Barbara Funkhouser Collection


Barbara Funkhouser; 1999


13 cu ft


Forty three scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and articles from the 1960s onward written by Barbara Funkhouser; Tom Starkweather manuscript regarding White Sands history; 35mm film reels.

Two scrapbooks belonging to Kenneth Watts Funkhouser: for individuals interested in World War I, this collection includes valuable references to U.S. naval history, U.S.N. destroyers and submarines, the first successful U.S. transatlantic flight, letters sent home, diaries, sea shanties and poems, naval photographs, menus, and uniform insignia.


Kenneth Watts Funkhouser was born in 1896 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Seaman Recruit in September 1914 until 1919, during which he kept diaries of his overseas adventures for his family to read after the war. These papers document his enlistment aboard the Destroyers USS Perkins and USS Stevens and provide important information about the ships’ activities. His sister, Christene Funkhouser Stillsen, created the two scrapbooks during the United States’ involvement in World War I from May 1917 to August 1919.

Kenneth died in January 1936 when his daughter, Barbara Funkhouser, was only 6 years old. He is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Las Cruces, NM.

Barbara Funkhouser was born March 1, 1930, at the Hotel Dieu in El Paso, TX. She was raised on her family’s farm in Fairacres, NM. After the death of her father, Kenneth Funkhouser, Barbara’s mother operated the farm with the help of hired laborers, including Mexican national workers and even German prisoners of war during WWII.

Barbara graduated from New Mexico State University in 1952 with a degree in English. Afterwards, Barbara spent six months in Europe as part of a 4-H Club exchange program, and then worked for five years for the 4-H organization in both Washington, D.C. and Chicago. She returned to New Mexico and was hired at the El Paso Times, where she eventually became the first woman editor of the Times.

After retiring from the El Paso Times in 1990, Barbara taught journalism courses at New Mexico State University and wrote editorials for the Las Cruces Sun-News. She was an important contributor to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Foundation from 1983 onwards.

Barbara continued to maintain her family’s farm until her death on August 15, 2014.



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