RALPH EMERSON TWITCHELL
The Historian Who Found New Mexico’s Future in the Past
By Daniel Jason Twitchell
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In the latter half of the nineteenth century a number of talented and industrious individuals immigrated to New Mexico in search of wealth and prestige. Among these enterprising newcomers was a young lawyer from Missouri named Ralph Emerson Twitchell. Shrewd, audacious, and driven, Twitchell quickly distinguished himself from the others as an attorney, an orator, a publicist, and a historian. From the moment he stepped off the train in Las Vegas, Twitchell entrenched himself in his adopted home, working tirelessly to promote progress and to broadcast its many virtues.
A pillar of the New Mexico community, he spent more than forty years as a devoted civil servant. Inspired by the history, culture, and charm of old Santa Fe, he became one of the city’s leading patrons and helped transform the ancient capital into a popular tourist destination. Yet he seems to be one of the most obscure and understudied figures in New Mexico history. Remembered solely for his achievements as a historian—his books articulated the idea of New Mexico for generations of Americans—Twitchell has otherwise been virtually ignored.
Ralph Emerson Twitchell’s influential role in the modernization and development of New Mexico is now expansively detailed in this revelatory work.
Daniel Jason Twitchell is the great-grandnephew of Ralph Emerson Twitchell. A native of the American Southwest, he holds a BS in History from Northern Arizona University and an MA in Public Affairs from New Mexico Highlands University. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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