Happy National Library Week!

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In honor of National Library Week this week, we decided to share some gems from our own collection, the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records collection. Did you know our agency used to have a bookmobile? And that you could ride your horse right up and borrow a book? These gems were taken between 1958 and 1968. Be sure to stop by and enjoy your local library this week, whether you get there by car, by foot, by bike, or by horse!!

Bookmobile

Photo collage courtesy of Wendi Goen

Welcome to the Archives, Wonderful Little Photo Album!

One of our most heavily-researched subjects in the State Archives is Arizona water (or lack thereof). Sometimes it is attorneys working on current stream adjudication issues, sometimes it is professors in town from all over the country looking through the history of Western water issues. We’re very fortunate to have rich resources among several collections – governor’s records, Department of Water Resources, etc. This week, we added something to our holdings that adds a deeper context to our records, and provides beautiful documentation of an important period in our water history.

Dam book

Photo courtesy of Wendi Goen.

John Bloom came for a tour of the Archives several months ago with a genealogy group from Tucson, and decided to return to do some genealogical research. This time, he brought a beautiful bound photograph book detailing the construction of the Gillespie Dam around 1920, and generously donated it to the State Archives for permanent preservation. Not only is the book beautifully-preserved, but it contains wonderful descriptive information on people involved in the project, dates, etc. For archivists, this is like having Christmas come early!!

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A selection of photographs from the Gillespie Dam photo album. Collage courtesy of Wendi Goen.

John tells us that he doesn’t recall exactly how his family acquired the book, though it was gifted from a friend of the family, and has been among their possessions since he was a child. He remarks, “I’ve had it all these years in my closet. I used to love looking at the pictures as a kid.” We are so delighted that John valued this book enough to care for it all of these years, and that he recognized that it is such an important part of Arizona history that it should be shared with the residents of the state. We look forward to making it digitally available through the Arizona Memory Project, and adding it to our rich water records of the State of Arizona!

Dam donation

Photo Courtesy of Wendi Goen.

Meet Arizona’s Territorial Governors – Nathan Murphy

Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) – History at Your Fingertips

-Guest Post from Christopher Sloan of the ADNP

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Nathan Oakes Murphy
(b. October 14, 1849, d. August 22, 1908)

Newspapers and politics were nearly inseparable in Territorial Arizona.  If newspapers weren’t out-and-out owned by a political actor, they were often owned by a close associate and had a clear, partisan bent.  They did not just endorse candidates for office; newspapers could be the key to making or breaking a politician’s career.  Despite their sometimes libelous content, they were the only sources for information on the workings of their government that Arizonans had. They carried news on legislation, speeches and proclamations, and the comings and goings of elected officials as they traveled the territory. 

The Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) is endeavoring to bring these colorful and highly informative papers and their relationship to Territorial politics to an exhibit in the Arizona Capitol Museum. The exhibit will provide users with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the resources provided through the ADNP website and get a deeper look at the political lives of some of the Territorial Governors…

Nathan Oakes Murphy was both the tenth and the fourteenth Territorial Governor of Arizona. Murphy served as the Territorial Secretary under Governor John Irwin, and successfully petitioned President Benjamin Harrison to appoint him Territorial Governor after Irwin left the office because of family business obligations in Iowa in 1892. Murphy served less than a year because incoming Democratic President Grover Cleveland replaced him with a Democrat, Louis C. Hughes. Murphy was appointed governor again by President William McKinley in 1898, and this time served until 1902. He resigned amid allegations of defrauding the Territory, to make way for his friend, Alexander O. Brodie.

Murphy’s accomplishments as governor included an unsuccessful bid for Arizona’s statehood to Congress at a time when Republicans in Washington were looking for any reason to deny entry to a majority Democratic state, and risk the possibility of tipping the scales.

