Inventory of the William G. Ritch Collection, 1539-1901, bulk 1845-1882

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Manuscripts Department
The Huntington Library
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San Marino, California 91108
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Fax: (626) 449-5720
© 2017
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the William G. Ritch Collection, 1539-1901, bulk 1845-1882

The Huntington Library

San Marino, California

Contact Information

  • Manuscripts Department
  • The Huntington Library
  • 1151 Oxford Road
  • San Marino, California 91108
  • Phone: (626) 405-2191
  • Fax: (626) 449-5720
  • Email:
  • URL:
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou and Brooke M. Black (2017)
© 2017 The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: William G. Ritch Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1539-1901,
Date (bulk): bulk 1845-1882
Creator: Ritch, William G.
Extent: The collection numbers 2,274 pieces.

Number of manuscript boxes: 33 (boxes #1-33)

Number of bound volumes: 24

Number of oversize materials: 1 flat box (box #34);1 rolled document
Repository: The Huntington Library
San Marino, California 91108
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Collection is open to qualified researches by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

Publication Rights

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining permission rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], William G. Ritch Collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Acquisition Information

Source of acquisition: Watson L. Ritch, May 1923

Historical/Biographical Note

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.

Scope and Content Note

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).

Indexing Terms

Personal Names

Abert, J. W. (James William), 1820-1897
Abbreu, Santiago
Allen, William S. (William Stickney), 1805-1868
Alvarez, Manuel, 1794-1856
Armijo, Manuel
Arny, W. F. M. (William Frederick Milton), 1813-1881
Axtell, Samuel B. (Samuel Beach), 1819-1891
Baca, Ramon
Baird, Spruce M. (Spruce McCoy), 1814-1872
Baker, Grafton
Bandelier, Adolph Francis Alphonse, 1840-1914
Beall, Benjamin Lloyd
Beaubien, Carlos
Beck, Preston
Becknell, William, 1787 or 1788-1856
Benedict, Kirby, 1810-1874
Blumner, Charles
Buell, Salmon A.
Burnside, Ambrose Everett, 1824-1881
Bustamante, Anastasio, 1780-1853
Calhoun, James S., 1803?-1852
Carleton, James Henry, 1814-1873
Carson, Kit, 1809-1868
Chandler, Zachariah, 1813-1879
Clark, William, 1770-1838
Clever, Charles P., 1830-1874
Concha, Fernando de la
Cooke, Philip St. George, 1809-1895
Ewell, Richard Stoddert, 1817-1872
Fernandez de la Cueva Enriquez, Francisco, duque de Alburquerque, 1666-1733
Gregg, Josiah, 1806-1850
Houston, Sam, 1793-1863
Howe, Timothy O. (Timothy Otis), 1816-1883
Houghton, Joab, 1810-1876
Jones, Anson, 1798-1858
Kearny, Steven Watts, 1794-1848
Kennedy, John Pendleton, 1795-1870
Lamy, John Baptist, 1814-1888
Lane, William Carr, 1789-1863
Leavenworth, Henry, 1783-1834
Mackenzie, Ranald Slidell, 1840-1889
Martínez, Antonio José, 1793-1867.
McMullen, William, 1824-1901
Magoffin, James Wiley, 1799-1868
Maxwell, Lucien Bonaparte, 1818-1875
Meriwether, D. (David), 1800-1893
Messervy, William S.
Otermin, Antonio de, active 1678-1682
Otero, Antonio Jose
Otero, Miguel A. (Miguel Antonio), 1829-1882
Paredes y Arrillaga, Mariano, 1797-1849
Philip III, King of Spain, 1578-1621
Prince, L. Bradford (Le Baron Bradford), 1840-1922
Rencher, Abraham, 1798-1883
Riley, Bennett, 1787-1853
Ritch, W. G. (William Gillet), 1830-1904.
Robidoux, Antoine, 1794-1860
Rynerson, William Logan
Salcedo y Salcedo, Nemesio, 1754-1814?
Santa Anna, Antonio Lopez de, 1794?-1876
St. Vrain, Ceran, 1802-1870
Sturgis, Samuel Davis, 1822-1889
Sumner, Edwin V. (Edwin Vose), 1797-1863
Vargas, Diego de, 1643-1704
Vigil, Donaciano, 1802-1877
Vigil y Alarid, Juan Bautista
Waldo, Jose David
Wallace, Lew, 1827-1905
Washington, John Macrae, 1797-1853
Watts, John S. (John Sebrie), 1816-1876
West, J. R. (Joseph Rodman), 1822-1898

