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New Mexico State University
NMSU Library News

Grant Helps NMSU Library Preserve History of Agriculture

Date: 2000

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

The NMSU Library has received a $97,755 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities
(NEH)/United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN) to preserve publications documenting the
history of New Mexico agriculture and rural history. The grant is a collaborative effort with nine other
libraries in land grant institutions led by the Cornell University Library. According to agriculture librarian and
local project director Tim McKimmie, the NMSU Library, in cooperation with other libraries in the state,
will develop a comprehensive bibliography of published materials critical to the story of agriculture and rural
life in New Mexico published from1820 to 1945 and preserve the most important of these materials.

The project is intended to advance the goals of the USAIN’s National Preservation Program for Agricultural
Literature and the national preservation program administered by the NEH to preserve the intellectual
content of deteriorating research resources.

The project will employ a four person scholarly review panel to rank titles according to their priority as
research resources and will target for preservation the most important 30% of a universe of approximately
5,000 volumes. Once the ranked listing has been compiled, the Library will organize preservation microfilming
activities consistent with national standards. When filming and quality checking are completed,
cataloging according to national bibliographic standards will be done, and the catalog records will be
entered in OCLC, an international bibliographic database. Microfilm masters will be housed at the National
Agricultural Library, and the duplicate master and one circulating copy of each publication will be added to
the Library’s collection and made available to Library users.

McKimmie states that the materials to be identified and preserved include books, government documents,
extension publications, newspapers, farming journals, theses and dissertations. These materials include
historical information on the New Mexico’s crops such as chile, alfalfa, cotton, pecans, and grain crops, as
well as the cattle, sheep, and dairy industries. Since the history of New Mexico’s agriculture is also the
story of scarce water resources, sources of information on acequias (small irrigation ditches) and dam
construction are also included.

The literature of agriculture and rural life in New Mexico ranges from reminiscences of times gone by to
ranching and rodeos, struggles between the poor and land barons, changes wrought by railroads and dam
building, and the effect of disasters such as the dust bowl. Many of the books to be reviewed during this
project deal with rural life in the West. My Life on the Frontier by Miguel Antonio Otero, Blackboard
by Sophie Poe, and No Life for a Lady by Agnes Morley Cleaveland are examples of this type of

For more information on the project, please contact McKimmie at or 646-7483.


January 1, 2000 Categories: Migrated Grant Helps NMSU Library Preserve History of Agriculture