The process by which these records made their way from the Palace of the Governors in 1854 to the New Mexico State Records Center and Archives a century later requires us to follow the development of two separate record groups which evolved from the documents Davis described.
The first of these is the record group known as the , or SANM I.
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State Records Center and Archives Ground Breaking: By Robert Torrez On the State of New Mexico held a ground breaking for the construction of a long awaited State Records Center and Archives building in Santa Fe.
Through most of 1849 Vigil kept Domingo Fernández and Antonio Vigil busy with the "arrangement of the ancient archives." This work culminated in what is commonly referred to as the , a listing and description of more than ten thousand individual items and document groupings. John Grenier, appointed territorial secretary on 30 August 1852, also took steps to protect the old archives. Davis, who served as territorial secretary from 1854 to 1857, gave us the earliest account, providing more than a general description of where and under what conditions these archives were kept.
One of the first tasks he undertook was to devote time to "wrapping up old documents..preservation and having them cleaned." W. In his book, , Davis describes an 1854 tour of the Palace of the Governors and its various offices.
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The 1850 Enabling Act, under which New Mexico's territorial government was established, assigned the responsibility for government records to the Secretary of the Territory.Because of the nearly complete destruction of New Mexico’s records for the period 1598 through 1679, we can only assume that the manner in which records were kept was similar to other Spanish Colonial entities.As with the other provinces of New Spain which were under the authority of the viceroy New Mexico was administered by an appointed governor who as had both civil and military authority over the non-ecclesiastic affairs of the province.Several sources estimate that at the time of the American occupation in 1846 these archives consisted of approximately 168,000 documents. Following General Stephen Watts Kearny's occupation of New Mexico in 1846 the men he appointed to establish a civil government under American rule were confronted with more than the basic problem of maintaining the records of a new government.They also had to decide what to do with the thousands of documents accumulated during the previous two and a half centuries of Spanish and Mexican rule.