by Don Bullis
852 pages, 856 photos
$48.95 softcover (ISBN 1-890689-62-9)
$62.95 hardcover (ISBN 1-890689-87-2)
Eric Hoffer Book Awards, 2013
Grand Prize Winner, Reference, "New Mexico Historical Biographies," by Don Bullis
An Official Centennial Project supported by The NM Dept. of Cultural Affairs
New Mexico Historical Biographies is an encyclopedia of the people of New Mexico—the 47th State in the Union. It is a cross-section of people who have had an influence on life—and sometimes death—in the Land of Enchantment, from the time before the first Europeans arrived around 1540 until today. There are entries for over 1,500 people in New Mexico’s history. Possibly the most important book on New Mexico history since Ralph Emerson Twitchell — 100 years ago. This volume builds on Volumes I & II of New Mexico Biographical Dictionary.
“I am almost certain everyone who reads it will learn something new about New Mexico history and enjoy immensely themselves in the bargain.”—Rick Hendricks, New Mexico State Historian
“Invaluable to historians, history writers, and readers of all sorts.”— Mike Stevenson, President, Historical Society of New Mexico
The original series — New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary (volumes I & II) received many awards and reviews.
2009 LANSING B. BLOOM HISTORY AWARD, HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF NEW MEXICO
2008 WINNER, NEW MEXICO BOOK AWARDS
2007 WINNER, NEW MEXICO BOOK AWARDS
2007 FINALIST, BEST BOOKS USA BOOK NEWS
2007 BRONZE MEDALIST, REFERENCE BOOK, IPPY AWARDS
2007 FINALIST, REFERENCE BOOK, INDIE EXCELLENCE BOOK AWARDS
2007 FIRST PLACE NONFICTION, BIOGRAPHY, NEW MEXICO PRESS WOMEN COMMUNICATIONS AWARD
Selected as 18th Most Popular Biography/New Mexico, 35th Most Popular Biography/Reference, and 55th Most Popular Biography/Regional US on Amazon.com (11/10/08)
This first volume in a series was a recent finalist in the INDIE Excellence Book Awards. New Mexico historian Don Bullis has researched and excellently compiled so much history of his great state that he had to publish the resulting information in volumes. ... The book is organized in an easy alphabetical fashion, with several photographs included among the many biographies. ... This first volume is a home-run for Bullis and the history of New Mexico. -- Round-Up Magazine, Western Writers of America, April 2008
This volume will be a welcome first-step reference tool for students of New Mexico history -- New Mexico Magazine, March 2008
Both Fun and useful!
Don Bullis, well-known for his knowledge of New Mexico history, has recently written "New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary 1540-1980," an entertaining book featuring a panoply of interesting people--some famous, some infamous, some obscure. According to Bullis, the only qualification for inclusion is that the person has to have "left a mark on the state, for good or ill." In this first volume of two--or possibly a trilogy that will eventually highlight 600 people--thumbnail sketches range from the contemporary newspaper editor Mark Acuff (1940-1994), who I knew, to the 17th century Juan Zuni, a "Hopi Impersonator/Philanderer, a Santa Fe Thief," who I didn't know.
It's fun to randomly flip through the pages and peruse the fascinating tidbits on famous people such as Billy the Kid (Lincoln County's outlaw and a "thief of the first order") or the not-so-well-known Mildred Clark "Madame Millie" Cusey (a southern New Mexico brothel owner) who discovered she could make more money as a prostitute than as a Harvey Girl.
But it is not just fun to read. It's well researched. With sources, an extensive bibliography, and names indexed both alphabetically and grouped by exploits, the book is a useful reference tool that belongs on the shelves of southwestern writers, historians, genealogists, and anyone else who has an interest in the Land of Enchantment.
Bullis has written three non-fiction books and two novels. He is also the editor and publisher for the New Mexico Historical Notebook at donbullis.biz.--Larry Greenly, abqArts, August 2007
New book out about New Mexicans
One of my favorite regional authors happens to be Don Bullis, a Southern New Mexico historian. And his latest book, a softcover item of 300 pages is titled "New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary: 1540-1980." (Rio Grande Books, Albuquerque).
