Herbert Bartlett Holt: Prominent Southwest Lawyer

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Herbert B. Holt, December 22, 1913 (00010097)

The Archives and Special Collections (ASC), recently acquired additional letters to add to the existing Herbert B. Holt papers (Ms0061). These papers provide a glimpse of life in the Mesilla Valley during late 1890s into the early 1900s.

Herbert Holt was a prominent lawyer in the Mesilla Valley and practiced law in the early 1900s until the 1950s. He was involved in various community affairs, such as serving on the board of regents for the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts from 1902 to 1907, and helping organize the Elephant Butte Water Users’ Association in 1905, serving as its first president until 1911. Along with his community involvement, Holt was active in the political scene. He served as a state senator in the first session of the New Mexico Legislature and was majority floor leader from 1912-1917.

The 34 newly acquired letters are from Holt’s wife Nellie and span the years 1897-1912. The letters from Nellie inform Herbert of various hometown and family matters that occurred during his business travels. The letters contain information about their family, social events, politics and business matters in Las Cruces.

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Letter from Nellie to Herbert regarding a telegram, March 25, 1902, page 1.

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Letter from Nellie regarding a telegram, page 2.

While processing the collection and incorporating the additional correspondence, it was fascinating reading and imagining how Las Cruces was back in the 1890s and early 1900s. In one of the letters, Nellie describes in detail an outing to the college, which was back then known as the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

The papers also contain material concerning Holt’s appointment as captain in the New Mexico Home Guard from 1918-1920 (now known as the New Mexico National Guard). Additional material found in the collection includes legal papers pertaining to mining in the region and political items. If you are interested in viewing additional materials from the Herbert Holt papers, take a look at the updated finding aid, which can be found in the Rocky Mountain Online Archive.

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