From the Collection

Las Vegas NM shave permit pin NMHM/DCA 11501.45

Shave permit pins from the Teddy Roosevelt Centennial celebrations in Las Vegas, NM (1958), and a shave permit from the Clovis, NM 50th anniversary celebration, 1957.
Shaving permit pins such as these were sold as a way to raise money for centennial or anniversary celebrations in many towns across the country. As part of the fundraising effort, citizens could register for a beard-growing contest. If someone did not want to participate in the contest, they could purchase a “shave permit.” This jokingly gave one “permission to shave.” The proceeds from the sale of the permits and registration fees for the contests were put towards the town’s celebration fund.
Why a beard-growing contest? Often, the Brothers of the Brush would spearhead the fundraising efforts. This organization got its name because they sought to emulate the towns’ founders. Many of the towns were founded in the Victorian period when beards and mustaches were in vogue. The Brothers of the Brush decided to capitalize on this look and encouraged beard-growing as a way to raise money.
NMHM/DCA 11501.45 and 2014.53.159

Shave permit pin from the Clovis 50th Anniversary celebration in 1957 NMHM/DCA 2014.53.159

1st Wednesday Lecture: Blurred Borders: Apache Acculturation & Adaptation During the Last Decades of Spanish Rule

This month’s Friends of History 1st Wednesday Lecture was delivered by Dr. Matthew Babcock, Associate Professor of History at the University of North Texas at Dallas. The streaming of the video was followed by a livestreamed Q&A which is at the bottom of this post.


This lecture will focus on the forgotten Chihene Apache farming experiment at Sabinal, New Mexico from 1790-1795 by placing it in the context of Apache-Spanish relations and Spanish Indian policy. In response to drought and military pressure, thousands of Apaches de paz settled near Spanish presidios after 1786 in a system of reservation-like establecimientos, or settlements, stretching from Laredo to Tucson. On paper the establecimientos constituted the earliest and most extensive set of military-run reservations in the Americas. Yet, Apaches de paz typically exhibited mixed loyalties, sometimes serving Spanish interests, and other times subverting them, demonstrating the limits of indigenous assimilation into imperial states.

Matthew Babcock is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Texas at Dallas and the author of Apache Adaptation to Hispanic Rule, published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. He earned his Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University, his M.A. from the University of New Mexico, and his B.A. from Dartmouth College. His research focuses on the history of North American borderlands, American Indians, and the colonial Southwest. Dr Babcock can be reached at: Matthew.Babcock@untdallas.edu

Friends of History is a volunteer support group for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mission is to raise funds and public awareness for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. Friends of History fulfills its mission by offering high quality public history programs, including the First Wednesday Lecture Series. For more information, or to join the Friends of History, go to friends-of-history.org or email us here.

From the Collection

Hand carved and painted brooch, History Collection NMHM/DCA 2017.004.020

Kunitaro Takeuchi (1887–1972) was a Japanese native who migrated to Hawai’i in his early twenties, right around the turn of the century where he married his wife Hana, had a family, and worked as a photographer. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, signed on 19 February 1942, authorized the apprehension and incarceration of people believed to be conspirators and sympathizers to the Axis powers during World War II. This order primarily targeted people of Japanese, Italian, and German descent, many of them being US citizens.  In May 1942, the Takeuchi family was forced out of Hawai’i as “Group 3” of Nisei and Issei (first- and second-generation Japanese Americans) identified for holding at internment camps. Kunitaro Takeuchi, then in his mid-fifties, was imprisoned at the Santa Fe Internment Camp for the duration of the war. The 80-acre Department of Justice camp, where St. Francis Drive and West Alameda Street are now located, held 4555 men and operated from 1942-1946, nearly a year after the war was over.

Wooden sculpture, History Collection NMHM/DCA 2017.004.024 

There, Kunitaro Takeuchi carved these pieces, among many others, and collected cigar boxes full of rocks from the camp area. He received many rocks as gifts from others at the camp as well. The New Mexico History Museum is honored to care for these pieces of history that remind us about the sacrifices Japanese Americans made during this period of unjust persecution in our national history. 

Here is a June 2019 article about the Japanese Internment camps in New Mexico from Pasatiempo.

From the Collection

Slim Green saddle, History Collections NMHM/DCA 2012.023.005

Did you know?
The New Mexico History Museum has seventy saddles in our collection that range from the 17th through the 20th century. Some of them were pack saddles meant to carry heavy loads, while some of them were made for show. We have saddles made in the colonial Mexican tradition, some made by Native people, and some created by well-known saddle makers, such as this one by Austin “Slim” Green (1916-2008).

This hand-tooled leather stock saddle was made in the 1970s for John Egan of the Rancho Encantado (previously Rancho del Monte) area near Santa Fe.

Originally from Oklahoma, Slim Green moved to northern New Mexico following World War II and further refined his talents working with leather. Slim Green was a co-founder of the Rodeo de Santa Fe, taught Tesuque elementary kids leather craft, and produced custom-made saddles for people all over the country. We’re lucky to have one of his saddles!

You can see more of Slim Green’s work at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, where his workshop and tools permanently reside.

Check out this 2012 post on Slim Green and our beloved Cowboys exhibition. 

Making History: In a New Mexico Garden

Making History is the New Mexico History Museum’s monthly series of hands-on activities that further illuminates the Museum’s collections as well as New Mexico’s heritage of historic technologies and crafts. The Making History Program is family friendly and open to everyone.

With the Museum being closed due to the COVID-19 mitigation efforts, this month’s Making History Program has gone online in two parts.

Join museum Educator Melanie LaBorwit as she demonstrates how to make pots for your seedlings using a newspaper in Part 1, and in Part 2, Melanie will show you how to give nourishment to your feathered neighbors by making a bird feeder from an orange and some twine.

Enjoy these activites to enhance your garden and check back next month for a new making opportunity.

Making History: In A New Mexico Garden Part 1
Making History: In A New Mexico Garden Part 2

From the Collection

awl case (1990.414.010a), bone awl (1990.414.010b)

This Mescalero Apache beaded hide awl case, ca. 1880, was used to store the bone awl. The awl was used as a tool to weave basketry, and or sew glass trade beads on hide. It was owned by the Southwest photographer, Ben Wittick, who used objects such as this one, as props in his studio where he photographed Native Americans in the late 19th century. Visit this artifact at the New Mexico History Museum’s exhibition Looking Back, when it reopens to the public and in the meantime, stay safe.

From the Collection

NMHM 928.45

What are you wearing these days?
With social distancing in progress, most of us are working from home in our sweatpants or other athleisure wear. Take a look at what a Victorian lady may have worn when at home during the day. This 1870s dress has a taffeta bodice and skirt ensemble lined with crinoline underneath to give it fullness. This dress is typical of the period with layers of ruffles, pleats and gathers.


History Collections NMHM 928.45

NMHM 928.45