Corporate Names

New Mexico. Secretary of the Territory -- Archives


Apache Indians -- History -- Sources
Comanche Indians -- History -- Sources
Indians of North America -- New Mexico -- History -- Sources
Manuscripts -- Collectors and collecting -- New Mexico.
Mexican War, 1846-1848 -- New Mexico -- Sources
Navajo Indians -- History -- Sources

Geographic Areas

New Mexico -- History -- 19th century -- Sources
New Mexico -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources
New Mexico -- Politics and government -- 19th century -- Sources


Letters (correspondence) -- United States -- 19th century
Maps -- New Mexico -- 19th century
Journals (accounts) -- Kansas-- 20th century
Personal papers -- New Mexico -- 19th century
Professional papers -- New Mexico -- 19th century
Scrapbooks -- New Mexico -- 19th century

Separated Material

13 scrapbooks from the Ritch Collection were transferred to the Rare Books Department and are cataloged under the heading "Collection -New Mexico" in the printed book card catalog. The call number for the set is 128134.



Bound Volumes

Volume RI 66

Fernando VII, King of Spain.


Death Warrant for Antonio Carbojal... Apr. 5, 1809.

Volume RI 2210 (v. 1-3)

Valdez, Santiago.


Biografía del Reverendo Padre. 1877.

Volume RI 2211 (v. 1-2)

Valdez, Santiago.


Biografía del Reverendo Padre... 1877.

Volume RI 2212 (v. 1-7)

Ritch, William Gillet.


Notebooks. c. 1890.

Volume RI 2213

Ritch, William Gillet.


Topical Index to his own Works. c. 1890.

Volume RI 2214 (v. 1-8)

Ritch, William Gillet.


Topical Index to his own... c. 1890.

Volume RI 2215

New Mexico. Board of Commissioners...


Letterbook. Jan. 19, 1853-Nov. 28, 1854.

Volume RI 2216

Arny, William F. M.


Letterbook. General correspondence... Dec. 4, 1863-May 18, 1867.

Volume RI 2269

New Mexico. Valencia County. (oversize rolled document)


Libro de Matricula de la Eleccíon... Sept. 4, 1865.


Box 1:

Mar. 7, 1539 -Dec. 31, 1694

Scope and Content Note

Early documents (1539-1694) concerning the history of Spanish exploration and settlement in New Mexico, many translated by Samuel Ellison. Many of these documents discuss events in the wake of the public uprising and the reconquest.

Of special note:

RI 1: 19th century translation of A relation...touching his discovery Marcos de Niza. March 7, 1539.
Box 2:

1696, Mar. 22 - 1789, Dec. 9

Scope and Content Note

Early documents concerning Spanish resettlement and governance of New Mexico (1696-) and letters by the Duke of Albuquerque.

Of special note:

RI 55: Journal of events & operations against the Moqui. May 14 -Oct. 18, 1716. [extract]
Box 3:

June 21, 1794 -Dec. 31, 1830

Scope and Content Note

Commerce and trade with the United States.

Of special note:

RI 70: Record of vaccinations, giving names of fathers and children. [summer 1815]
RI 74: Contemporary copy of treaty of Cordova between Spain and Mexico, establishing Mexican independence. Aug. 24, 1821.
RI 81: Customs house, New Mexico. Jan. 1 -July 15, 1825.
Box 4:

Jan. 1, 1831-Dec. 31, 1838

Scope and Content Note

Americans adopting Mexican nationality, passports, petitions for naturalization, fur traders from Taos, customs and commerce with the US including Josiah Gregg, and the Revolution of 1837.
Box 5:

Feb. 9, 1839 -July 9, 1846

Scope and Content Note

American commerce, abortive Texan invasion of 1841, conflict between Texas and Mexico in NM, 1841-43.
Box 6:

Aug. 1, 1846 -Dec. 31, 1847

Scope and Content Note

Documents related to the conquest of New Mexico and the operation of local courts in 1846-47 under American rule.
Box 7:

Jan. 1, 1848 -Dec. 31, 1850

Scope and Content Note

Assumption of American control over New Mexico, including letters of Governor Vigil and military affairs. Also Indian trading licenses (RI 365, 366, 368, 371, 367, 374, 375, 376, 389, 400, 402, 404, 406, 407).
Box 8:

Jan. 1, 1851 -Nov. 31, 1851

Scope and Content Note

Territorial government and legislative activities of New Mexico. Also contains a document related to Indian trading (RI 1415).
Box 9:

Dec. 1, 1851 -Apr. 30, 1852

Scope and Content Note

Territorial legislative activities and courts, and Indian affairs.

