John Sloan’s New Mexico

The famous painter of Eastern city life also captured the sunny, spacious world of the Southwest

When John Sloan—one of eight Eastern painters known as the Ashcan school—first came to Santa Fe in 1919, he was looking for new subjects to paint. He found a remote mountain town of about seven thousand citizens, two-thirds of whom were Spanish-speaking. Among the “Anglos” (persons neither Spanish nor Indian) was a sizable group of artists. To respect creative work is tradition in both Indian and Spanish society, and Sloan was delighted to find himself politely left alone. Above all, he was enchanted by the look of the place.Read more »

The Forty-Day Scout

A trooper’s firsthand account of an adventure with the
Indian-fighting army in the American Southwest

In the early summer of 1872, Kiowa or Comanche Indians killed and scalped two white ranchers to steal their sixteen-shot Henry rifles. The Indians spared one man’s Mexican wife and a servant boy, and the survivors reported the murders to the authorities at Fort Bascom, New Mexico. The U.S. Army, including the 8th Cavalry, Colonel John Irvin Gregg commanding, was bugled off on a punitive expedition into the Staked Plains of West Texas, the homeland of the warlike tribesmen. Read more »

Pie Town

The last homesteading community, a Depression-era experiment—and a selection of the rare color photographs that recorded it

For a long time the Pueblo Plateau of west-central New Mexico has promised more than it has given. That was true as early as 1540 when conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado marched his eager army through this pinon-and-juniper country looking for the Seven Cities of Cibola—a vanity recalled on today’s map with Cibola National Forest, whose timbered slopes drop down from the 7,796-foot-high crest of the Continental Divide to the two paved lanes of U.S. 60. Read more »

“i Am Become Death…”

The Agony of J. Robert Oppenheimer

In the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer-the American physicist and scientiststatesman who directed the building of the first atomic bombs at Los Alamos, New Mexico, during World War II, whose government, discerning “fundamental defects” in his character, denied him security clearance in 1954, who died of throat cancer in 1967—some have professed to see embodied the moral ambiguities of twentieth-century science, science charging breakneck over human institutions, scientists waking compromised from Faustian dreams.Read more »

Artists Of The Santa Fe


The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway grew in a cloud of violence that quickly became legendary. Wherever the fledgling railroad went in the 1870’s, it left a raw and brawling cow town in its wake. At the Colorado ranges gunplay broke out between the work crews of the Santa Fe and the rival Denver & Rio Grande.Read more »

Churchman Of The Desert

In the wild Southwest, Archbishop Lamy of Santa Fe contended with savage Indians, ignorance, and a recalcitrant clergy.

Winter storms in the Gulf of Mexico overtook a small ship beating her way from New Orleans to Galveston in January, 1851. Despite the fact that she had been condemned as unsafe, she carried 100 passengers. One of these was a French priest, 37 years old, who on November 24, 1850, in Cincinnati, Ohio, had been consecrated a bishop. Carrying with him the papal bull of Pius IX, which appointed him as vicar apostolic of New Mexico, he was on his way to Santa Fe.