Frank Springer and New Mexico
From the Colfax County War to the Emergence of Modern Santa Fe
Western History - Business History
6 x 9, 280 pp.
28 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 02/21/2006
Price:        $34.95

Price:        $19.95

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2007 Gaspar Perez de Billagra Award for Oustanding Publication in the Field of History, presented by the Historical Society of New Mexico

Frank Springer and New Mexico

From the Colfax County War to the Emergence of Modern Santa Fe

By David L. Caffey

The country Frank Springer rode into in 1873 was one of immense beauty and abundant resources—grass and timber, wild game, precious metals, and a vast bed of commercial grade coal. It was also a stage upon which dramatic and sometimes violent events played out during Springer’s ten-year residence in Cimarron, New Mexico.

A lawyer and newspaperman for the Maxwell Land Grant company and a foe of the speculators known as “the Santa Fe Ring,” Springer found himself in the middle of the Colfax County War. A man of many sides, he typified the Gilded Age entrepreneurs who transformed the territorial American Southwest.

He was also an intriguing personality—an introvert who engaged in very public activities, speaking to large audiences and leading in major civic endeavors. As president of the Maxwell Land Grant company, he also led in the development of mining, logging, ranching, and irrigation enterprises. A Supreme Court victory establishing title to the 1.7 million acre Maxwell grant earned him a reputation as a brilliant attorney. He also helped lay the foundations of New Mexico Highlands University, the Museum of New Mexico, and other cultural institutions.

Throughout his adult life, Springer also engaged in paleontological study, publishing his findings through the Smithsonian Institution and other leading scientific publishers. He amassed the largest collection in the world of a certain kind of fossil, a collection he donated to the Smithsonian, where it is still housed.

Frank Springer’s influence on New Mexico’s economic development was far-reaching and lasting. A thorough biography of the energetic Springer, this book offers insight into many colorful episodes in the region’s history and the way a certain breed of Anglo-centric men left their stamp on the land and its people.

DAVID L. CAFFEY is the author of a number of books on New Mexico and the Southwest, including the award-winning Land of Conflict, Land of Enchantment: New Mexico in English-Language Fiction, also published by Texas A&M University Press. With a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University, Caffey is the Vice-president for Institutional Effectiveness at Clovis Community College in Clovis, New Mexico.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Caffey’s biography illuminates the life and times of a dominant and often forgotten personality in the state’s history.”-ABQ Journal

“…a superb biography of Springer’s extraordinary life…Caffey masterfully weaves the intricate story of a man who helped shape the latter history of territorial New Mexico. It is a story that is not well known, and his effort is a valuable contribution toward understand New Mexico’s transition from frontier territory to modern state.”-High Country

“David L. Caffey fills in a significant historical gap with this finely crafted biography of a figure who has, oddly, never been the subject of a book-length study. . . . Caffey’s work is very well done. He presents Springer as a complex, ambitious man, and this book answers many questions about Springer while providing a strong contextual understanding of territorial New Mexico.”-New Mexico Historical Review

“Exhaustively researched and engagingly written, Caffey’s biography of Frank Springer is one of the finest books to be written on this period of New Mexico history in many years.”-Password

“Caffey has done a fine job of drawing together the disparate elements of Springer’s life into a highly readable narrative.”-The Journal of Arizona History

“…long overdue…a well-written book that illuminates the complexities of Springer’s eventful career.”-The Journal of Arizona History

“. . . an excellent piece of work, thoroughly researched, engagingly written, and persuasively argued. Caffey has mined collections in New Mexico and Washington, as well as the Huntington Library and repositories in Europe, and gained access to significant family holdings . . . exceptionally well written, the narrative moves gracefully from page to page.”-Keith L. Bryant, Jr., Professor Emeritus, University of Akron

“This ‘many-sided man,’ Frank Springer, was one of those who played a key role in bringing New Mexico into the modern world. Caffey, a gifted writer and scholar, has given us a readable biography, enriched by his significant archival discoveries. Until now Springer has remained a neglected figure on the outer fringes of history. With this book, he takes his rightful place as a larger-than-life American original.”-Marc Simmons, Historian, and author of Massacre on the Lordsburg Road

A Renaissance Man in New Mexico chronicles the contentious and sometimes dangerous work of Frank Springer that established property ownership and rights in the New Mexico Territory, eventually leading to statehood. His legacy is evident here as well as in the Fine Arts in Santa Fe, in higher education in New Mexico, and in the science of paleontology where Springer was a leading authority on crinoid fossils. For any generation Frank Springer was a man of great accomplishment.”-William I. Ausich, Professor of Geological Sciences, Ohio State University


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