The Fray Angélico Chávez History Library collections consist primarily of books, manuscripts, and maps.
Catalogs, databases, finding aids, and other links are available in the Research section.
The collection of 45,000 books listed in the online catalog includes rare and fragile volumes, research texts, and general interest books. For example, the Rare Book Room houses colonial Spanish law books, nineteenth-century publications of Padre Martinez (from his Taos press), and first editions of many major New Mexico literary figures. In addition, the library contains rare volumes on Mesoamerican history (the Bourne Collection), thirty foreign language translations of Ben Hur (parts of which were written by Governor Lew Wallace during his residence in the Palace of the Governors), and a collection of over 4,000 titles about the history of the atomic bomb and the nuclear age.
The archives house a collection of 650 processed manuscripts. The continually growing collection is used by researchers as primary source material. Finding aids are available in the Rocky Mountain Online Archive.
The most prominent and frequently used manuscript collections are:
- Adolph Bandelier Collection
Bandelier was a pioneer Southwest anthropologist, archaeologist, historian
- Edgar L. Hewett Collection
Hewett was director of the Palace of the Governors, Laboratory of Anthropology, School of American Research, and founder of the Museum of New Mexico
- Martínez de Montoya Collection
Juan Martínez de Montoya served under Juan de Oñate, New Mexico’s first governor. Martínez de Montoya is considered the founder of the plaza de Santa Fe
- Mauro Montoya
Montoya was a collector of New Mexican documents covering Spanish colonial to the territorial period
- WPA New Mexico Collection
The depression-era program created a comprehensive folklore and folk history collection
- Ernest L. Blumenschein Collection
Blumenschein was an important Southwest artist from Taos, New Mexico
- Lincoln County Heritage Trust
This collection preserves the history Lincoln, New Mexico, and includes a Letter from Billy the Kid to Governor Lew Wallace
The Map Room houses an impressive collection of over 6,000 original, facsimile, and reproduction maps dating from the seventeenth century to the present. The majority of the collection is listed in the online catalog and a selection of historic maps are viewable in the Digital Collections.
Notable documents include:
- Le Nouveau Mexique, appele aussi Nouvelle Grenade et Marata. The Coronelli map of the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico was the best and most exact large-scale map of the region from the seventeenth century. The library owns a 1742 copy of the 1688 original made by Father Vincenzo Coronelli (1650–1718).
- Mapa de ella parte interna de la Nueba Mexico. The Bernardo Miera y Pacheco (1713–1785) map shows a portion of New Spain labeled with the Spanish settlements and Indian tribes known at the time. It remained the best map of the region for fifty years. The library copy (in museum storage) is oil on canvas, ca. 1760.
Teachers interested in using maps owned by the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library as instructional material, are welcome to request a copy in either CD or paper format of the 30-page guide Historic Maps as Teaching Tools: A Curriculum Guide for Grades 5–8.