The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971

Book Reviews

recovery of major artifacts cannot give back the knowledge which
might have been gained by meticulous and orderly collection of
thousands of intrinsically worthless fragments. The book is illus-
trated with fifty-six plates identifying coins, cannon, anchors, and
artifacts, supplemented by fifteen tables of unusual, hard-to-get infor-
mation.
One point on which Peterson's admirable volume and compre-
hensive bibliography leaves the reader in decidedly murky water
involves the question of legal ownership. The rule "finders keepers"
is not practicable for objects larger or more valuable than a sea
shell. Texas' new Antiquities Law and the experience of the Sadler-
Platoro controversy may add a sea lawyer and a law library to the
equipment of the serious underwater archeologist.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana TOM HENDERSON WELLS
The Territorial Press of New Mexico, 1834-1912. By Porter A. Strat-
ton. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1969. Pp.
vi + go6. Bibliography, index. $15.oo.)
Perusing New Mexico's early newspapers is a fascinating pastime.
The sometimes flowery prose, gossipy columns, and strong denuncia-
tions of other editors and politicians gives the reader the true flavor
of this rural nineteenth-century territory. A researcher finds it dif-
ficult to focus on his subject. He follows the political debates, is
distracted by the accounts of shootings, tries to follow the range wars,
or takes time to read the poetry that appears in most issues. Despite
editors who couldn't spell and too often refused to check their facts
carefully, these territorial newspapers present a most interesting
history.
Porter Stratton, an experienced New Mexico newspaperman who
earned his Ph.D. in history, has completed a book that will be a boon
to all persons interested in the West. He shows that despite "me-
chanical and business difficulties," the first editors performed a
valuable service by "delving fearlessly into most public questions."
During the latter quarter of the nineteenth century, however, most
were forced to turn to politics for sustenance. Having lost their in-
dependence, the newspapers of the 189o's degenerated into "routine
country weeklies and dull and backward dailies." Then during the
dozen prosperous years before statehood the press regained its vigor,

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101200/. Accessed July 31, 2014.