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Inventory of the William G. Ritch Collection, 1539-1901, bulk 1845-1882
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, documents, and maps in both English and Spanish related to the history of early and territorial New Mexico collected by William G. Ritch. The very early portion of the collection (1539-1700) contains original manuscripts, contemporary copies, and later translations of official documents and journals of explorers, correspondence, papers of various governors, court records, church inventories, and passport lists of American traders. The papers for the years 1846-1873 cover the American military occupation, New Mexico politics and government, New Mexico during the US Civil War, and Indian affairs relating to the Navajo, Apache, Comanche, and Pecos tribes. Items after 1873 tend to be the personal papers of William G. Ritch, including biographical sketches of significant New Mexicans, drafts of articles, and notebooks of research materials (including the biography of Father Antonio Jose Martinez by Santiago Valdez).
Background
William Gillet Ritch (1830-1904) was territorial secretary of New Mexico from 1873 to 1885 and authored several books about New Mexico history. He was a native of New York who moved to Michigan in 1855 and later settled in Wisconsin. After serving in the 46th Wisconsin Cavalry in the Civil War, Ritch returned to Wisconsin and was elected state senator. He was later proprietor and editor of the Winnebago County Press. Failing health forced Ritch to seek a better climate, and in 1873 he was appointed secretary of the Territory of New Mexico. He served in this capacity until 1885, with the added responsibility of serving as acting territorial governor in 1875. He was active in the establishment of a public school system in the Territory and became a regent of the State Normal School. He developed an interest in the history of New Mexico and began collecting historical documents in hopes of circumventing their destruction or dispersal. He was elected as the first president of the New Mexico Historical Society in 1880.
Restrictions
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.
Availability
Collection is open to qualified researches by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL.