The Genesis of the Women’s International Study Center

With the passing of the last of the three women of Acequia Madre House™, Leonora Curtin Paloheimo, in 1999, an analysis began of the merits of the house and its holdings in order to determine an appropriate future use. With the leadership of Paul Halme, a friend of the Paloheimos and executor of their estate, Bunny Huffman was employed to study the records, photographs and documents left in the house. Huffman soon realized that the women had left an exceptionally rich archive of their lives. As Huffman introduced scholars and researchers to this wealth of material, it became apparent that there was great interest and a need to make the material available to the scholarly community. With support from the Paloheimo Foundation, Acequia Madre House™ was established as a charitable 501(c)(3) organization with Bunny Huffman as Executive Director. A study was commissioned to determine how best to preserve the house and property, make the archive accessible and perpetuate their work. It was determined that a women’s study center would be the most appropriate vehicle for this purpose.

In the fall of 2011, a Founders Committee was established to further develop the concept. With the goal of honoring the three women by advancing the work of present-day scholars, the programs of WISC were established and refined by the distinguished WISC Academic Advisory Committee. The Women’s International Study Center held its founding ceremony on June 23, 2013.