Land of Enchantment

New Mexico coverNew Mexico: A Guide to the Colorful State
Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of New Mexico

Submitter: Giving out travel advise from 1962. It has “modern” views of Albuquerque, and a helpful road map that I am sure has not changed at all.

Holly: I love New Mexico. I was once stranded at the Albuquerque airport for hours on end as a storm blew through. (The Hubs flies small planes, and our 4-seater was no match for Mother Nature that day.) It is a lovely state with some of the nicest people I have ever met. This book does not do it justice or reflect the wonderful place it is today.

I do have to give props to the Writers’ Program books, though. My library weeded them all just a year or two ago. That is a great example of a series that you want to hold onto forever because they were so, so good, but when the space is needed for other things, difficult decisions have to be made, and the reality is, these are 50+ years old. Onward and upward!

map of New Mexico

New Mexico foreword

Tour 17


  1. I thought the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration was an FDR project in the 30s – we have some of them in OUR library. BTW, it’s travel ADVICE since 1962 (sorry, grammar Nazi here.)

  2. These were wonderful books, and captured the time and place so well. Not for a circulating collection, of course, but historical collections and archives should have the one at least for the state they are located in.

  3. I bet that’s a reprint (wait, it says it was revised) of a much older book. The Writers Project was part of FDR’s New Deal in the 1930s. I have the Minnesota book, a reprint of the original edition, and it looks exactly like this one. I’d be curious one day to take it along, drive to the various locations highlighted in the Minneapolis and St. Paul chapters, and see what’s still there and what isn’t.

  4. I was just in NM last September and Taos Pueblo at least looks pretty much like the cover photo. On the other hand, Georgia O’Keefe was living at her house in Abiquiu then (up until the 80s), and a lot has changed just in that area.

  5. Of course, you wouldn’t rely on these for current travel advice, but as documentation of a vanishing or vanished America, these FWP guides are treasures. I love old maps. One hopes a library has a copy in better condition somewhere.

  6. We gave all of our copies of the WPA guides to our genealogy department, who were thrilled to have them. It looks like most of them are either on the Internet Archive or Hathi Trust website, so there are alternatives to paper now.

  7. I’d consider this a history rather than a travel guide. I have (in my home library) a condensed version that covers the lower 48 states.

  8. You absolutely should keep the WPA guides forever in your SPECIAL COLLECTIONS. And the guide for your own state should be purchased in a new reprint version for your circulating collection. They are classics of HISTORY and they are keepers. Guides for other states rather than your own can go, but sell them, don’t trash them.

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