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Facsimile of the Original 1921 Second Edition
By L. Bradford Prince

New Foreword by Richard Melzer, PhD


L. Bradford Prince was one of seven territorial governors who attended the January 15th inauguration of New Mexico’s first state governor, William C. McDonald, in New Mexico’s long-awaited statehood year, 1912. Within a year of that auspicious occasion, Prince published A Concise History of New Mexico, a condensation and revision of his Historical Sketches of 1883. His purpose in 1913 was to provide a “little volume” that might be of use in the now-required teaching of New Mexico history in the state’s public schools. The passage of a public school bill during his term as governor had been considered an important step toward the attainment of statehood. The publication of a state history textbook was meant to be an important contribution to New Mexico public education once statehood had been achieved.

But within a year of its publication, Prince affirmed that the length and price of the already brief Concise History was excessive for most public schools and students. While still recommending A Concise History for teachers and most adults, Prince offered an even more focused, 174-page work, entitled The Student’s History of New Mexico.

Now, instead of using history to argue the case for New Mexico statehood, Prince’s chief goal was to use history to help create pride in New Mexico for the “clear-eyed, pure hearted, noble minded youth” of the nation’s newest state. These future citizens could take pride in both their past, “the most interesting of all American state histories,” and in the special qualities of individual groups whose collective story was “unrivaled in ancient or modern times.” Convinced that The Student’s History had served its purpose well, Prince later updated his book with an additional ten pages about New Mexico’s first few years of statehood. This second edition of The Student’s History appeared in 1921, a year before Prince’s death, and this is the edition Sunstone Press is publishing in its Southwest Heritage Series.

The second edition of The Student’s History is also offered as a brief history of New Mexico of value to the general reader sophisticated enough to recognize its biases, but astute enough to appreciate its many facts. If this unique telling of New Mexico’s past adds to our pride in being New Mexicans—or helps others to better understand New Mexico—then L. Bradford Prince will have achieved his purpose long after he departed his beloved New Mexico, once a striving territory and now a productive member of the nation’s family of states.

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