Dona Tules Lady Gambler of Santa Fe

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Date: May 21, 2009

NEWS RELEASE   u.s. department of the interior

National Park Service

For Immediate Release                                                       Frank Torres 425-8025


Dona Tules: Lady Gambler of Santa Fe

The National Park Service and Fort Union National Monument announces its’ monthly “Glimpses of the Past” presentation. The program will be held at the Citizen’s Committee for Historic Preservation/Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center, 116 Bridge St., in Las Vegas, Thursday May 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Perhaps no one is more misunderstood in New Mexico history that the lady gambler of Santa Fe. Dr. Irene Blea will tell her story dressed in period costuming. Dona Tules’ contribution to New Mexico history, the speculation and controversy about her, holds audience interest, increases knowledge and stimulates the imagination. She was well established and affluent when the US military and when American wagon trains arrived in Santa Fe. Americans were intrigued by her prominence, and have debated the contradictions of her life as the highly respected professional lady gambler, who could deal the Monte cards and win like no other, and have the most lavish funeral of the era.

Dr. Blea is a retired university professor whose first historical novel, Suzanna, will be released this summer. The award winning author, scholar, poet and public speaker's areas of specialization are the Santa Fe Trail, Race and Gender relations. She is a New Mexico native and NM Humanities Council lecturer who has written well over 30 articles and 7 books with an emphasis on women.

The “Glimpses of the Past” series of programs are presented to the public free of charge, in cooperation with the National Park Service, Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation (CCHP), and the New Mexico Humanities Council. For more information, you may contact Fort Union National Monument at (505) 425-8025, or visit the park website at






Last updated: February 24, 2015

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