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 19th and early 20th-century New Mexico. 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.

May 23, 2016

A photo from a newsletter journal shows members of the Pecos Valley Bee-keepers Association posing in front of a buillding beneath a large tree. The mostly male members wear suits and hats. A woman in the group wears a high-collared Victorian dress and fancy hat.

Members of the Pecos Valley Bee-keepers Association at their meeting at Roswell, New Mexico, in October, 1910. This photo was published in the January 15, 1911, volume of “Gleanings in Bee Culture,” a monthly journal established in 1873 to promote beekeeping. The photo accompanied a report of the Pecos Valley group’s petition to the Eastern Railway of New Mexico for a lower rate on honey, as local producers were doing so well they wanted to ship further afield (the petition was later granted.) The full text of their petition was published in the journal and makes for interesting reading.

May 14, 2016

Old black and white photo of coal mining equipment and buildings in Madrid, New Mexico, circa 1935. Numerous smokestacks emit dark smoke.

A photo from circa 1935 shows an anthracite coal breaker and power house buildings in Madrid, New Mexico. The history of mining in New Mexico goes back nearly five centuries. Lead mining in the 17th century gave way to coal and gold mines by the 19th. By the 1890s coal mining had become big enough to require a railroad spur to connect the area to the Santa Fe Railroad, and a seven-story anthracite coal breaker was built. Madrid became a Company coal town, with inhabitants living in prefab cabins shipped out from Kansas.

May 1, 2016

Old photo of variety storefront in Albuquerque, with a horse-drawn buggy in front and people standing on the wooden sidewalk.

Interesting old photo of storefronts with fantastic examples of 19th-century signage, at 216 1/2 South Second Street in Albuquerque. The shops sharing the space are Smith & Prieston Machinists & Electricians, New Mexico Novelty Works, and W.J. Tway Signs, Wallpaper, Painting, Decorating & Paper Hanging. Several men stand on the wooden sidwalk, some dressed in overalls, some in suits, and one man wearing a shopkeep’s apron and sleeve stockings. A large dog sits in a horse-drawn buggy that bears more advertising for Tway the Painter.

Apr 11, 2016

Vintage map from 1927 showing Route 66’s original path through New Mexico.

Route 66 was created in 1926 as part of the American Highway System. Running from Chicago to Los Angeles, Route 66 became known as the Mother Road, the Main Street of America, and the National Old Trails Highway. In New Mexico, Route 66 originally followed the Santa Fe Trail north from Santa Rosa, through the southern Santa Fe Mountains to the city of Santa Fe. From there it ran south toward Albuquerque before finally turning west again at Los Lunas.

Apr 10, 2016

Antique illustration of an Isleta Pueblo house interior, and Pueblo woman in traditional dress holding a bowl.

This illustration of a Pueblo Indian home comes from The Land of Poco Tiempo (New Mexico) by Charles F. Lummis, published in 1893. It shows the interior of an adobe house at the Pueblo of Isleta. The wall benches are covered with blankets, and a cradle is suspended from the ceiling vigas. A Pueblo woman in traditional dress holds a bowl. Lummis lived at Isleta Pueblo from 1888 to 1893.