Resources & Research

Drawing by Harry Benjamin, Museum Founder
Use of the Museum Research Library will be by appointment only and will be limited to days and times Research Volunteers are available. Please call 575-538-5921 ext. #10 for more information and to request an available time and day. Contact our Research Specialist.
Resource materials include:
Research Library resource materials are being moved to the Silver City Public Library where the public can access the materials with help from staff. Press Release
  • Books and periodicals
  • Vertical files - biography and historical topics
  • Silver City newspapers card file index (1873-1886)
  • Silver City newspapers on microfilm (1873-1943)
  • Newspaper citations (into the 1920s)
  • Photo Archive: albums with print copies
  • Telephone and city directories
  • Local Records: A selection were microfilmed in 1999 (with a NM Historical Records Advisory Board grant)
Research services include:
  • Photo copies of our library materials are available to the public at 25 cents per page
  • Name search in our newspaper index, history database, and biographical files
  • Copies of newspaper items (i.e., obituaries) if the month and year can be furnished
  • Referrals to other archives or agencies that may be able to provide information
No fee is charged for the basic services described above, aside from copy fees (25 cents per page) plus postage and handling. Donations are always welcome! Become a member of the Silver City Museum Society to stay in touch with the Museum's local history activities.
What we CAN'T do
We can't do extended searches into unindexed materials, provide lookups at locations other than the Museum, do blind newspaper searches, or fill out family trees. Please allow several weeks for a response, as we receive many requests for information!
Photo Orders
Digital prints from most images in the Museum photoarchive are available through our digital lab, starting from $8.00 for a 5x7 print. A photo-use contract, signed at the time the order is placed, grants one-time use for specifically requested publication or other purposes; other restrictions and credit line requirements apply. Photo order fees and any applicable shipping fees are payable in advance; allow 30 days for delivery. Contact Jackie Becker
Photo Archive
The Museum has an extensive collection of photographs, mostly ranging from the 1870s-1940s, showing views from the Silver City area. These are now being cataloged into a computer indexing system. The 800-image John Harlan Collection is available for viewing in the local history research library; albums with copy prints of another 2,000+ images from the photoarchive are gradually being added. Original images from the entire 15,000-image collection may be viewed by appointment. Contact Jackie Becker
  • Mostly ranging from the 1870s-1940s
  • Views from the Silver City/southwest New Mexico area
  • The 800-image John Harlan Collection in the local history research library
  • Approximately 250 copy prints of images showing Fort Bayard (mostly the early period as a government hospital, ca. 1900-1918)
  • Tyrone, New Mexico (ca. 1915-1921)
  • Approximately 2,000 images from the Percy Pogson collection (early 1900s views by a former TB sanatorium patient)
  • O.L. Hinger collection of local portraits, business views and snapshots from the 1930s and 1940s (digitized as part of a grant project through the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board)
The Museum's entire 15,000-image collection is being digitized and made available to visitors in the research library. Currently, viewing of original photos is by advance appointment only.
Microfilmed under a grant from the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board, some of these records have been indexed in databases that can be searched:
Indexed
  • Warrant, License and Fee book for Grant County
    one ledger covering years from 1869 to 1871
  • O.C. Hinman funeral home records
    five ledgers covering period from January 1911 to June 1938
  • Grant County Criminal and Civil Dockets for Precinct 22 (Tyrone)
    two ledgers, July 1914 - December 1916 and January 1917 - November 1917
  • Grant County Justice Court warrant book for Precinct 13 (Santa Rita)
    one ledger for years 1901 to 1910
  • Probate and Chancery Court records
    one ledger for years 1874 to 1883
Not Indexed
  • Pinos Altos Store records:
    30 ledgers covering the period from January 1888 to March 1897
  • Town of Silver City license books:
    two ledgers covering period from August 1902 to April 1914
  • Town of Silver City fine books:
    two ledgers covering period from 1900 to May 1914
  • Silver City Board of Education Minutes:
    one ledger covering the period from January 1920 to June 1932
  • Silver City tax and license collections:
    one ledger covering period from March 1900 to April 1909
  • Tax sales for Town of Silver City:
    four pages of one ledger covering the year 1900
  • Register for Hotel Owen, Santa Rita, New Mexico:
    one ledger for period from May 1916 to April 1922
  • Registers for Faywood Hotel, Faywood, New Mexico:
    four ledgers covering years from 1896 to 1949
  • Invoices and receipts of Silver City residents:
    two letter boxes with documents dating from 1910 to 1914
  • Silver City Block Book:
    one ledger covering years 1919 to 1925
  • Silver City tax rolls:
    23 ledgers for consecutive years from 1895 to 1918
  • Delinquent tax book for Town of Silver City:
    one ledger covering years 1883 to 1895
  • Post Index of Letters Received, Fort Bayard, New Mexico:
    one ledger for the year 1891
  • Mine payroll book (mine not identified):
    one ledger for the year 1905
  • Time book for the Santa Rita Mining Company:
    one book for the year 1902
  • Santa Rita Store Company Ledger:
    one ledger for the years 1911 to 1913
  • Minute book, Miner's Social Club, Fleming, New Mexico:
    just a few pages in one book, dating from 1884
  • Silver City Waterworks meter book:
    one book for the years 1910 to 1916
  • Grant County Hospital Board minutes:
    two ledgers for period from April 1935 to October 1949
  • Grant County Brand Book:
    one book, ca. 1888
  • Sheriff's daybooks and notebooks from Grant County Sheriff John E. Casey:
    14 books, dating from 1919 to 1936
  • One Sheriff's paybook for 1919, just a few pages
  • Town of Silver City building permits:
    one letter box with approximately 500 pages, permits from 1917 to 1924
  • Town of Silver City building permits:
    40 pages of photocopies, ca. 1940s-60s
  • Letterbook from the Town of Silver City:
    47 pages with letters for years 1903 to 1908
  • Grant County Charity Hospital Minutes:
    one ledger for years 1895 to 1921
  • Record of patients for Grant County Hospital:
    one ledger for years 1887 to 1925
Research
Since the mid-1970s, the Museum completed significant projects to make regional historical information accessible to researchers and the general public.
  • Indexed early Silver City newspapers dating from 1873-1886 in a joint effort with the Silver City Public Library. The results are biographical files on hundreds of individuals. Newspaper indexes are supplemented extensively with information dating through the 1920s and beyond, including obituaries and county birth and death records.
  • A Historic Building Inventory of Grant County under contract to the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division in 1979 began a Museum project which would extend over five years. The project included field survey of thousands of individual pre-1945 buildings, augmented with extensive research on these properties in newspapers, oral histories, deeds and tax rolls, and historic photographs. As a result, five Silver City historic districts, two Grant County historic districts, and one Catron County historic district were nominated to the state and national registers; all structures within the Silver City Historic District were evaluated for contributing or non-contributing status; and Built to Last: An Architectural History of Silver City, New Mexico was written and published. Data generated during the building inventory project is now an important resource for property owners and other researchers. Built to Last is available for purchase at our
    Museum Store.
  • Over 27,000 newspaper records from our index were transcribed from 3" x 5" cards into a database.
  • We digitized 2,000 images from the O.L. Hinger photo collection and the Percy Pogson photo collection, as well as digitizing and filming the contents of over 100 volumes of original local records in our collection with grants from the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board (NMHRAB). As part of this project we created a 12,385-record database index to 21 of the most-requested volumes. We also have a database of early Grant County marriage records, which were indexed only in the husband's name in the original record book.