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Thomas E. Chávez

Research Associate




Photo: Thomas  Chavez

Dr. Thomas E. Chávez is an independent researcher, consultant, and historian with a PhD from the University of New Mexico. In 2004, he retired as the Executive Director of the National Hispanic Culture Center in Albuquerque. Before that, he was Director of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico for twenty-one years. He has published numerous book reviews, articles, nine books, and wrote a monthly Sunday article for The Santa Fe New Mexican. He recently helped the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art begin an endowment and consulted for the University of New Mexico Press and the New Mexico Women's Forum.

As an LAII Research Associate, Chávez's current research focuses on the history of Benjamin Franklin, whom the Spanish always referred to as Dr. Franklin, from his early correspondence with the Prince of Spain through his election as an honorary member of the Spanish Royal Academy of History, corresponded and negotiated with Spanish officials and intellectuals. The success of Franklin's encounters with Spain led directly to the establishment of the United States and effectively hid the record of his efforts from common knowledge. While Franklin's connection to Spain can be gleaned from American sources a whole new and refreshing side to the story is housed in the archives of Spain. The Franklin in the Archives of Spain Project has embarked on an effort to retrieve those never before used records and publish them in annotated form so that students of Franklin, US independence, and the inception of US Hispanic relations can be studied from a new perspective.