The area that now comprises the state of New Mexico once belonged to the Diocese of Guadalajara when territory was under the jurisdiction of Spain (1598-1623); it belonged to the Diocese of Durango until the area was annexed to the United States in (1623-1846). Bishop Jose Antonio Laureano de Zubiria y Escalante of Durango visited the area that is now the Diocese of Santa Fe in 1832, 1845 and 1859.
In 1846 the American hierarchy petitioned Rome for the selection of a bishop for the Southwest. John Baptist Lamy was named first Bishop of Santa Fe in 1851. Lamy was immediately confronted with the problem of establishing his authority over the priests who were already active in the diocese, among them Don Antonio Jose Martinez and Damaso Taladrid of Taos.
During his tenure Lamy brought many clergy into the diocese, increased the educational facilities and built a cathedral in 1869, replacing an old adobe structure. In 1875 Santa Fe was elevated to an archiepiscopal see. Lamy resigned in 1885.
From the description of Collection, 1851-1886. (University of Notre Dame). WorldCat record id: 25086867