reflects the wide range of interests that Pearce pursued. The manuscripts, drafts and notes, collected research materials, audio recordings and correspondence found here are divided into subseries by general subjects as follows: A. Southwest Literature; B. Folklore; C. History, Art and English Literature; D. Language and Linguistics and E. Articles and Book Reviews. The Articles and Book Reviews section contains a chronological collection of off prints and periodicals containing Pearce's published articles and book reviews.

As a founding member of the New Mexico Folklore Society, Pearce collected records of that organization including correspondence, minutes, manuscripts and publications, workshop materials, speeches and clippings, 1931-81. Also included are manuscripts of histories of the organization, dated 1946, 1965 and 1975. The NMFS series also contains materials from other organizations including the National Folk Festival Association and the California Folklore Society.

Biographical material and family memorabilia are found in the Personal Papers and Correspondence series. Pearce's holographic journals, kept from 1923-1955 contain his reactions to events such as dances at local pueblos, some thoughts on his personal life and reports of his visits with his literary acquaintances such as Frieda Lawrence, Mary Austin, Witter Bynner and Frank Applegate. Pearce's correspondence, 1931-81, covers subjects ranging from research publications in progress, reactions to publications, personal reports and observations and business regarding various committees, organizations, workshops and speeches. This series contains hundreds of letters to Pearce as well as copies of letters he sent arranged as he kept them, alphabetically within chronological periods; 1931-40, 1950-68, 1969-74, 1974-76 and 1977-81. Correspondents include; S. Omar Barker, Alice Bullock, Elisabeth Willis DeHuff, J. Frank Dobie, Erna Fergusson, Paul Horgan, Alice Corbin Henderson, Spud Johnson, Frieda Lawrence, Haniel Long, Norman Macleod, Carey Holbrook and Peggy Pond Church. Scrapbooks of clippings, 1925-74, are also found in this series.

Miscellaneous materials include papers pertaining to the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, 1947-79 and lecture notes and student papers from classes on Marlow and Johnson. Clippings, memos and correspondence relating to the University of New Mexico, 1940-70 focus especially on campus controversies, 1969-72. The oversize materials, some of which are housed separately, include many maps of New Mexico collected by Pearce for his work on place names.

An addition to the collection, processed in December 1995 contains materials, similar in scope to the original collection.

Dates

  • 1904-1985

Language of Materials

English

Access Restrictions

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 publications or distribution.

Biography

Thomas Matthews Pearce was Professor of English at the University of New Mexico for over 35 years and the author of numerous books and articles on the English language and folklore. Born in Covington, Kentucky, May 22, 1902, Pearce was educated in public schools in Missoula, Montana and graduated from Montana University. He received his MA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1925 and was an instructor there until 1927 when he came to New Mexico as assistant professor. He went back to Pittsburgh and received his PhD in 1930, then returned to New Mexico where he became a full professor and served as English department chair, 1939-51. He retired from teaching in 1964.

Pearce researched in the areas of the evolution of the English language, Elizabethan literature and Southwestern literature and folklore, producing 16 books and many articles and essays. His books include anthologies, dictionaries, collections of verse and folktales and biographies of Mary Austin, Jim Cook, Oliver La Farge and Alice Corbin Henderson. His most popular publication was NEW MEXICO PLACE NAMES, 1965. Based on collections begun under the New Mexico Writers' Project, the book was a best seller for the University of New Mexico Press and was updated and republished in 1975.

Pearce was a founding member of the New Mexico Folklore Society, 1931, editor of the NEW MEXICO QUARTERLY, 1930-39, a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, 1947, associate editor of WESTERN FOLKLORE, 1949-65 and an active member of several other organizations including the American Name Society and the New Mexico Art League.

Helen Spang Pearce, an award winning artist and Pearce's wife, illustrated SOUTHWESTERNERS WRITE, a collection edited by T.M. Pearce and collaborated with Pearce and Ina Sizer Cassidy on NEW MEXICO PLACE NAMES. The Pearces shared an interest in local art, especially traditional New Mexico Native American and Spanish arts. Mrs. Pearce designed their home which was built on the UNM campus at 1712 Sigma Chi Road. Dr. Pearce was active in research, publication and professional and community affairs until his death on November 9, 1986.

Extent

43 boxes (29.28 cu.ft.), plus oversize folder

Alternative Format Available

Original reel to reel recordings from box 3 folder 17 are located in CSWR vault. Compact discs are available for research access (box 3, folder17).

Related Material

Mary Hunter Austin Papers University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. Frank G. Applegate Papers University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. Alice Bullock Papers University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. Peggy Pond Church Papers University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. Elizabeth Willis DeHuff Papers University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. Erna Fergusson Papers University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. D. H. Lawrence Realia University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. New Mexico Folklore Society Records University of New Mexico. Center for Southwest Research. J. D. Robb Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Eugene Manlove Rhodes Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Ernest Warnock Tedlock Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Collection of Papers on Frieda Lawrence Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Haniel Long Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Augusta Fink Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Witter Bynner Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Separated Material

Photographs transferred to theThomas M. Pearce Pictorial Collection.

Original audio tapes stored in B3.

Processing Information

Reel to reel tapes from box 3 folder 17 were reformatted to compact disc, August 2006
Title
Finding Aid of the Thomas M. Pearce Papers, 1904-1985
Status
For Approval
Author
Processed by Staff
Date
©2000
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
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 255 BC::Thomas M. Pearce Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss255bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131
505-277-6451