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In his 1893 address to the legislature, he spends much of his verbiage on increasing territorial revenue through the possibility of convict leasing for projects outside of the walls of the Territorial Prison at Yuma; and better and more complete taxation, with the exception of railroads, which should be exempt from taxation to encourage their development (Needless to say, Murphy had considerable investment in Arizona’s railroads).[1] Murphy also had the distinction of being the first governor in the new Capitol Building in Phoenix in 1901, a building which was supposed to represent Arizona’s readiness for statehood.

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Murphy was a business man and a booster for Arizona. He was involved with his brother, Frank Murphy, in the Santa Fe, Prescott, and Phoenix Railroad, as well as having his hands in several mining operations. Frank Murphy also became the owner of the Arizona Republican after Clark Churchill passed away. While there is no doubt that this must have proved beneficial for Murphy, it also played a major role in his undoing as governor. The January 30, 1902 Bisbee Daily Review outlines the charges against Murphy.  The third charge they level is that Oakes Murphy has “caused to be paid during his term, many thousands of dollars to the ‘Arizona Republican’” which is “either actually or virtually owned by himself or brother, Frank M. Murphy…” This and the other two charges, according to the Daily Review of April 25, 1902, were “investigated by President Roosevelt” and Murphy was found “to be blameless.” Four days before this had been printed, Murphy had tendered his resignation.

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Murphy spent the remainder of his life engaged in a variety of business ventures (as evidenced by a number of articles of incorporation printed in Arizona newspapers) and traveling with his second wife. Below is a legal advertisement for the articles of incorporation for a corporation which would “organize and maintain corporations under the laws of the Territory of Arizona”:

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Murphy died suddenly in 1908 and his final resting place is the Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington D.C.

Special thanks to the Arizona Memory Project for use of material from the collection of Territorial Governor Portraits by William Besser (http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/landingpage/collection/acmterr) For more information about Arizona’s territorial governors and much, much more, please visit: Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) http://adnp.azlibrary.gov/

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[1] Nathan O. Murphy “Biennial Message of N. O. Murphy, Governor of Arizona, to the Seventeenth Legislative Assembly, February 14th, 1893), Arizona Memory Project, http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/statepubs/id/12471/rec/4 (accessed 10 Feb. 2014).

Happy Five Years, Arizona State Archives Building!

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It’s been a wonderful five years here in the Polly Rosenbaum Building!

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Even over here on the “wrong side of the tracks,” the building is such a welcoming sight for staff and visitors alike.

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But even after five years, we haven’t forgotten the big rigs!

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Before the volumes were on the shelves…

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There was the assembly…

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The unpacking…

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The wiring…

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And before there was the lovely 1901 W. Madison…

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There was a spitfire named Polly Rosenbaum, Arizona Legislator, who championed the construction of this building.

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(She still holds a pretty special place of honor here).

Thanks to colleagues, patrons, supporters, and friends, for continuing to make this building such a treasure for the State of Arizona! Happy five year anniversary…we’re looking forward to many anniversaries to come!

Meet Arizona’s Territorial Governors – Lewis Wolfley

Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) – History at Your Fingertips

-Guest Post from Christopher Sloan of the ADNP

 

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Lewis Wolfley
(b. October 8, 1839, d. February 12, 1910)

Newspapers and politics were nearly inseparable in Territorial Arizona.  If they weren’t out-and-out owned by a political actor, they were often owned by a close associate and had a clear, partisan bent.  They did not just endorse candidates for office; newspapers could be the key to making or breaking a politician’s career.  Despite their sometimes libelous content, they were the only sources for information on the workings of their government that Arizonans had. They carried news on legislation, speeches and proclamations, and the comings and goings of elected officials as they traveled the territory. 

The Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) is endeavoring to bring these colorful and highly informative papers and their relationship to Territorial politics to an exhibit in the Arizona Capitol Museum. The exhibit will provide users with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the resources provided through the ADNP website and get a deeper look at the political lives of some of the Territorial Governors…

Lewis Wolfley was the eighth Territorial Governor of Arizona and the first to have actually lived in the territory prior to his election (Wolfley had lived in Arizona for six years).  Wolfley’s most enduring legacy was not in the legislative arena, but on the political battlefield created amongst Arizona’s largest newspapers at the end of the nineteenth century. Wolfley founded the Arizona Republican, a paper that started its life as a bitter, partisan organ for Wolfley and his faction, but became one of the cornerstones for a new era of professional journalism in the territory and the largest paper newspaper in Arizona.

