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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: July 29, 2002
Volume 38, Number 2

Center for Southwest Research opens new collections
Collection includes 52 oral histories on roadside crosses of NM

By Carolyn Gonzales

Descansos mark where people lost their lives.

The UNM General Library’s Center for Southwest Research announces the following manuscript collections open and available to researchers:

Roadside Crosses of New Mexico Oral History Project

This oral-history collection documents reflections and meanings given to roadside crosses, or “descansos” in New Mexico. The project brings a deeper awareness of the Spanish descanso tradition to the public by documenting the historical origins, contemporary cultural history, and geographical locations of descansos in New Mexico. Traditionally, the descanso was a cross placed in the ground to mark the spot where mourners rested the coffin while on the walk from the home of the deceased person to the cemetery.  With the introduction of the automobile, the tradition evolved to mark the place of death for victims of traffic or pedestrian accidents. The collection has 35 interviews with 52 respondents.  (MSS 680 BC)      

Robert W. Young Papers

Works and materials written and gathered by UNM Linguistics Professor Emeritus Robert W. Young, the collection contains published and unpublished manuscripts, data, handwritten and typed notes, memoranda, news clippings, papers, court cases and correspondence concerning linguistics (Athabaskan - Navajo), anthropology, history, BIA relations with the Navajo, and Navajo Nation Tribal records from 1880 to 1992.  The collection is divided into six overlapping series: linguistics, history/anthropology, Navajo condition, government relations and more Native American related publications. (MSS 672 BC).

Members of the Navajo Tribal Advisory Committee and the general council, circa 1953. The photograph is included among images in the Robert W. Young Papers.

Witter Bynner Collection

Generated and gathered by Evelyn Ortner while researching her master’s thesis, “By Nature a Sociable Fellow, A Study of the Life and Literary Relationships of Witter Bynner” (Drew University, 1973), the collection’s core consists of correspondence by, about and to Witter Bynner. Ortner’s correspondence with Bynner dates from 1953-1964.  Their conversations shed light on Bynner’s writings and writing process, as well as his personal relationships, health issues, and the literary and arts scene of the time.  Bynner wrote to Ortner from his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico as well as Chapala, Mexico. Ortner’s correspondence with Bynner’s friends, colleagues, and acquaintances provides personal recollections of Bynner and his social circle, which included Paul Horgan, D. H. Lawrence and others
(MSS 681 BC).

Finding aids to these collections are available in the Anderson Reading Room, Zimmerman Library, and will soon be available via the Online Archive of New Mexico at http://elibrary.unm.edu/oanm/.