Helping Researchers For Over 100 Years

Look what we found!

Cronin Memo


It’s a page from a notepad that belonged to Con Cronin, tucked into the pages of a the 1913 Civil Code, which we recently had rebound! More on that below.




Con Cronin was the first State Librarian of Arizona. His actual title was State Law & Legislative Reference Librarian. The State Library was established on March 24, 1915 (Laws 1915, Chapter 62, page 156 of PDF). Con Cronin was appointed by name in the enacted provision. Along with his extensive duties to organize and manage the new state library, he had a role in the legislative process:


Session laws, State of Arizona, 1915, Second Legislature, Regular Session, First and Second Special Sessions

He served until 1932.

We tried to decipher the tidy penciled notes that were taken on the Con P. Cronin notepad. Apparently it is the 2nd page of a research request:


It appears that Mr. Cronin had been asked about the process for paying or showing payment of the Road Tax, but the citation doesn’t match: Paragraph 505 (page 351 of PDF) pertains to legal grounds for postponement of a trial.

The 1913 Revised Statutes governed road taxes in Paragraph 5056 and the following sections. As if we needed a reminder that 1913 was a long time ago, Arizona’s law in 1913 provided for collection of a tax to maintain the roads. The law stated that “every able-bodied male resident of the state, over twenty-one years and under sixty years of age…shall be required to pay a road tax of two-dollars per annum to be collected by the county tax collector…”. Upon payment, the resident would receive a receipt. Here’s the provision from 1913 R.S. §5056:


The provision had also appeared in the 1901 Revised Statutes of the Arizona Territory, at §3964 (page 996 of the PDF).

This seems to answer the patron’s question. And here we are, some 105 years later, still answering patrons’ research questions about Arizona legal history.

Law and State Government Research

If you’re looking for information about Arizona state government or Arizona law, we have a great place for you to start.

state seal

We’ve assembled a collection of state agency histories that summarize many of the agencies, boards, and commissions that work to carry out laws enacted by the State Legislature. There are currently almost 150 agencies, boards, and commissions, both current and repealed or absorbed, on our website.

Each history provides a revision date so you can tell how current the information is. Attempts are made to update the histories on an annual basis, with an exception for those that no longer exist. Agencies led by an elected official (eg., Governor’s Office, Secretary of State) are not included.

The histories are in alphabetical order and are also searchable not only by title, but by the information within each history.

agency hx

You can start here for the statutes that authorized the agency, a description of the work it does, whether it is headed by an executive director or board. You can also read about how its responsibilities have changed over time, and a list of statutes, regulations, audits, websites, and other useful information. Links are provided where possible so that researchers can view the primary resource for themselves.

That’s a good place to start.

But if you need assistance, you can always reach us Monday through Friday 8am-4pm at the Polly Rosenbaum History and Archives Building, by calling us at (602)926-3270, or by sending us your question.

Happy researching!

Happy Birthday, Pluto!

pluto numbers

On February 18th, Pluto turns 89 years old- well, the discovery of Pluto anyway! This controversial planet/not planet/dwarf planet was discovered in our very own backyard, in Flagstaff, Arizona at the Lowell Observatory. A young, 23-year-old Clyde Tombaugh discovered the small planet 14 years after Percival Lowell passed away- Lowell working desperately to discover ‘Planet X’. The method in which Tombaugh spotted the planet is fascinating and can be read about here.



Tombaugh was originally from Streator, Illinois, but graduated with his bachelor and master’s degrees in astronomy from the University of Kansas- but not until 8 years AFTER his discovery! Tombaugh is credited for discovering numerous asteroids as well. Four years before the discovery, he was building homemade telescopes in his parents’ farm field. He began working at the Lowell Observatory after he sent them drawings of Jupiter and Mars. After graduating from Kansas, he returned to Arizona where he taught naval navigation at Northern Arizona University during World War II. He retired from New Mexico State University in 1973 where he taught astronomy.


pluto harvardThe discovery was exciting news, especially during the Great Depression. News made its way around the world, with telegrams being sent from observatory to observatory, news outlet to news outlet.


pluto letter


The name Pluto was chosen after a competition was created seeking suggestions. The winner would win about $480 USD (in today’s dollars). Lowell Observatory received over 1,000 suggestions, but 11-year-old Venetia Burney from Oxford, England would win with her suggestion of Pluto.




pluto vebtia


The discovery was a proud moment for Arizona and arguably helped solidify Arizona and its Universities as players in the space race, astronomy, and geosciences.

Want more?

If you are interested in diving a little deeper into Pluto’s discovery, the Lowell Observatory, or astronomy in general, check out the two collections on the Arizona Memory Project created by the Lowell Observatory (a third is in the works!).


pluto researchWe also have a Research Topic page with additional links: Discovering Pluto at Lowell Observatory, which is in the process of being updated.


pluto gale

Our Gale Science in Context database also has several resources on Pluto and other planets.


pluto observatory


On Reading Arizona, our free online e-book library, you can find the book “Observatories of the Southwest“, which includes information about major observatories of the region, including Arizona’s Kitt Peak National Observatory and Lowell Observatory.




pluto booksAnd our Arizona Collection and State Publications have SEVERAL University of Arizona Press books about Pluto, which can be viewed in our Reading Room or requested via interlibrary loan from your local public library.

And we even have a book by Tombaugh himself: Out of the Darkness, the Planet Pluto.


Happy birthday, Pluto!

And happy researching!