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Alice Martin King Papers

Identifier: MSS King Alice

Scope and Content

The collection consists of the personal materials of Alice Martin King wife of three-time New Mexico Governor Bruce King (1971-1974; 1979-1982; 1991-1994). This collection is devoted almost exclusively to her official capacity as the First Lady of New Mexico. While there is a small amount of material from the first term, the majority of documents are concentrated on the second term and to a much greater degree on the third term when she played a much more significant role. During the second and third terms, she reinvented the position of First Lady through her substantial involvement in improving healthcare, juvenile justice, social services and education. During the last term, she led the successful campaign to create the cabinet level department of Children, Youth and Families. Her collection ties in closely with the collection of her husband Bruce King. His collection contains a great deal of material documenting their relationship and her activities in state government.

The approximately 20 cubic foot collection is organized thematically and is separated into six series, the largest being her collection of correspondence, daily schedules and speeches. During the last term, when she was the most active, Mrs. King kept almost all of her materials on a daily basis, the materials has been processed in this fashion to reflect her personal method of organization.

Biographical-Correspondence, Daily Schedules and Speeches: Box 1 contains biographical material, the various honorary degrees she was awarded and the many other awards of recognition for services. Boxes 1-9 contain a set of papers that document her day to day activities, especially during the years from 1991-1994. Mrs. King kept careful records of these activities and frequently stapled the correspondence she received and wrote, the speeches she gave and notices of any other activities with her daily schedules.

Children, Youth, Families: Contain the papers that reflect her work on various aspects regarding children, youth and families which was the primary focus of her activities. Box 10 and 11 document her work as chair of the Task Force on Children, Youth and Families in 1991-92. Boxes 15 and 16 contain material from several other committees and task forces in these areas.

Education Issues: Box 16 contains papers which document her work on the Systematic Initiative in Science and Math Education, the Youth Education Summit, the Governor Summit on Education and TV 101.

Health Issues: Box 17 and 18 contain papers on her work on several health-related issues including the role of schools and the various substance abuse issues she worked on.

Adult Issues: Box 19 contains material on the various adult issues in which she was involved including the Office of Voluntary Citizen Participation, the Visitor Center for the prison hospital and the Adult Service Task Force.

Miscellaneous Materials: A variety of material ranging from her participation in the New Mexico Commission on Women to her role in the state visits of Princess Anne and Prince Charles.


  • 1971-1994
  • Majority of material found within 1980-1994

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions


Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication allowed for research purposes. User responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biography / History

Alice Martin King was born May 13, 1930 in Moriarty, New Mexico. She was part of pioneer family who moved in a covered wagon to the Estancia Valley in 1904. Her parents Kenneth and Audra King continued to work the family farm throughout their lives. Alice too worked the farm as a child and attended school in Moriarty. In 1946 she met Bruce V. King as a Baptist Church social. The two quickly fell in love and were married at the same church in June of 1947. Alice finished high school and joined Bruce to set up housekeeping and work on the King family ranch in Stanley. In 1951, their first son, Bill, was born, and three years later second son Gary was born.

Alice frequently stated that her role model was Eleanor Roosevelt who used her position to be a powerful advocate for social welfare for the poor and the other forgotten segments of society. So, when her husband started his forty year career in New Mexico politics, she became a close partner and active participant. She worked on his campaigns for positions on the Santa Fe County Commission and later as a state legislator. In 1978, when Bruce began his campaign for governor of New Mexico, she joined in and did all of the scheduling. Together, they made a formidable team always maintaining close personal contact with voters, always emphasizing their common roots and common interests.

During King’s first term as governor, Gary King was finishing high school, Alice focused on her family and the traditional duties as the first lady. When Bruce ran again in 1978, she was a more active campaigner and when he won election again, she reinvented the role of first lady. She worked diligently on issues affecting the youth and the elderly. Among her many activities, he served as chair of the New Mexico Committee for the International Year of the Child (1979), the New Mexico Conference on Families (1980), and the Governor’s Commission on Children (1982). She was also the director of Office of Voluntary Citizen Participation (1980-1982). As a long time member of the Board of Directors for the New Mexico Boys Ranch, she spearheaded the successful efforts to establish a New Mexico Girls Ranch.

The first Lady also served on the New Mexico Children’s Code Task Force where she focused on juvenile justice. She was leading member of the Governor’s Task on Youth Authority which was a working group of leaders across state agencies that discussed ways t coordinate, connect and deliver social services to families.

When the Kings left Santa after the completion of the second term, she returned to their ranch in Stanley. She continued her work on the boards of the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, United Way of Greater Albuquerque and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation.

In 1990 Alice and Bruce King joined together in his third campaign for governor. This time is was clear that they were running as team. The campaign slogan pushed the concept that voters would get "Two for the Price of One" as leaders in state government. After the victory, Alice set out to make good on that promise. For the first time, she established a formal office and hired a staff of five including Caroline Gaston as her personal assistant. She then quickly picked up where she left off in 1983. Her main goal was to be the point person to ensure that New Mexico would provide better social services to all New Mexico citizens. Governor King appointed her as chair of the Task Force on Children and Families. The Task Force met across the state holding town meetings in 1991 and 1992. The results of these meeting and other hearings created a report recommending the creation of a cabinet level department. In 1992, the bill was signed into law creating the Department of Children, Youth and Families, the first department of its kind in the nation. Even with this accomplishment, Alice stayed active in leading several other efforts on children, juveniles, women and families. She also became a leading proponent of equal pay for women and better sex education in the schools. In fact she became such a strong presence that many people began to wonder who was actually running the administration.

When Bruce King lost his bid for re-election in 1992, he and Alice returned to the ranch. She would remain active in many of her causes throughout the rest of her life. A tireless advocate for children, families, better public health services and education, she could now look back over her accomplishments and realize that she was indeed very much in mold of her heroine Eleanor Roosevelt. She was widely recognized with honorary degrees and certification of recognition. She completely redefined the role of first lady in New Mexico and was the first woman elected to The New Mexico Women’s Hall of Fame. On December 7, 2008 she passed away.

Sources: "Alice King Through the Looking Glass," Rick Homans, Albuquerque Monthly, March, 1993. "How Powerful is She Really?" Kate McGraw. Santa Fe Reporter, July 22-28, 1992. Alice King Papers, Box 1 Folder 1: Biographical Information. Bruce King Papers, Box 1, folder 2: Biographical Information: Alice Martin King: UNM School of Law Library, University of New Mexico.


20 boxes (20 cu. ft.)


The collection consists of the personal materials of Alice Martin King wife of three-time New Mexico Governor Bruce King (1971-1974; 1979-1982; 1991-1994). This collection is devoted almost exclusively to her official capacity as the First Lady of New Mexico. While there is a small amount of material from the first term, the majority of documents are concentrated on the second term and to a much greater degree on the third term when she played a much more significant role.


6 series:
  1. Biographical. Correspondence. Daily Schedules. Speeches
  2. Children.Youth.Families
  3. Education
  4. Health Issues
  5. Adult Issues
  6. Miscellaneous Material

Related Archival Material

Governor Bruce King Papers. 1st Term. New Mexico State Records and Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico Governor Bruce King Papers. 2nd Term. New Mexico State Records and Archives. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bruce King Papers, 1961-1997 University Of New Mexico School of Law Library, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Inventory of the Alice Martin King Papers, 1971-1994
Edited Full Draft
D. Myers
© 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM School of Law Library Repository

1117 Stanford NE, MSC11 6080
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
(505) 277-0935