Lewis Wolfley’s political career prior to the governorship included stints as a tax collector, lobbyist for “an improved ship canal between the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico” as well as other “minor federal posts”. Finally, he moved to New Mexico territory in search of mineral wealth and then to Tucson to work as a surveyor.  When a relative of Wolfley’s, Benjamin Harrison, became President in 1888, Wolfley saw his opportunity to claim a political position. He threw his name in for the position of Arizona’s Territorial Governor and was awarded the job with a great deal of help from friends and relatives in the federal government. [1]

From the outset, Wolfley’s short term as governor was plagued with political squabbles inside and outside of his Republican Party.  It began when he spurned the Tucson Citizen as the de-facto Republican political organ and founded his own newspaper, the Republican, in May of 1890. The paper declared impartiality as part of its mission in the first issue, May 19, 1890:

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The founding staff of the Republican consisted of many of the territorial officials, such as Clark Churchill, the Attorney General who drew a great deal of ire to Wolfley’s administration. These officials were already controversial, as they wrested their positions from C. Meyer Zulick’s Democratic appointees, many of whom refused to leave office even after being legally removed. Partisanship aside, however, “they made every effort to establish the Republican as the most modern and up-to-date paper in the territory, with a full Associated Press (AP) service, a stable of reporters, and the best mechanical equipment available”.[2]

Despite its modern orientation, the Republican found itself drawn into the war of words between different political camps, the worst of which took place inside the Republican Party.  Wolfley challenged the Federal Government’s policies in Arizona Territory, while at the same time trying to impose party discipline on the Republicans in Arizona.  Phoenix’s other Republican paper, the Herald, resentful of the Republican and Wolfley’s refusal to patronize the already existing party outlets, accused the Republican of being nothing more than a Wolfley “organ”. Just eight days after the publication of its first issue, the paper was on the defensive:

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Just a few short months later, Lewis Wolfley was forced to resign the territorial governorship. He stayed involved in territorial politics and retained control over the Republican until 1895, when “[h]opelessly outgunned … Wolfley finally relinquished control … along with any hopes he might have still retained of controlling the Republican party in Arizona”.[3]  He passed the paper to Churchill, who died six months later.  A rapid series of events following Churchill’s death found the paper in control of Frank M. Murphy, who made Charles C. Randolph editor. Randolph was a New York Times correspondent who finally brought the prosperity and journalistic integrity envisioned at the newspaper’s founding to bear.[4]

According to William Lyon, “the partisan era of Arizona journalism was drawing to a close” ushered in by the fact that “newspapers had discovered fresh sources of support in the form of business advertisers; higher capitalization costs reduced the field of competitors; and editors themselves developed a strong sense of professionalism”.  On top of this, politics were changing and the “uneasy and confusing alliances” that characterized the relationship between newspaper editors and politicians were coming apart because people were sick of wading through the mess that they created. [5]

While the Republican began its ascent, unfortunately the same cannot be said for Lewis Wolfley. He moved to Prescott, returned to his original career as a surveyor, worked on a dam on the Gila River which was destroyed by a flood, made another bid for governor in 1897 (which was rejected by President McKinley), and moved to Los Angeles where he patented a device that would use ocean waves to generate electricity. WolfleyPowerPatent

In 1910, Wolfley was struck and killed by a streetcar in Los Angeles.  He is buried at the Independent Order of Oddfellows cemetery in Prescott.  His death barely made the front page of the now quite successful newspaper that he founded twenty years before. DeadWolfley1910-2-13

For more information about Arizona’s territorial governors and much, much more, please visit:      Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) http://adnp.azlibrary.gov/


[1] Wrighton, Scot, and Zarbin, Earl. “Lewis Wolfley, Territorial Politics, and the Founding of the Arizona Republican”.

