New Mexico State Library

Southwest Collection

The Southwest collection is a rich and extensive resource for information on New Mexico state history, geography, culture, ethnology, government, natural history, and economics.  The Southwest collection is complemented by the State and Federal Documents collections of the New Mexico State Library and the New Mexico State Archives, all located within a single facility.  Frequent research topics in the Southwest collection include: the history of New Mexico places and families, railroad history, mines and mining, New Mexican writers, land grants, Santa Fe neighborhoods and buildings, Indian pueblos and reservations, farming and ranching, and Western trails.

To find a book in the SW collection, see the State Library’s online catalog.

For a list of recent Southwest collection acquisitions, see “New in Southwest.”

The library research room hours are 1:00 to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.  Parking is ample; computers are available for researchers; and wireless access is provided in the building.  Email and telephone reference requests are handled daily, Monday through Friday, to serve clients with research needs.   Please contact us by email at or call 505-476-9702.

Resources Available

Southwest History & Culture

This non-fiction collection contains both current and historical works of interest to scholars and historians.  The majority of this collection is available for circulation.


The Library subscribes to many current New Mexico newspapers and holds thousands of rolls of microfilm for New Mexico newspapers dating from the territorial period of the 1850’s to the present.  To see our microfilm holdings visit our New Mexico Newspapers on Microfilm research guide. Microfilm reader/printers are available on site. Since we do loan microfilm, not every reel is available for in-library use every day. The State Library will loan another library up to 3 reels of microfilm per request for a period of 30 days with no renewals. Please contact your local library to initiate your request.

The Library also has the New York Times on microfilm from 1851 to mid-September 2008.  The Library also has the Index to the New York Times from 1851 to 2011, and the Personal Names Index from 1851 to 2003.

The Access Newspaper Archive and databases of historic newspaper content are also available in the Library.

Southwest Historical & Genealogical Periodicals

The Southwest Collection contains many current and historical magazine and journal titles.  They are available for in-Library use only.

Southwest Fiction

The Library holds a small and select collection of historical and current Southwest fiction with an emphasis on New Mexico and Southwest authors or Southwest setting. To assist you in locating a good read, here is a guide to New Mexico authors and classic books.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Bureau of Indian Affairs materials are located in the Federal Collection and the Southwest Collection.  This collection includes: Indian Census on microfilm from 1885-1940; Superintendency Records on microfilm from 1849-1880; and the Santa Fe Indian School Records on microfilm from 1890 to 1918.

Genealogical Resources

The Southwest Collection contains many genealogical resources including Ancestry Library Edition, Fold3, books, indexes, genealogical society periodicals, church records, census records, DAR indexes, Sanborn Maps for New Mexico (specific information below), and various National Archives records sets many of which are on microfilm and most of which must be used in the Library. For additional information regarding our genealogy resources see our Genealogy Resources research guide. For additional information on Native American genealogy resources see our research guide.

Census Records

Census records issued by the U.S. Census Bureau from 1790 to the present are available. The historical Federal decennial census schedules on microfilm for New Mexico are available for the following years:  1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885 Territorial, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940.  Census data is also searchable on the Ancestry Library database which is available in the Library.

Colonial and Land Grant Resources

In addition to the Parral Papers (see specific description below), the Southwest Collection contain many resources for colonial periods and land grant research, including the following microfilm sets which must be used in the Library:

Spanish Archives of New Mexico (SANM) Land Grant Records I, Rolls 1-63; Rolls 1-10 index with an English translation, Rolls 11-63 by land grant

Spanish Archives of New Mexico (SANM) Land Grant Records II, Rolls 1-23, 1621-1821

Mexican Archives of New Mexico (MANM), Rolls 1-22, 1821-1836

Parral Papers – El Archivo de Hidalgo del Parral 1631-1821

This is a microfilm collection of historical records written in Spanish (official records, directives, treaties, court transcripts, wills letters, and other documents) relating to the Spanish Colonial era of the Southwest.  The collection includes indexes in both English and Spanish.

Sanborn Maps

Dating from 1800’s through the 1950’s, the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps offer comprehensive information about commercial, industrial, and residential sections of cities and towns throughout New Mexico.  The maps are available on microfilm, on Sanborn map databases, and in color through the Fire Insurance Maps Online (FIMo) database. Both databases are available for in-Library use only. The FIMo maps are available for download. Copyright restrictions prevent librarians from making copies of entire maps.

City & County Histories

The State Library has many New Mexico city and county histories.  They are all listed in the online catalog.

City Directories

They are all listed in our online catalog.