THE NATIVE MARKET OF THE SPANISH NEW MEXICAN CRAFTSMAN, 1933-1940
FOREWORD TO THIS EDITION
George B. Paloheimo
When reflecting on the remarkable woman who was my mother, Leonora Curtin Paloheimo, I found it hard to keep from going into hyperbole. Cut from the same cloth as her grandmother, Eva Scott Fenyes, and mother, Leonora Scott Muse Curtin, she had a combination of talents inherited from both. She was a gifted artist, as was her grandmother, a creative writer (her letters were written with a rare combination of style and grace, and her command of the English language was exceptional), a shrewd business woman, and as warm and gracious a hostess as one could ever hope to meet.
All three women also had a passion for history, preservation and art, be it archeological, ethnic or regional. Mother never pursued her talent as a watercolorist, beyond painting for pleasure, but Iím sure if she had, she would have been successful. She did publish a small book of poetry, entitled Gallant Sprouts, and often wrote poetry as a form of relaxation.
Above all, Leonora Curtin Paloheimo was a warm, loving and concerned individual, as demonstrated by her and her husbandís adopting four Finnish orphans in the late 1940s, embracing the task of motherhood with enthusiasm and devotion.
This same generosity of spirit and determination to help is what was invaluable to her in the formation of Native Market. Possessed of the same spine of steel as her mother and grandmother, she was undaunted as she overcame the many obstacles she faced in her endeavors. That determination, combined with charm and guile, is what brought her dream of an outlet for New Mexican artists, trained in local arts and crafts, to sell their wares, a reality. Recognizing that these skills were rapidly disappearing, she was instrumental in creating training programs through the WPA, thus helping to save these traditions for the future, as shown by the success of the modern day Spanish Market in Santa Fe.
Her contributions to the cultural landscape of Santa Fe and northern New Mexico were not limited to the Native Market. She was, along with her mother, a founding member of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and a major contributor to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts, where the gift shop bears her name. She was also a board member and a major donor to the School of American Research, now known as the School of Advanced Research.
Her generosity to cultural and educational endeavors extended far beyond Santa Fe. Personal and Paloheimo Foundation donations of various types were made to the Southwest Museum in Highland Park, Pasadena, Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan, and the Finlandia Foundation. Her grandmotherís mansion in Pasadena, California, is now part of the Pasadena Historical Museum. Fully furnished as it was at the turn of the 20th century, this house museum is the only one still open to the public showing the elegant lifestyle of that era in Pasadena. In Finland, her husbandís family estate is now home of the Sibelius Academy. The Academyís alumni are spread throughout the world, and support by way of grants continues this day through the Paloheimo Foundation.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas is perhaps her most enduring legacy. This living history museum, depicting Spanish Colonial life in New Mexico, was the result of a multi-year collaborative effort by her and her husband, Y.A. Paloheimo. It is the only one of its kind in the state of New Mexico, and is a lasting monument to both of them.
I hope you enjoy reading this account of the Native Market, and Leonora Curtin Paloheimoís part in it, and thus gain an appreciation for the person she was.