LOST TREASURES & OLD MINES
A New Mexico Federal Writers' Project Book
By Ann Lacy and Anne Valley-Fox, compilers and editors
Stories about mines and treasures from writers in the Federal Writers’ Project in New Mexico between 1936 and 1940.
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Between 1850 and 1912, Territorial New Mexico was home to a diverse mix of peoples. Contesting with those who had lived in the region for thousands of years, an array of newcomers arrived: Hispanic settlers, Anglo homesteaders, ranchers, cowboys, sheepherders, merchants, railroad men and—perhaps its chief adventurers—treasure hunters and prospectors.
Lost Treasures & Old Mines brims with stories of gold fever, copper ore and silver mining in the American Southwest. In 1541 when Coronado’s conquistadors arrived in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola, pre-Columbian natives had long been mining for turquoise. The stories in this collection tell of hidden Indian mines, treasures lost en route to Spain, gold heists on trains and stagecoaches, placer miners roaming the hills and chicanery among claim partners. Geronimo, Victorio, Billy the Kid and U.S. Calvary soldiers thread through these stories, along with lucky characters who strike the motherlode and hapless ones who lose their fortunes. The Lost Juan Mondragon Mine, The Dead Burro Mine, the Lost Mine of the Pedernal, the Adams Diggings, Elizabethtown and Pinos Altos—such places live as shining memories in these oral histories of fabulous fortunes lost and found.
Between 1936 and 1940, field workers in the New Deal Works Project Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project recorded authentic accounts of life in the early days of New Mexico. These original documents, published here for the first time as a story collection, reflect the conditions of the New Mexico Territory as played out in dynamic clashes between individuals and groups competing for control of the land and resources.
Lost Treasures & Old Mines, the third in the New Mexico Federal Writers’ Project Book Series, features a lively collection of stories and historic photographs of the era. The first and second books in the series are Outlaws & Desperados and Frontier Stories.
Ann Lacy, an artist and researcher/writer, has lived in New Mexico since 1979. She has worked for Project Crossroads, a not-for-profit educational resource group, in projects related to New Mexico history and culture. Participating in preserving open space and preservation efforts, she received a City of Santa Fe Heritage Preservation Award in 2000.
Anne Valley-Fox, co-editor of the New Mexico Federal Writers’ Project Book series and staff member with Project Crossroads, is a poet and writer. Her nonfiction books include Your Mythic Journey (co-author, Sam Keen). Her fourth collection of poetry, How Shadows Are Bundled, was published by University of New Mexico Press.
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