Bullis isn't sure how many volumes there will be, although he assumes at least three. Nevertheless, Volume 1 covers 600 or so entries ranging from A to Z, so Bullis obviously missed a few this first time around, but not to worry ... he will catch up in forthcoming editions.
Even so, 600 fascinating personalities the first time around is a whopping number of figures of significance, and each gets at least a paragraph and usually a picture.
One is Robert A. Allison, better known historically as Clay Allison, a gunfighter who killed roughly 15 men, later buried near Pecos, Texas after he fell off a freight wagon.
Another was Joseph A. Ancheta, a refugee whose family fled Mexico during the 1850s. He graduated from Notre Dame, served in the New Mexico state legislature, but was slain by shots fired through a window probably intended for political boss Tom Catron.
And speaking of Thomas Benton Catron, a Santa Fe Ring member and long-time political boss of New Mexico, his biography shows he owned about 2 million acres and had an interest in another 4 million. Catron County, the state's largest, is named after him. He and Albert B. Fall were the only two U. S. senators from New Mexico to be elected by the state Legislature (1911).
Nationally known historian Thomas Chavez gets nice coverage, Bullis pointing out that in 1997 he received the Distinguished History Award Medal from the Daughters of the American Revolution. John Chisum, the Cattle King of New Mexico, is covered, as is John Milton Chivington, who saved New Mexico from occupation during the Civil War.
Nor does Bullis miss Erna Fergusson, the "Grand Dame of New Mexico Letters," nor Henry Flipper, the first black man to graduate from West Point, a man who served and fought during the Indian Wars. (Flipper also lived quite a while in El Paso, during this period becoming an agent for New Mexico Sen. Fall.)
Col. Albert Jennings Fountain, whose death in White Sands is still mysterious, is covered well, as is train robber Black Jack Ketchum.
Nearby New Mexico rancher Oliver Milton Lee gets good coverage, as do Gen. Ranald Mackenzie, Susan Shelby Magoffin, James Magoffin, a few Lincoln County War figures such as Henry Antrim, alias Henry McCarty, alias Billy the Kid.
Interestingly, even Fred Nolan, born and raised in England and still living there, gets good coverage, primarily because of his books relating to New Mexico's Lincoln County War. And of course, many participants in that war also get described.
Even old John Selman, best known as the slayer of John Wesley Hardin, and buried along with Hardin (although in a different area) in El Paso's Concordia Cemetery, is mentioned.
For regional readers, "New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary" is a keeper.--Leon Metz, historian, El Paso Times
From Smokey Bear to the вЂњSundance KidвЂќ from Pablita Velarde, Jake Viarial to Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici, New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary is a must read for anyone interested about individuals who influenced our stateвЂ™s legacy. Historian Don Bullis compiled and wrote New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary and stated that this book represents вЂњa cross section of people who have had an influence on life вЂ“ and sometimes death вЂ“ in the Land of Enchantment.вЂќ Hot off the press from Rio Grande Books вЂ“ publishers of TradiciГіn Revista Magazine - I found the book packed with a wealth of fascinating historical tidbits. New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary is organized alphabetically by last name and includes a short biographical sketch of each individual listed. In addition, some black and white photographs are included throughout the book.
The earliest entry begins with Etevanico, a Moroccan slave, who is recognized as the first non-Indian to enter Pueblo Country in 1539. Although as New Mexicans we recognize the historical legacy of indigenous leaders and presence long before European arrival, Estevanico is a prominent figure because he served as a guide for Fray Marcos de Niza who set out from New Spain in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola. While flipping through the pages I recognized many prominent leaders as well as not so prominent leaders that I would not normally think about when it comes to remembering New Mexico's influences. For example, some of these include Dennis Weaver, who starred in the long running television series Gunsmoke. Weaver also starred in McCloud as a Taos Marshall named Sam McCloud. Others mentioned are Television Actor Bill Dailey, most known for his role in I Dream of Jeannie, who retired in Albuquerque and the Rhinestone Cowboy Glen Campbell who spent time in New Mexico and performed in several Albuquerque venues. I was delighted to read about the legendary Buddy Holly and his New Mexico connection. Holly worked with Norman Petty in Clovis and recorded That'll Be the Day, which attracted the attention of Decca Records.
