An adobe chapel in Los Ranchos, New Mexico, 1938.

A Pictorial History of New Mexico

curated from public archives
and personal collections

The historic pictures in this archive chronicle life in New Mexico up through the early 20th-century. Old photographs, vintage documents and ephemera, and other materials form a narrative of the people, places, and events that have shaped New Mexico's cultural identity.

Feb 14, 2018

Black & white photograph from 1911 of cowboy George McJunkin on his horse.

African-American cowboy George McJunkin, foreman of the Crowfoot Ranch and discoverer of the important Folsom Man site that would have such dramatic impact on North American archaeology. This photo was probably taken in 1911, three years after McJunkin’s discovery, and shows him on his horse, "Headless."

McJunkin was a remarkable man. Born in Midway, Texas, in 1851, he survived slavery and the Cilvil War. As a teenager he joined his first cattle drive and began a long career as a cowboy, becoming known for his horse-breaking and roping skills—skills he traded for reading lessons. McJunkin had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, and became an amateur naturalist, building a large collection of books and artifacts.

Feb 10, 2018

Black & white photograph of U.S. Infantry troops silhouetted against an open sky.

In March 1916, the village of Columbus, New Mexico, was attacked by the troops of Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa. Ten townspeople and eight soldiers were killed. President Woodrow Wilson ordered the notorious General John Pershing to pursue the revolutionists into Mexico and capture Pancho Villa. Pershing led 10,000 men in the U.S. Army Punitive Expedition—now known as the Mexican Expedition, and commmonly as the Pancho Villa Expedition—over 350 miles in pursuit of the Villistas. The expedition defeated Villa’s troops, but failed to capture the man himself.

Feb 7, 2018

Black & white photograph from 1938 of an adobe chapel in Los Ranchos, New Mexico.

A beautiful black and white photograph from 1938 of a chapel in Los Ranchos, New Mexico. The photographer is unknown. The village of Los Ranchos was founded in the Spanish Colonial period, originally organized around a plaza called San Jose de Los Ranchos. From 1850 to 1854, after New Mexico became a United States territory, the village was the seat of Bernalillo County.

Jan 30, 2018

Two women step down from a brick sidewalk in front of the adobe Hotel Alvarado in Albuquerque, New Mexico, into a dirt street lined with street car rails.

The Hotel Alvarado opened in May, 1902. Designed by Charles F. Whittlesey, with the interior designed by Mary Colter, it was the first building in New Mexico designed in the Spanish-Colonial style adopted by the Santa Fe Railroad. The hotel included a gift shop, railroad depot and offices, and a restaurant that could accommodate up to 200 passengers. It was hoped that the the hotel would attract the wealthier classes to stop in Albuquerque on their travels west. For many years the Hotel Alvarado was known for its luxury, but with the decline in railroad travel in the United States, the hotel fell on hard times and was destroyed in 1969. It was eventually replaced by the Alvarado Transportation Center, designed to be reminiscent of the Hotel Alvarado.

Jan 26, 2018

1940 photo shows traditional female mud plasterer re-mudding the exterior of an adobe house.

Spanish-American woman replastering an adobe building in Chamisal, New Mexico, in July of 1940. Enjaradoras are traditional female mud plasterers, responsible for the annual replastering of adobe homes and buildings. This exterior plastering is necessary to protect adobe bricks from weather, and must be maintained regularly.