The Early Press in New Mexico

Lista de los Ciudadanos que Deberan Componer los Jurados de Imprenta, Formada por el Ayuntamiento de esta Capital, Santa Fe, 1834. Gift of J. M. Thorington, Class of 1915.

The earliest surviving imprint of the press in what is now New Mexico is this broadside: “List of the Citizens Who May Serve As Jurors on Trials on the Press, Made for the Council of the Capital.”  It was printed on the “Press of Roman Abreu in Charge of Jesus Maria Baca” and is dated August 14, 1834.  The document reflects the 1828 Mexican law passed to protect the freedom of the press and citizens against libel.  Lawsuits concerning the press were to be heard by jurors chosen by the municipal councils of every town that supported a newspaper.  New Mexico, since its first European settlements in 1598, had seen little need for a press; but the changes wrought by Mexican independence in 1821 and the opening of the Santa Fe Trail to the Anglo-American settlements in the United States quickly made a press and its attendant dangers a necessity.

For a detailed account of the Lista de los Ciu­dadanos… broadside, see:

Boyd, E. “The First New Mexico Imprint.” Princeton University Library Chronicle Volume XXXIII, No. 1 (Autumn 1971): 30-40.

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