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Wilma Loy Shelton Papers

Identifier: MSS-275 -BC

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 5 boxes containing items and itineraries of foreign visitors, including correspondence, biographical reports and official agency materials. Items include printed material from various organizations of which Ms. Shelton was a member, such as the New Mexico Library Association and the New Mexico Education Association, and newspaper articles about Ms. Shelton's retirement and special prominent visitors she hosted.

The collection dates from 1869-1967 but the bulk of material is from 1954-1964 and mainly relates to the work she did entertaining foreign visitors as hostess in New Mexico for the U. S. Department of State. Materials are arranged alphabetically by the name of a particular organization or the last name of her foreign visitors. Some itineraries include personal comments or observations by Ms. Shelton about these foreign students and dignitaries she hosted from all over the world.


  • 1869-1967
  • Majority of material found in 1954-1964

Language of Materials


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 publication or distribution.


Wilma Loy Shelton was born October 25, 1889 in Champaign, Illinois. In 1914, she received her A.B. from the University of Arkansas and a similar degree a day later from the University of Illinois. She earned a B.L.S. from the University of Illinois in 1918. She worked at the University of Illinois, first, as a general assistant from 1915-1916, later as a revisor from 1916-1918, and ultimately as librarian at the Psychology, Education and Philosophy Department Library from 1918-1920.

In 1920, she came to the University of New Mexico as Librarian for the University, at the request of UNM president David Spencer Hill. She held this position from 1920 until her retirement in 1945. When she first arrived, the library had 500 reference books, 1000 bound magazines, 100 current magazine subscriptions and about 16,000 volumes on the shelves of what was then Hodgin Hall. In 1925, the library moved from Hodgin Hall to a new location near the present day Fine Arts Department. University faculty and students turned out in mass on May 17, 1926 to transfer 28,000 volumes to the new facility. In April 1938, Zimmerman Library opened and the UNM band led a procession of students, faculty and friends who transferred the reserve book collection to the new library.

During her years in the new library the murals painted by Kenneth Adams were presented, the Field collections were accepted, and contributions were made to the library by the Carnegie Corporation and Rockefeller Foundation. After her retirement in 1945, Ms. Shelton became Librarian Emeritus, devoting her time to teaching classes in library science. From 1954-1964 she was Chairman of the Hospitality Committee for Foreign Leaders and Specialists. As hostess, she arranged visits to places and people in Albuquerque that would be of special interest to her guests, always including trips to the Indian pueblos and dinner at La Hacienda or La Placita dining rooms in Old Town, Albuquerque.

Shelton's publications include: A Checklist of New Mexico Newspapers (1935); List of Serials in the University of New Mexico Library; together with those in other libraries in Albuquerque (1938); and Checklist of New Mexico publications, 1850-1953 (1954).

Shelton's involvements include membership in the American Library Association; New Mexico Library Association (President, 1927-28, 1935-36); Southwestern Library Association (Vice-President, 1922-24, 1934-35, President, 1924-26); Tuesday Literary Club (President, 1932-33); active member of the Presbyterian Church (Deacon 1955-57); P.E.O. (President, 1934-35, 1954-55); American Association of University Women (President 1950-52); Albuquerque Association for the United Nations (2nd Vice-President, 1960-61); Family Consultation Service (Board Secretary, 1955-56); New Mexico Conference of Social Welfare (Chairman of Arrangements, 1953-56); Menaul School Advisory Committee, NMEA; Phi Kappa Phi; Phi Gamma Mu; New Mexico Federation of Republican Women (Parliamentarian, 1955-56); Bernalillo County Federation of Republican Women (President, 1955-56) and she served on the New Mexico Republican State Central Committee from 1956-1960.

Ms Shelton died February 16, 1972 in Terre Haute, Indiana.


5 boxes (5 cu. ft.)


The majority of the collection is comprised of itineraries for foreign visitors that Wilma Loy Shelton entertained as hostess in New Mexico for the U.S. Department of State.

Separated Material

Four guest books with photos have been transferred to the Wilma Loy Shelton Guest Registry Collection.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Shelton, Wilma Loy. A check list of New Mexico newspapers, prepared by the University of New Mexico library, Albuquerque, N.M.: University of New Mexico Press, 1935.
  • Shelton, Wilma Loy. Checklist of New Mexico publications, 1850-1953, Albuquerque, N.M.: University of New Mexico Press, 1954.
  • Shelton, Wilma Loy. List of serials in the University of New Mexico Library, together with those in other libraries in Albuquerque, May 1938, Albuquerque, N.M.: University of New Mexico Library, 1938.
Finding Aid of the Wilma Loy Shelton Papers, 1869-1967 (bulk 1954-1964)
Edited Full Draft
Processed by Illene Renfro
Language of description
Script of description
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 275 BC::Wilma Loy Shelton Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss275bc.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

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131