History Professor Awarded New Mexico Scholar Fellowship
A Nebraska Wesleyan University history professor has been awarded a fellowship from the Office of the State Historian/Historical Society of New Mexico Scholars Program.
Sandra Mathews-Benham, professor of history, has received a New Mexico Scholar Fellowship that will provide her the opportunity to convert and expand her dissertation entitled, “The Nineteenth Century Cruzate Grants: Pueblos, Peddlers, and the Great Confidence Scam?” into a narrative and publishable monograph.
Mathews-Benham’s original research focused primarily on a collection of Spanish land grants given to numerous pueblos of New Mexico, purported written by Governor Domingo Jironza Petriz de Cruzate in 1689. Still utilized by some historians and petitioners in federal claims cases as valid documents, William M. Tipton and the Court of Private Claims threw them out as forgeries 1891.
Mathews-Benham said the month-long research project will expand the understanding of the circumstances surrounding their creation and appearance in the documentary record in the 1850s, and follow the impact of early Spanish land grants to pueblos into the present day.