The Journal of Arizona History, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Autumn, 1990) pp. 309-10

[2] Lyon, William H. Those Old Yellow Dog Days: Frontier Journalism in Arizona, 1859-1912. Arizona Historical Society: Tucson, Arizona 1994 p. 27

[3]Lyon. Ibid, p. 29

[4] Wrigton and Zarbin. Ibid, p. 324

[5] Lyon. Ibid, p. 29

Meet Arizona’s Territorial Governors – John Goodwin

Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) – History at Your Fingertips

-Guest Post from Christopher Sloan of the ADNP

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John Noble Goodwin
(b. October 18th, 1824, d. April 29th, 1887)

Newspapers and politics were nearly inseparable in Territorial Arizona.  If they weren’t out-and-out owned by a political actor, they were often owned by a close associate and had a clear, partisan bent.  They did not just endorse candidates for office; newspapers could be the key to making or breaking a politician’s career.  Despite their sometimes libelous content, they were the only sources for information on the workings of their government that Arizonans had. They carried news on legislation, speeches and proclamations, and the comings and goings of elected officials as they traveled the territory. 

The Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) is endeavoring to bring these colorful and highly informative papers and their relationship to Territorial politics to an exhibit in the Arizona Capitol Museum. The exhibit will provide users with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the resources provided through the ADNP website and get a deeper look at the political lives of some of the Territorial Governors…

John Noble Goodwin, the first Territorial Governor of Arizona, was not plagued by some of the high-intensity partisan warfare that raged in several of Arizona’s earliest papers (his Territorial Secretary and successor, Richard McCormick, was deeply embroiled in newspaper-related libel and scandals) but neither was he ignored or immune from attack.  A quick search of the ADNP website turns up Goodwin’s territorial proclamation, announcing Arizona’s entry into the Union as territory in the March 9, 1864 issue of the Arizona Miner.

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Much of the Miner’s pages for the balance of 1864 carry accounts of the Governor Goodwin’s travels throughout Arizona territory, his communiques regarding war with the Apaches, and of the codification of territorial law.  According to Those Old Yellow Dog Days by William H. Lyon, the Arizona Miner began its existence as an independent news outlet, but that “all of that changed on September 21, 1867, when John Marion announced his association with [the paper]. From that day forward politics became the lifeblood of the Prescott paper.”

Lyon goes on to sum Marion’s positions up as “supporting President Andrew Johnson, attacking radical Republicans, hating blacks, correcting California newspapers that talked down on Arizona, and castigating … Richard McCormick”[1].

After Goodwin’s stint as governor (1863-1866) he became a delegate to Congress, much to the chagrin of Arizona Democrats, of which Marion was the most notorious.  A column titled “The Past and  Present” by “C.J.E.” in the February 1, 1868 edition of the Miner, accuses Goodwin of, among other things, circumventing the democratic process by installing himself as Arizona Territory’s Congressional Delegate when it had already been promised to Colonel Charles Debrille Poston. The column goes on to purport that Goodwin’s aim was selling off the territory to further his business interests while doing absolutely nothing for Arizonans in general.

antiGoodwin1antiGoodwin.jpgCompare this screed to a much more even-handed account from the January 24, 1866 issue of the Miner, before Marion’s arrival:

PostonvsGoodwinPostonvsGoodwinblock.jpgWhile still clearly in support of Poston, the article takes a reasonable position on Poston’s defeat and even chastises Poston for his inability to take the “high road” after his loss by “heartily co-operating with Governor Goodwin on behalf of the Territory.” Surely, if “he had done so he would still have a warm place in the hearts of our people.”

For more information about Arizona’s territorial governors and much, much more, please visit:      Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) http://adnp.azlibrary.gov/


[1] Lyon, William H. Those Old Yellow Dog Days: Frontier Journalism In Arizona 1859-1912. (Tucson, AZ: 1994), 22

Halloween Murder Mystery Event at the Capitol Museum!

