The Father of “El Pal”


El Palacio’s longevity can be attributed in large part to its first editor, Paul A. F. Walter. Shown in this photograph seated at his desk in the Palace of the Governors about 1913, Walter was the editorial voice of “El Pal” for forty-four years. He guided the publication through two world wars, a depression, and into the Space Age. He ended his long editorial run in December 1957, but his name remained on the masthead as editor emeritus through the end of 1959.

Previously published in the pages of El Palacio, this photograph was cropped to focus only on Walter, excluding the woman, presumably a secretary, occupied with typing adjacent to his desk. Here, we publish the full image to honor this unknown, but no doubt hardworking, member of the original El Palacio staff.

A former newspaperman, Walter was a reporter (and later owner) of the Santa Fe New Mexican from 1899 through 1912. The photograph indicates that he still maintained an interest in regional news. Folded on his desk is a copy of what appears to be a newspaper from Raton, and in the trash can is a discarded front page of a Roswell paper. During its first two years, issues of El Palacio were designed in a large, four-column newspaper format, a likely holdover from Walter’s earlier publishing experience. In October 1916, he converted to a much smaller folded pamphlet, a format that would continue through his retirement in 1959.

David Rohr is the creative director of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and has served as El Palacio’s art director since 2005. He previously wrote “Creating the Museum of New Mexico 1909–2009,” El Palacio 114 (1, Spring 2009).