Item No: #13895 Popular Elementary History of New Mexico. Benjamin M. Read.
Popular Elementary History of New Mexico.

Mexican American's History of New Mexico

Popular Elementary History of New Mexico.

Notes: An important history of New Mexico from the perspective of the Spanish American founders of the state. Read, a historian and politician, was born to an Anglo father and a Mexican mother. He spoke and frequently wrote in Spanish and was an enthusiastic promoter of Spanish culture in New Mexico. In this book, he writes in the preface, "My chief purpose in the preparation of this brief popular history has been to enable the poor and the children of our State, especially those who are the descendants of the first explorers and conquerors, to partake of the interest and enthusiasm one experiences when reading of the marvelous deeds, the wonderful foresight, the peerless valor, and the sublime faith of the men who first visited, conquered, settled, and christianized this land of ours."

This book is a condensation of his previous English- and Spanish-language histories of the state.

Benjamin Maurice Read (Las Cruces, NM, 1852 – Santa Fe, NM, 1927) was the leading Latinx historian in New Mexico. His father, Benjamin Franklin Read, arrived in New Mexico as a soldier during the Mexican American war and soon married Maria Ignacia Cano. (The origins of Read's mother is somewhat obscure. In the 1860 and 1870 censuses, her birthplace is given as New Mexico; in Read's Historia ilustrada de Nuevo Mexico (p. 456) he says she immigrated with her parents to New Mexico from Sonora [Mexico]. In the 20th century, Read reported her birthplace as Spain to census officials). Benjamin F. and Maria had four boys in quick succession, the last after Benjamin F. died in 1857. Maria soon remarried a nuevomexicano farmer, Meteo Ortiz, who raised the boys.

Read became a lawyer and served in the territorial legislature and as speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives. In 1910, he began publishing a series of historical works looking at New Mexico history from the viewpoint of its residents of Spanish origin. His view of history, as a story that needed to consider ethnic and cultural viewpoints, was rare at the time. He was implicitly, and sometime explicitly, arguing that most histories of the Southwest were Anglo histories, a viewpoint he intended to counter, in part by writing books on the Southwest first in Spanish and only later in English.

186 pages, including one double-page map, an index, and appendices listing government officials. Illustrated with black and white photographs.

Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). A very good copy in the publisher's red cloth.

Publication: Santa Fe: Benjamin M. Read, 1914.

Item No: #13895

Price: $200