Among U.S. Presidents, Herbert Hoover is noted for signing the legislation that created Carlsbad Caverns National Park in 1930. And, Abraham Lincoln is noted as making a number of appointments including that of Henry Connelly as Governor of New Mexico. Among Pueblo people President Lincoln is revered for giving each of the Pueblo Governors the Lincoln Canes which were recognized as a symbol of sovereignty in the 1860s, which continues to present day. The issuing of canes is not mentioned in the book. And more importantly, readers should remember the biographical sketches are not meant to be exhaustive but serve as citations for further research.
From the previous publications by Don Bullis on the Old West it is not a surprise to read about outlaws such as Davy Crockett and William Henry Bonney aka вЂњBilly the Kid.вЂќ But, it is quite fitting in New Mexico history and modern day influences to read about folks like the legendary Al Hurricane, Albuquerque Astronaut Sidney Gutierrez and the auto racing Unser Family. New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary has a good overview of what I call the classic notables. These include PoPay, leader of the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, Anthropologist Adolphe Bandelier, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Maria Martinez, San Ildefonso Potter, U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez, Rudolfo Anaya and the late Storyteller and Linguist Esther Martinez of Ohkay Owingeh.
In the Introduction, Bullis states that this is not a complete work and not all historically significant New Mexicans are to be found in these pages. This is Volume I in what will hopefully become a series of notable individuals who influenced New Mexico. This book represents a significant step to capture notable leaders, artists, outlaws and educators. A future publication should ideally build upon this and include biographical sketches of those who shaped New Mexico history like the first woman Governor of Isleta Pueblo, Verna Teller, and Dr. Beryl Blue Spruce the first Pueblo Indian physician,as well as inclusion of U.S. President Richard M. Nixon who signed over Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo in 1970. Regardless, New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary offers a valuable step for students interested in pursuing further research about the famous and infamous people who influenced our state. This first volume should and must be read for those interested in New MexicoвЂ™s historical and cultural legacy. -- Matthew J. Martinez, Ohkay Owingeh Rio Grande Sun, March 29, 2007
Dictionary Illuminates Noted New Mexicans
At last a dictionary I can read without being accused of spending time at a pursuit my wife finds laughable.
I infrequently open a tattered Random House unbridged dictionary, flip through the pages, look up words strange to me and learn their definitions.
Don Bullis has come to the rescue. He's researched and edited the first volume of a biographical dictionary containing people who lived in New Mexico— or whose names are linked to what was a territory and what is today the state— over a period of 440 years.
There are the famous and infamous, the historically noteworthy and those worthy of obscurity.
The famous and infamous include people you'd expect to be here— William Henry Bonney (aka Billy the Kid,) 16th century Spanish explorer Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, mountain man/soldier Christopher "Kit" Carson, writer-historian Manuel Ezequiel (Fray Angélico) Chávez, Ohkay Owingeh storyteller Esther Martinez and San Ildefonso Pueblo potter Maria Martinez.
Two bits says most readers probably haven't heard of many others in the book's listings.
Julian "Paddy" Martinez? The book says he was a Navajo from McKinley County whose tombstone refers to him as a uranium pioneer.
Or John Milne? He was superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools from 1911 to 1956. Milne Stadium is named for him. His APS tenure, Bullis writes, is reportedly the longest of any superintendent of any larger school district in the country.
Or José Maria "Joe" Gonzales? After serving as Guadalupe County sheriff in the mid-1940s, he was night marshal for the town of Santa Rosa. Thirteen days into that night job he was stabbed and killed.
You'll find plenty of lawmen in this dictionary; many names Bullis draws from his own compilation "New Mexico's Finest."
Bullis gives an explanation for his approach in organizing the new book. "My purpose was to include an eclectic mix of the people that I've found interesting, and significant, over nearly 40 years of daily reading and research into New Mexico's past," he writes in his introduction.
