John Tomlin


Beth Morgan


Bracero Oral History Project

Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee

John Tomlin was born on April 20, 1926 in Albuquerque, New Mexico; his father died of polio when he was an infant, leaving his mother to run the family farm on her own; he later went on to serve in the military, receive his master’s degree, and ultimately work as a farmer; from 1948-1964, he hired braceros to help him tend the land.

Summary of Interview

Mr. Tomlin recalls how his mother ran the farm after his father’s passing by using Italian and German POWs; in 1946, after finishing his tour of duty in the Army, he returned home and began attending New Mexico State University; the following year in 1947, he started running the farm on his own while he went to school; in 1948, he began hiring braceros; he used a crew of thirty men during the cotton harvest, which ran from mid September to the beginning of December; he had about six braceros who stayed on year-round driving tractors and irrigating; oftentimes, he had to go the El Paso Coliseum to hire workers because the working contracts needed to be renewed periodically; he provided housing with showers, utensils, and bedding in addition to equipment such as hoes, shovels, and boots for irrigating; the braceros often went home to México on holidays or to care for sick relatives; they did not work Saturday afternoons or on Sundays; he goes on to recount anecdotes of the braceros in general and stories of particular workers he was fond of.

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

127 minutes

Tape Number

No. 1572

Transcript Number

No. 1572

Length of Transcript

51 pages


Courtney Richards

Interview Number

No. 1572

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