Guide to MS287 Jonathan R. Cunningham Collection, 1958-1978

Darlie A. Jacoby



Jonathan R. Cunningham, a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico, served as Director of Planning for the City of El Paso from 1958-1978. He received an undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University and a Master of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico. He later studied Public Administration and City Planning at the University of Chicago. He taught political science and coached track and field at Las Cruces High School. In 1940 he joined the United States Air Force and retired later from the Air Force Reserve as a colonel. Before coming to El Paso, he worked as Director of Planning for Spokane County in Washington from 1952-1956, and taught political science at Whitman College. While in the northwest he also worked as a consultant for local cities. As the Director of Planning for El Paso, Cunningham was instrumental in the Chamizal Settlement which set the boundary between the United States and Mexico. He also taught classes in municipal planning at the University of Texas at El Paso, the International City Managers Association, and the Texas Municipal League. He was married to Anne Cunningham and died in 1980.

The collection is composed primarily of research and municipal planning documents for the city of El Paso, Texas. These documents include studies and reports pertaining to development plans for the municipality as well as annual reports, and audits of the El Paso Planning Commission. The effects of the 1963 Chamizal Agreement as related to the city planning of El Paso and the sister city of Juarez, Mexico are documented in the collection, also.