A historic space at The University of New Mexico that houses a collection of rare anthropological works will be upgraded and improved thanks to a $90,000 grant.
The grant to support the Clark Field Archive and Library (CFAL) from the Allan and Joyce Shalette Revocable Trust in January 2021.
“Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the grant initiative has largely been on hold, and the CFAL closed to the public,” said Jennifer George, Anthropology Department administrator and PI on the grant. “Although CFAL will remain closed to the public at least through March 2022, we have hired three new student librarians who will assist with donations, cataloging, and organizing collections. We expect to be able to proceed with projects such as the installation of audio visual resources, equipment replacement, upgrading furniture, and creating specialized displays. We will also be planning a renovation project to create an Archival Study room in CFAL that will be available for faculty and advanced student use.”
The CFAL houses a collection of rare anthropological works as well as scholarly journals and other items of interest donated largely by former and current anthropology faculty. It has particularly rich holdings in Southwest archeology, ethnology and linguistic anthropology. In 2018, the department renovated the reading room to create an open and inviting space for scholars, George said. Recent initiatives in the CFAL include re-building capacity to receive and catalog book donations, establishing a donation sharing program with UNM Branch Campuses, and digitizing archival and out of print collections. Prior to COVID-19, the renovation increased accessibility of the historic library to the UNM community, and provided a comfortable space for students, faculty and staff to study, meet, and hold classes.
First established as the Anthropology Department Library, CFAL was re-named in honor of Clark Field in 1966. Field was the father of Dorothy Maxwell, who along with her husband Gilbert, funded a major expansion of the Museum of Anthropology which was renamed in their honor as the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in 1972. Field donated his collection of anthropological books, augmenting the growing collection of faculty donated books. The archival study room served as the office of Florence Hawley Ellis, the first female anthropologist hired at UNM and one of the first in the U.S., until her retirement in 1971.
The reading room was the original entry lobby to the building when it was built in 1938 as the first student union building, George explained. The tin light fixture is an original. Double doors open into a flagstone corridor ̶ the western part of which was known as the student lounge ̶ and then opened onto another set of double doors which was the entryway to the ballroom.
“I was able to find floor plans of the original building, which included the bookstore, barbershop, soda fountain, kitchen and cafeteria, the Mirage and Lobo offices, and included a large enclosed exterior garden and patio space. I'm also working with Center for Southwest Research to get images and blueprints of the building and hope to be able to put together a standing exhibit so students will know the history of the building. It's one of the earliest John Gaw Meem buildings on campus, and was ̶ and still is ̶ a pretty incredible place,” George enthused.
“We look forward to the time when we can reopen CFAL to the public and share its important collections, resources, and improvements with the UNM community,” she added.