The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968

Managing Our Spanish and Mexican
Southwestern Archival Legacy
OLIVER W. HOLMES*
7 LTHOUGH THE TERMS ARCHIVIST AND HISTORIAN MAY NOT BE EXACTLY
t equal to each other, I have always contended that a good ar-
chivist had to be an historian and a good historian had to be an
archivist. In my more euphoric moods, easily come by in this high old
town, I like to think I am both, although these pleasant moments are
almost certain to be followed by soberer hours when I know I am
not much of either. It is, however, not so. much as an historian but
as an archivist to fellow archivists that I wish to talk about what we
are doing or ought to be doing about the management of our archival
heritage from the years of Spanish and Mexican rule in our south-
western borderlands.
I cannot help but point out at the beginning, however, that most
of the pioneers in the study of the history of our southwestern bor-
derlands were great because their work was solidly based on arch-
ival search and research. France V. Scholes once described them as
"archival bloodhounds"; and he himself has surely been one of them.'
It was Herbert E. Bolton, possibly the greatest of these blood-
hounds, who once told Scholes that Texas in the Middle Eightheenth
Century (1915) was "carved out of solid documentary rock." Bolton
was one of our great historians because he searched out and surveyed
the sources, thus opening and marking the trails for others (his Guide
to Materials for the History of the United States in the Principal
Archives of Mexico (1913) could be updated but will never be super-
seded). He was great also because he demonstrated the use to be
made of "solid documentary rock" on three levels: first, in many vol-
umes of edited documents; second, in volumes of secondary writing
on a level for his fellow historians; and third, in popular writings,
such as his Coronado. He was great, finally, because with his own
*Mr. Holmes is executive director of the National Historical Publications Commission.
A slightly different version of this paper was given at the annual meeting of the Society of
American Archivists in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1q67.
lI am following closely here the excellent article by Scholes, "Historiography of the
Spanish Southwest: Retrospect and Prospect," Probing the American West: Papers from the
Santa Fe Conference (Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1962), 17-25. For the Bolton quotation, see
ibid., 19.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/. Accessed April 21, 2014.