Santa Fé has been a
magnet for all sorts of seekers for over four centuries.
Spaniards came north
from Mexico in the 16th century looking for fabled rich cities. They
liked what they saw, and some stayed.
the prairies from Missouri in the 1820s and 1830s to trade for New
Mexican mules and silver and to trap southwestern streams. Some of
the Americans liked what they saw and never went home.
Painters and writers
made Santa Fé their home in the 1920s and 1930s, attracted by the
deserts and mountains, the sky and air and a slower pace.
In recent years, the
town has become a popular retirement center, and lately it seems
that it is everyone’s vacation destination.
for everybody in Santa Fé. Well, almost everybody. The planning
authorities so far have been able to accommodate growth without
sacrificing the town’s charm, which is its Hispanic heritage.
Santa Fé’s summer
opera is famous, its chamber music festival outstanding. Art
galleries specializing in southwestern art are always popular. There
are the Indian market, the old plaza across from the Governor’s
Palace, rodeo, the Desert Chorale, the cathedral and chapels, Las
Golondrinas, a restored Spanish rancho, residential areas that blend
adobe homes with land and sky so harmoniously, and more history than
you could absorb in a holiday month.
Visitors are now
discovering yet another attraction. Santa Fé has a surprising
number of dealers in old books, maps, photographs and prints.
“Call us ‘antiquarian paper people,’” said Richard Fitch,
who specializes in old maps and books on cartography.
Most of the dealers
have shops where visitors can browse and talk with the owners.
Others who work from their homes are open by appointment.
There are five shops
downtown within a block of the plaza. The collection of Chaparral
Books of Santa Fé, located in historic Seña
Plaza, includes rare Spanish colonial books and recent out-of-print
volumes on Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Betty and Riley Parker are
the genial proprietors.
Potter--Bookseller, nearby, has been selling books in Santa Fé for
15 years. Most of Potter’s customers are readers rather than
collectors. He does not specialize though he has a fine collection
of 20th century first editions and books about music. He also has a
fascinating stock of used and old classical and jazz records.
Bob Kapoun is
adjacent to the plaza. He specializes in vintage original
photographs of the West, with particular emphasis on the Indian
photographs of Edward S. Curtis.
There are two shops
on the opposite side of the plaza. Margolis & Moss is a small,
elegant upstairs shop that does not specialize by topic, but does
emphasize 19th century books, photographs, maps and the ephemera.
According to Jean Moss, the co-owner with David Margolis, they sell
primarily to collectors and institutions.
The nearby Santa Fé
Bookseller is the largest bookshop in Santa Fé. The tabby dozing in
the front window and the spacious open shelf area seem to invite the
passerby to come in and look around. The collection is heavy on the
Southwest and the visual arts. Indeed, it claims the largest stock
of art books in the western United States. The inventory includes
new books, out-of-print books and some first editions. Jan Nelson is
The rest of the
dealers work by appointment from their homes. Robert Kadlec has been
longest in the book business in Santa Fé. He features rare and old,
early 20th century American and English first editions. He also has
a fine collection of southwestern American.
is one of the newest dealers in Santa Fé. It specializes in rare
and out-of-print books, newspapers, pamphlets and ephemera of New
Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The owners are Gene and Patricia Kuntz.
The Great Southwest
Books of C.J. Stone and C.C. Kimball features fine first editions of
the Southwest, particularly New Mexico. Its collection includes both
history and fiction and emphasizes signed copies. It is the foremost
source of works by Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Horgan.
Richard Fitch is one
of the country’s foremost dealers in old maps, prints and rare
books on cartography. He emphasizes the West, but also stocks
pre-19th foreign materials.
Some of the dealers
publish catalogs and sell as much or more by mail as they do by
direct sales. Some print no catalogs, but nevertheless do a thriving
mail business. Bargains are not long kept secret.
For information on
sights, events and shops in Santa Fé, write to the Santa Fé
Chamber of Commerce, P. O. Box 1928 (200 W. Marcy), Santa Fé, New
Mexico 87501. The sure to ask specifically for the booklet, “Santa
Fé Dealers of Old Books, Maps, Photographs & Prints,” which
lists the shops with addresses, telephone numbers and specialties.
The Santa Fé Convention & Visitor Bureau also has useful
materials on the town’s attractions. For general holiday
information about New Mexico, call the New Mexico Tourism and Travel