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Books By William Aloysius Keleher

William Aloysius Keleher was a lawyer by profession. However, he did many other things besides practicing law since he did not want to limit himself to homogenous work. Instead, he chose to be different and versatile. He was a telegraph operator, newspaper reporter, city editor, even a counter clerk in his vivid life. Perhaps, the most significant extra-legal activity where he indulged himself was writing. There was no denying that he was an effective writer. Keleher’s expertise as a writer was first unearthed in 1908 when he was appointed by a local newspaper’s authorities to work as a news reporter. They were very impressed by his writing abilities which were re-furnished while he was writing for the Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque Evening Herald. Later on, he got the job of the city editor in both of them. One will be mistaken if he reckons that Keleher showed his full potential as a writer in those newspapers.

An avid scholar of the New Mexico history, William Keleher formally became an authoritative writer on the subject in the year of 1929 when he delivered a speech in a conference (arranged by The Texas Bar Association) that took place in Amarillo, Texas. The date was July 29th; the topic was Maxwell Land Grant (The largest grant ever made in the State of New Mexico that engendered more than its share of controversy and disputes over the years). After thirteen years, it would turn into his first book entitled “The Maxwell Land Grant”. The book consisted over an hundred and sixty pages and came out in hardcover binding. University of New Mexico Press, the publisher, brought out a revised version of the book in the year of 1964. Even today, one can avail this seventeen-chaptered book from online stores and libraries with an extensive collection.

Violence in Lincoln County: 1869-1881, written in the year of 1957, is considered to be a masterpiece by William Keleher. In this book, he described the 1870s scenario in details. The book tells the readers that the Lincoln Country War was an outcome of the conflict between partisan politics and business. Regarding the issue of land ownership, the cattle barons and the corrupt mercantilists clashed with each other. Big names like McSween, Turnstall, Chisum, Murphy, Riley and Dolan were mentioned. As a result of the clash, power was being threatened and people were being killed. However, peace was declared in the territory after the demise of Billy the Kid, an infamous outlaw, in the year of 1881. William Keleher provided sufficient information and first-hand reports in his book, for which it was perceived as a invaluable masterpiece on the western history.

In 1969, Rydal press published “Memoirs 1892 1969”, another book by William Keleher. In this book, he told readers about the events he witnessed in his lifetime. Mainly, the book contained biographical information. The author called the book a combination of autobiography, biography, narrative and memoir. He also said that this book was written especially for New Mexicans of good heart. The book was republished after several years.

In 1945, came The Fabulous Frontier, another quality work by Keleher. University of New Mexico Press brought out this 338-page book. In 1962, there was a re-print of The Fabulous Frontier.

William Keleher encountered enormous challenges in finishing “Turmoil in New Mexico, 1846-1868”, a study of truly professional quality. The book which was written in 1952 reflected the investigative skills he obtained through legal practice, sophisticated techniques and sheer love of the subject matter.

Keleher’s expertise in literary works was also seen in his short writings. They mainly dealt with New Mexico history and included longer essays and newspaper articles.

What is most impressive about the writer William Keleher is that he did not show any negligence to either of his two most demanding tasks (practicing law and writing). William Keleher's law practice required regular office hours which he was always faithful. The research and writing of each of his books needed a discrete set of hours as he was careful not to let his literary work breach into his first profession.

William A. Keleher was not only a great lawyer but also an effective writer. His books are considered invaluable from historical perspective.

Submitted by:

Julia Keleher

Keleherauthored some of the premier works on the Southwest: "Maxwell Land Grant,"1942; "Fabulous Frontier," 1945; "Turmoil in New Mexico, 1846-1968," 1952;"Violence in Lincoln County," 1957; and "Memoirs" 1969. and "New Mexicans IKnew." Purchase the Books of William A. Keleher in .PDF format online at www.williamkeleher.com




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