History of the Reference Library
The Hale Matthews Reference Library began with a small collection of books about New Mexican traditional arts that were stored in staff offices in downtown Santa Fe.
Today the library includes over 3,000 books, periodicals, archives, and ephemera on Spain and Spanish Colonial art and history with a significant emphasis on art, architecture, and the history of Mexico and New Mexico.
Comparative topics are included with books about Asia, the Philippines, Europe, Portugal, Brazil, and other South and Latin American countries.
Other subjects include folklore, song and dance, foodways, fiction, and children’s stories. Of particular interest are publications about saints and their symbols with focused books on artists and art forms, including metalwork, woodwork, textiles, and ceramics.
Periodicals include New Mexico Historical Review and El Palacio. Archives of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society include materials about Spanish Market and Museum exhibitions with Society publications of books and newsletters.
The reference library offers scholars, students, and artists a comprehensive resource on many topics of study in the Spanish Colonial world. Combining the library materials with the artifact collections establishes the Society as an unparalleled organization in northern New Mexico.