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New Mexico State University

University Library News Release

Date: January 31, 2008


CONTACT: Jeanette Smith, NMSU Library, (575) 646-7492,

NMSU Library Begins to Process Domenici Archives

Nearly 2,000 boxes filled with documents and memorabilia chronicling the legacy of U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici are now housed in the New Mexico State University Library. Additional boxes are expected to arrive at NMSU later this year as the university works to build the Domenici Archive collection.

Late last year, the Library received 1,923 linear feet of printed material, enough to stretch more than a quarter-mile high if the single sheets of paper were stacked on top of one another. The documents are currently being stored at Branson Library in a controlled access area. In all, the initial load of documents weighed approximately thirty tons. It took three moving vans and two and a half days to load, transfer and unload the shipment.

"These documents and the information they contain are incredibly valuable," said Elizabeth Titus, Dean of the NMSU Library. "As a research library, we are engaged in preserving historical documents which reflect on the history of New Mexico and the Southwest. Senator Domenici's papers clearly represent the legacy of one of the most prominent and influential senators in our state's history."

The university expects to receive additional printed materials and electronic documents as well as memorabilia including awards and photos from the senator's offices in New Mexico and Washington, D.C. The additional documents could be enough to fill eight semi-tractor trailers. Library staff members have been working with the senator's staff to get a better idea of how many documents to expect.

"We're absolutely delighted to have these papers here. As an archivist, someone could wait his entire lifetime to see a collection like this," said Stephen Hussman, head of the NMSU Library's Archives and Special Collections Department. "Senator Domenici has done a lot for the state. We are fortunate to have a collection like this."

Right now, the Library staff is working to provide the necessary space for the additional documents. Hussman said the Domenici collection will be one of the largest archives collections at the NMSU Library, but he believes they are more than prepared to handle the volume. Once all the papers arrive, the Library will begin processing the documents and sorting them into categories. The university plans to hire a political papers archivist and another staff person to work on this project.

"These are primary research documents. We have a goal to make as much of the information available to the public as possible. If we don't attempt to capture these documents, this history would be lost," Titus said.

Eventually, NMSU plans to construct a building named for Domenici on campus where the Library can house the Domenici Archives and make many of the documents available to researchers and scholars. The building and a tranquility garden named for the senator's wife, Nancy, will be located between the Business Complex and University Avenue.

"These papers would certainly draw researchers to our campus who are interested in the senator or the events around him," Titus said.

The NMSU Library already houses a number of political papers, including those of former New Mexico governor and current NMSU Business Dean Garrey Carruthers and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall.