Exploring the Past, Defining the Future

      December 18, 1010
      Exploring the Past, Defining the Future
      The Santa Fe New Mexican and the Cuartocentenario
      It's been this paper's pleasure to observe—and take part in—Santa Fe's 400th anniversary events. There were many excellent ones, and the community's cooperation in staging them was both impressive and encouraging; impressive in that the organizers exercised good taste in reflecting such a long history, and encouraging in that their work offers great promise for future commemorations and projects.
      The New Mexican, in a roundup of the year's coverage of events and historic-background pieces, has published Santa Fe: Its 400th Year—Exploring the Past. Defining the Future.
      It's the work of many, including some familiar bylines: Sandra Baltazar Martínez, Dennis J. Carroll, Robert Nott, Anne Constable, Staci Matlock, Steve Terrell, Tom Sharpe, Julie Ann Grimm, Kate Nash and Phaedra Haywood, as well as Managing Editor Rob Dean and Editor/Publisher Robin Martin. Their work is bolstered by contributions from historian Estevan Rael-Gálvez and author Jason Strykowski, along with many others. The lineup of cultural leaders they interviewed is an impressive one—and what they sought to accomplish was more than a restatement of our region's rich folklore and history; much of the writing aims forward from Santa Fe's firm foundation.
      But our efforts would amount to nothing without the many historical works cited in this book's pages—and as an inspiration for all of it, there's no one like Marc Simmons, whose historical column we're honored to carry on our Saturday pages.
      The photography is a striking combination of old and new; New Mexican photographers Clyde Mueller, Natalie Guillén, Jane Phillips and Luis Sánchez Saturno, along with leading freelancers, portrayed today's interview subjects, while the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives made many of its fascinating historical pictures available.
      The New Mexican, of course, has been around for only 160 or so of Santa Fe's 400 years—but generations of us have done our best to reflect the events, the personalities, the achievements and the skullduggery of this community's comparatively modern era.
      In her foreword, Santa Fe author Carmella Padilla refers liberally to another of our community's histories, Santa Fe: The Autobiography of a Southwestern Town by the late and legendary Oliver La Farge, whose column for years ran on these pages. In the preface to that work, he makes a telling, if overly modest admission: While historians may turn to The New Mexican for items of local fact and interest, the newspaper "on the whole, its material uncorrected, is a poor source of history."
      Padilla makes a good case for this and other papers as a good starting point for unearthing "a representative and comprehensive history." The editorial "we" agree—but as we so often have to remind readers demanding ever more from us in terms of encyclopedic pieces they'd like to see from us, or write themselves, we're a daily paper, a small daily paper, doing our darnedest just to keep up with events down the street and around the world. To the extent that our archives help put history in perspective, tanto mejor—but we're neither a scholarly review nor a history book, plenty of which may be found in the Southwest Room of the public library. This book is the closest we are going to get.
      We are, certainly, to some extent, chroniclers of events—and Santa Fe's cuartocentenario has been a great one in terms of academic and cultural advancement. We're honored to have worked with our community's Sunstone Press in producing Santa Fe: Its 400th Year.