Bullis promises a second volume and perhaps a third to make the effort more inclusive -- David Steinberg, Albuquerque Journal November 12, 2006
Bullis is well known for his knowledge of New Mexico history, which he shares weekly as editor and publisher for the New Mexico Historical Notebook e-zine www.donbullis.biz. Following and expanding the tradition of his earlier 99 New Mexicans ... and a few other folk, this first volume of a planned multi-volume set features 600 New Mexicans from the famous (the Unser family) to the infamous (Billy the Kid) to the historic (Lucien Maxwell) and the unsung (Henry Love) with the only basic qualification, according to the author's introduction, being that "they left a mark on the state, for good or ill." Indexed and annotated to serve as a research tool, this book is equally interesting to those interested in dipping into New Mexico's unique history. -- POSH Magazine, Fall/Holiday 2006
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK
Tony Hillerman, noted author:
Everyone interested in the cast of characters who gave New Mexico and the rest of our high-dry Western Mountain country it’s different character will want to add New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary to their library. It’s the book we have been hoping Don Bullis would write and it’s even better than we expected.
Richard Melzer, President, Historical Society of New Mexico:
Don Bullis has written the reference book every student of New Mexico history has hoped for, but none has had the time, energy, and devotion to create. As with all truly useful books, copies of New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary will prove their value over many years by their cracked spines, well-worn pages, and lack of settled dust on any part of their exteriors!
Sandy Rea, Publisher, Rio Rancho Observer:
Don Bullis’s latest is yet another stellar historical work. The alphabetical format makes this a great reference piece as well as a truly entertaining read.
Deb Slaney, Curator, Albuquerque Museum:
Bullis crosses race, culture, gender, and geography to present us with Volume 1 of his dictionary, a must-have for New Mexico’s museums and libraries.
Fred Nolan, noted historian:
Eclectic, opinionated, and hugely readable, this is a great big kid-in-a-candy-store of a book in which you are guaranteed to find lots and lots of toothsome treats. Always interesting and frequently surprising, Bullis’ book—and its proposed successors—will doubtless evolve into an indispensable source for readers and researchers alike.
Elvis E. Fleming, Professor of History, Emeritus & Archivist:
Don Bullis’ latest contribution to the historical literature of New Mexico is a very rich and convenient source for historians, students, genealogists, and casual readers. This is the first of a series of such books, which together will no doubt prove to be the definitive starting place for much historical research. This attractive book has numerous photos to accompany some of the 500-plus thumbnail biographical sketches of everybody who was anybody in New Mexico or had anything to do with New Mexico during the years 1540 to 1980. The people whose lives make up this book were from every historical period, every culture and ethnicity, every occupation, every corner of the state. Later editions will close the gap of those not included in the initial volume. Extensive bibliographies and indexes contribute to the value of this book as a research tool.
Jan Devereaux, Award Winning writer of Old West nonfiction:
He’s done it again! From A to Z! The prolific Don Bullis has gifted all of us fascinated by the Land of Enchantment’s history, culture, and her people—past and present. This compilation of New Mexico’s very finest and, arguably, a few of her very worst, citizens and newsmakers is a captivating read. And the best part? It’s all true. Bullis’ New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary will pique interests and open doorways for students, storytellers, and scholars alike.
Bob Alexander, author of Six-Guns & Single-Jacks: A History of Silver City and Southwestern New Mexico:
Don Bullis’ New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary, 1540-1980 is a winner. Drawing from the well of his law enforcement experiences and researching talents Bullis has, once again, handily wrapped the historic rope around those wanting a peek at New Mexico’s stirring past. He’s pulled it tight with hard facts and a witty writing style. Delightfully informative.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Don Bullis is the author of five non-fiction books and two novels. The editor and publisher of the New Mexico Historical Notebook and on the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of New Mexico, he is a member of the Westerners International, Western Writers of America, Western History Association, National Association of Outlaw & Lawman History, Albuquerque Historical Society, Sandoval County Historical Society, and Southwest Writers.
Bullis won three awards in the 2007 New Mexico Book Awards — Finalist Award in Mystery Novel for Bullseye, Finalist in New Mexico History for New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume I, and Winner in New Mexico book for New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary, Volume I.
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