Of special note:

RI 493 & 494: Receipts for return of captive Hispanic children from Indians and Indian trading bonds. 1852.
RI 2150: Statement in regard to buying and selling Paiute children.
Box 10:

May 1, 1852 -Apr. 30, 1853

Scope and Content Note

Indian affairs, including statements of supplies and services provided to the Navajos on their reservation in 1852.
Box 11:

May 1, 1853 -Apr. 30, 1854

Scope and Content Note

Work of the Territorial Commission on Public Buildings (June 1853), complaint about election fraud, and the US Army.
Box 12:

May 1, 1854 -Dec. 31, 1854

Scope and Content Note

New Mexican militia affairs, including muster rolls (RI 1624, 2134, 643, 1622, 1623, 649, 689).
Box 13:

Jan. 1, 1855 -Nov. 30, 1855

Scope and Content Note

Territorial administration, including letters from Elisha Whittlesey, call for volunteers by governor, and an Indian raid (RI 701).
Box 14:

Dec. 1, 1855 -Dec. 31, 1856

Scope and Content Note

Scope and Content Note

Construction of public buildings for the Territorial government.

Of special note:

RI 2257: List of inhabitants and property for Indians in New Mexico towns. [c. 1855]
Box 15:

Jan. 1, 1857 -June 30, 1858

Scope and Content Note

Many statements and bills related to the costs of the territorial government. Correspondence of Miguel Antonio Otero to Charles Clever.
Box 16:

July 1, 1858 -Feb. 28, 1860

Scope and Content Note

Expenses of per diem and mileage for legislators and descriptive list of paid Treasury warrants. Territorial politics and national politics. Correspondence of Miguel Antonio Otero to Charles Clever.
Box 17:

Mar. 1, 1860 -Aug. 31, 1861

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence of Miguel Antonio Otero to Charles Clever.
Box 18:

Sept. 1, 1861 -Oct. 31, 1862

Scope and Content Note

Map of the military district of New Mexico, per diem of legislative officers, New Mexico militia, New Mexico politics and elections, Indians (Apache & Navajo).

Of special note:

RI 2159: Libro de Matricula de la eleccíon. Sept. 1, 1862. Berrdillo County.
RI 1126 & 1127: Kit Carson. New Mexico Militia. Sept. 27, 1862.
Box 19:

Nov. 1, 1862 -Feb. 28, 1863

Scope and Content Note

Civil War in New Mexico, legislative affairs, applications and recommendations for militia officers.
RI 1193: Petition to President and Sec. Of War concerning Indian depradations by county. Jan. 26, 1863.
Box 20:

Mar. 1, 1863 -Sept. 30, 1863

Scope and Content Note

Territorial politics and government, including some election returns, Civil War in the West, military officers, and Navajo campaign.
Box 21:

Oct. 1, 1863 -June 30, 1864

Scope and Content Note

Territorial politics and government, Civil War in the West, and Indian affairs.
Box 22:

July 1, 1864 -Dec. 31, 1864

Scope and Content Note

Mexico, territorial politics and government, including election returns.
Box 23:

Jan. 1, 1865 -Mar. 31, 1866

Scope and Content Note

Territorial politics and government, including legislative actions and election returns, as well as Indian affairs.
Box 24:

Apr. 1, 1866 -Mar. 31, 1875

Scope and Content Note

Territorial politics and government, land holdings and population figures, and Indian affairs.

Of special note:

RI 1486: Report of a Comm. on the Indians of the Bosque Redondo. 1866.
RI 2151: Enumeration of inhabitants of County of Taos. 1866.
Box 25:

Apr. 1, 1875 -June 30, 1877

Scope and Content Note

Territorial politics and government.
Box 26:

July 1, 1877 -Aug. 31, 1878

Scope and Content Note

Territorial politics and government, Indian affairs, education, Lincoln County War, and Colfax County War.
Box 27:

Sept. 1, 1878 -Nov. 30, 1880

Scope and Content Note

Affairs in Lincoln County, Roman Catholicism in New Mexico, including the role of the Jesuits, public education, the penitentes, and Indian affairs.
Box 28:

Dec. 1, 1880 -Dec. 31, 1881

Scope and Content Note

Politics and government, Indians (Utes), education, land, mines and mineral resources (coal & iron), education, disturbance in Socorro.

Of special note:

RI 2234: Free public schools. c. 1880.
Box 29:

Jan. 1, 1882 -Nov. 30, 1882

Scope and Content Note

Biographical notes about various individuals compiled by William G. Ritch.
Box 30:

Dec. 1, 1882 -Dec. 31, 1883

Scope and Content Note

Biographical sketches, Indian affairs, Civil War, and R.S. McKenzie.
Box 31:

Jan. 1, 1884 -Dec. 31, 1900

Scope and Content Note

Lists of biographical notes by individuals and Revista Catholica -"A School Law" (March 9, 1884).
Box 32:

Newspaper clippings arranged chronologically.

Box 33:

Newspaper clippings arranged chronologically.

Box 34:

Oversize materials.