Astronomy Collections in the Archives and Special Collections Department of the NMSU Library
Soon after its establishment, the Rio Grande Historical Collections in the New Mexico State University Library identified astronomy as an area to be included in its collections. In 1972 Dennis Rowley, the University Archivist at the time, wrote to Clyde Tombaugh that "space science, space industry and astronomy have long been a part of the history of the Southwest, and especially of southwestern New Mexico. The personal papers of men such as yourself, then, are as natural and logical a part of a collection on the Southwest as are records dealing with Billy the Kid and agriculture."
Tombaugh himself had already recognized the historical importance of his accumulated papers, and he agreed to give the Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers to the Rio Grande Historical Collections. However, because Tombaugh continued to pursue his astronomical studies throughout his retirement, the Tombaugh Papers were not accessioned by the RGHC until 1994 when poor health limited his activities. Additional papers were received from the Tombaugh family following Clyde Tombaugh's death in 1997.
In addition to the Clyde W. Tombaugh Papers, the Rio Grande Historical Collections holds the papers of several other astronomers. Among these collections are the papers of Walter H. Haas, founder of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers; the Hugh M. Johnson Papers, which include much of Johnson's early amateur observational work; and the papers of Latimer J. Wilson, who was a prominent amateur astronomer during the first half of the twentieth century.
Special Collections holds printed matter in the field of astronomy. These classic works were primarily published prior to 1850 and include titles by Galileo, Kepler, LaPlace, Watts, and Gelpke.