One of the best aspects to working in archives is getting to tag along for our patrons’ research adventures! Recently, we’ve had the great pleasure of getting to work with our colleagues at the Arizona Capitol Museum to unravel a murder mystery that happened in the Capitol! They valiantly slogged through several land records and newspapers to get the story, and now they’re hosting a Halloween Murder Mystery at the Capitol!

* Special Guest Post from Brian Blackwell of the Arizona Capitol Museum

Details: The Arizona Capitol Museum’s Halloween Murder Mystery Event is Saturday, October 26th from 10am to 2pm, admission is free. Because of road closures, parking is available off of 19th avenue in the executive tower parking lot. Please check with @AZCapitolMuseum on Twitter for updates and more information.

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Every year at the Arizona Capitol Museum, we try to plan something fun for our visitors on the Saturday Fun Day before Halloween. This year we’d decided on a murder mystery game based on the infamous murder suicide which actually took place at the Capitol in 1912. We didn’t know much of the particulars, someone shot a low level clerk over perceived wrongdoings in a land deal and then killed himself, but we figured some quick research would fill in the gaps so we could piece together the game. Since we already knew the killer, we’d create more of a “whydunit,” as opposed to a whodunit, and ask guests to figure out the motive for the crime. What we did not realize at the time was that almost no one has searched for the motive to this crime before.

Our first stop, a basic web search, turned up nothing of value. Sites which mention the murder at all were more interested in if this meant the Museum was haunted, and kept the details vague. (PS, the Arizona Capitol Museum is not, to our knowledge, haunted.) Next we tried the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program, and while they had a wealth of perfectly preserved articles from 1912 newspapers about the murder, we ran into the main problem with period journalism: they appear to be engaging in a contest to see who can get everything wrong the fastest, in order to print first. The different papers could not agree on facts as basic as the names of the victim and murderer, the type of gun used, or where the crime was committed. They alternated painting the murderer as Mexican, consumptive, and an invalid, based mostly on the fact that those were things people didn’t like at the time. More distressing, no one was searching very hard for a motive to the crime. They dismissed the killer as crazy, and focused on grisly and unnecessary details, many of which seemed fabricated.Diagram

Unfortunately, there is little record that anyone searched very hard for the motive to this crime, including law enforcement. With no suspect to track down, there didn’t seem much point in knocking themselves out investigating it. The papers mention the coroner would perform an investigation, but none of the papers wrote follow-up articles with the investigation’s findings. To make any sense of this, we would need the cold hard facts which can only be found in primary documents.

With the help of the archivists at the State Archives, things finally started to come together. Looking at the original land deeds we learned that the victim, Granville Malcolm Gillette personally sold a piece of land to Finley Coffman (not Frank or Francis Chapman), in a transaction which was in no way connected to his job as chief clerk to the state surveyor. Before, we had always assumed the murder was over something he’d done in an official capacity at the Capitol. Surveyor’s maps showed us where the property was located, and how much land Coffman would be purchasing. Tax assessments showed the value of the land to be at $1,500. The most reliable interviews from newspaper articles state that’s how much Coffman paid Gillette for the land. However, an administrator’s deed from Gillette’s lawyer showed there was a large outstanding mortgage on the property which Coffman as owner would be responsible for, separate from the purchase price. If the sale price of $1,500 is accurate, Coffman would essentially have to pay for the land twice.

 It’s impossible to piece together the entire motive for the hundred year-old murder at this point in time. Unfortunately, only two people knew the whole story behind the deal, and they both died in 1912. A contemporary investigation may have uncovered the motive, but the coroner’s reports were thrown away decades ago, before there requirements to hang on to official records like those, another lesson in why professional archives are so important. Destroyed documents would add incredibly important puzzle pieces which remain missing, so we may never know why this heinous act occurred. It’s very possible Coffman was mentally disturbed in some manner, it is hard to find the rationale in an irrational act, but some solid research revealed a plausible theory on a motive for the first time, beyond 1912′s “he was a crazy Mexican with tuberculosis.”

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