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Pamela B. Minzner Papers

Identifier: MSS Minzner Pamela

Scope and Content

This collection consists of the personal material of Pamela B. Minzner lawyer, law professor, New Mexico Court of Appeal judge and New Mexico Supreme Court justice. Materials cover her years as a law student until her death in 2007; most of the materials are concentrated in her time on the courts from 1984 until 2007. The files which contain her speeches and her research material illustrate the issues which were most important to her and to her colleagues in the courts.

The approximately eight cubic feet of material is arranged by genre and is separated into five series.

Biographical-Correspondence-Organizations: Box 1 contains biographical materials, resumes and nominations and oaths of office for the two court positions she held. It also contains folder on the awards she won and material on the different organizations in which she was active.

Appointment Diaries: Boxes 2, 3, 4 contain her appointment diaries covering the years from 1984 to 2007.

Articles-Speeches: Boxes 5, 6 contain copies of research notes and articles that Minzner wrote and several folders of the many speeches she researched, wrote and delivered over a period from 1984 to 2007.

Research Files: Boxes 7, 8 hold a series of files of research material on a wide variety of legal and judicial issues. Justice Minzner kept files of materials on subjects relating to court issues including some of her personal notes covering the years from 1987-2004.

Financial Disclosures: Box 8 holds copies of the Minzner financial disclosures that she was required to file, they are for the years from 1993 to 2007.


  • 1968-2007

Access Restrictions


Copy Restrictions

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

Biography / History

Pamela Burgy Minzner was born in Meridian, Mississippi on November 19, 1943. The daughter of a career Air Force officer, she travelled a great deal as a child. In 1961, she graduated from Fairborn High School, near Dayton, Ohio. She was an outstanding student at Miami (Ohio) University where she majored in government and developed a strong interest in civil rights and poverty assistance work. She entered Harvard Law School in 1965, one of twenty-two women in a class of five hundred. During her second year, she was chosen to be a student lawyer in the Community Legal Assistance Office proving legal assistance to people living in poverty. That same year, she met her future husband, Richard C. Minzner also a law student. They married in 1968.

Following graduation, she worked for a Boston law firm specializing in estate and trust law and continued her work in the Boston Legal Assistance Program. In 1971, the Minzners moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and began work in a local firm. She continued to specialize in civil law and also began to teach as an adjunct professor in the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Impressed by her abilities, the law school offered a full time, tenure-track appointment in 1973 which she accepted. Over the next seven years, she rose to the rank of full professor. She taught courses in property, trusts and estates and wrote one of the leading texts on property law. She also started a class entitled “Women and the Law." Minzner was a popular and successful teacher who won several awards and was noted for her quiet intellect, warmth and compassion. She demonstrated other skills when she testified in 1975 to a legislative committee considering repealing New Mexico’s ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She presented a forceful and compelling argument that convinced them not to do it.

In recognition of her many skills, Governor Toney Anaya nominated her to the New Mexico Court of Appeals in 1984. She would serve there for ten years, including one as Chief Judge. In 1994, Governor Bruce King nominated her to the New Mexico Supreme Court. She was the third woman to serve in this capacity. Later, she became Chief Justice, the first woman ever to hold that title. During these years, she remained an active member of the American and New Mexico bar associations and was elected to the prestigious American Legal Institute.

An indefatigable worker, Justice Minzner found time to raise two sons, Carl and Max and remained active in a variety of capacities. She wrote articles, gave scores of speeches to a wide variety of audiences. She was warm and friendly and knew thousands of people all of whom she encouraged to call her Pam. Those who worked with her and those who presented in her courts were impressed by her intelligence, honesty and devotion to the law. In 2007, she died after a long battle with cancer. Her memorial service was held at a packed Popejoy Auditorium on the UNM campus. She is honored today by a named professorship in the UNM School of Law and by the Court of Appeals building in Albuquerque which is named in her honor.


8 boxes (8 cu. ft.)

Language of Materials



This collection contains the papers of former Supreme Court Justice Pamela Minzner. It includes her correspondence, writings, speeches and research files during her years of service as a lawyer, law professor, Court of Appeals judge and justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.


5 series
  1. Biographical Materials, Correspondence, Organizations
  2. Appointment Diaries
  3. Articles, Speeches
  4. Research Files
  5. Financial Disclosures
Inventory of the Pamela B. Minzner Papers, 1968-2007
Edited Full Draft
David 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