On Feb. 14, 1912, Arizona became the 48th state, and the last of the contiguous states, to join the Union. Known as the "Valentine State," Arizona’s path to statehood was marked by a pioneering spirit, intermittent achievement and political debate. "Becoming Arizona: The Valentine State" re-creates the colorful story of Arizona’s path to statehood. This yearlong exhibition is on display from Aug. 22 to May 30 in the gallery at Special Collections.
"Becoming Arizona" features a selection of maps, books, photographs, letters, scrapbooks and unique items selected from Special Collections’ extensive Southwest and Borderlands holdings. The exhibit documents the experiences and stories that defined the region during the colonial period, territorial times and the years leading up to 1912 statehood.
Included in "Becoming Arizona" is the 1848 Tratado de Paz, the official Mexican printing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Also included is William Oury’s handwritten speech that seeks to defend his role in the killing of Apache women and children at the Camp Grant massacre of 1871. A scrapbook compiled by George W.P. Hunt, Arizona’s first governor, offers news clippings and photographs that reflect the issues leading up to, and following, Arizona statehood.
"Becoming Arizona" also highlights a number of firsts for the state:
- The first newspaper printed in Arizona Territory, the Weekly Arizonian, printed in Tubac beginning in 1859;
- The first book published in the new state, the provisional Arizona Constitution, printed in Tubac in 1860;
- Arizona Territory’s first legal code, the 400-page "Howell Code," adopted in 1864;
- The establishment of the first university, the University of Arizona, in 1885.
Curated by Chrystal Carpenter, manuscript and congressional archivist; Erika Castaño, digital archivist; and Roger Myers, librarian. "Becoming Arizona: The Valentine State" is part of a statewide celebration of the Arizona centennial.