The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978 Page: 480
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
In New Mexico, virtually isolated from the rest of New Spain, the
inhabitants were eager to develop commercial relations with foreigners.
Spanish policy dictated otherwise, and it was not until Mexico won its
independence from Spain that Americans could legally engage in trad-
ing activities. Although the hazards of an overland trip from Missouri
to Santa Fe and back were apparent to the early traders, the high profits
to be made overshadowed these perils. New Mexicans, who had been
tied to the monopolistic practices of the Chihuahua merchants, wel-
comed the foreign visitors. In exchange for cloth, consumer goods, and
draft animals-especially mules-the Americans received buffalo hides
and furs. From the furvbearing animals' pelts alone, the traders re-
ceived high returns because coats and hats made from beavers and otters
were in demand in both the United States and Europe.
Valuable information is presented on leading personalities directly
involved in the Santa Fe trade as well as attempts to pacify the Indian
menace and conduct a federal survey of the trail. The Mexican govern-
ment's suspicions toward such an undertaking greatly hampered the
latter project. Nevertheless, the survey was completed in 1827. Using a
heavy chain sixty-six feet long, the survey crew produced a fairly accu-
rate charting of the 750o-mile route. The mounds they built and land-
marks they described helped countless numbers of travelers on the trail.
The coming of the railroad in the 187os spelled doom for the Santa Fe
trade along the now famous trail.
Despite the lack of footnotes, this book is soundly researched, con-
taining a note on the sources used and a recommended reading list. It
also has several good illustrations and four helpful maps. Broadcloth
and Britches should be read by anyone who has an interest in the South-
west, and it could be adopted for classroom use if a less expensive paper-
bound edition were published.
Sam Houston State University RAYMOND WILSON
Cavalry Wife: The Diary of Eveline M. Alexander, r866-i867. Edited
by Sandra L. Myres. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press,
1977. Pp. 175. Introduction, illustrations, bibliography, index.
Eveline Alexander was from comfortable circumstances in upstate
New York. She accompanied her husband to New Mexico in 1866, liv-
ing there for one year as an officer's wife with the Third Cavalry. She
began her journal as a weekly report for her parents and comes through
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978, periodical, 1977/1978; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/m1/536/?rotate=90: accessed November 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.