- Image Galleries
- EVA SCOTT FÉNYES: BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES AND IMAGES
- LEONORA SCOTT MUSE CURTIN: BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES AND IMAGES
- LEONORA FRANCES CURTIN PALOHEIMO: BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES AND IMAGES
- WISC SYMPOSIUM 2014
- IN TRIBUTE: MARILYN MASON
- ACEQUIA MADRE HOUSE INTERIORS
- ACEQUIA MADRE HOUSE EXTERIORS
Leonora Frances Curtin was born in 1903, daughter of Leonora Scott Muse, and Thomas E. Curtin, an attorney, and granddaughter of Eva Scott Fényes. The Curtins had met in Santa Fe where Tom had worked at the attorney general’s office. They were married in early 1903 and settled in Colorado Springs where Tom Curtin was one of a group of energetic and ambitious entrepreneurs developing the region’s railroads and resorts.
Tom Curtin died in 1911, and the two Leonoras came home to Pasadena but traveled independently. In 1916 they came to Santa Fe, rented a home and became part of Santa Fe’s cultural community.
L to R, Back row [Mrs.]Leonora SM Curtin, Julius Rolshoven, Mrs. Rollins, Eva Scott Fényes Front row L to R Mrs. Rolshoven, [Miss] Leonora F.Curtin [later Paloheimo], Warren Rollins, Homer Grunn [composer] and Marsden Hartley 1919
Connected to the artistic and literary groups, the women were included as knowledgeable members of the scientific community as well because of their work with archaeologists such as Edgar Hewett and Frederick Hodge. The Curtins served on the boards of the Museum of NM and the School of American Research as well as the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles.
During the 1920s, the two Leonoras traveled a great deal visiting Japan, China, and other Southeast Asian countries spending almost a year in India in 1922-1923. On their return, they joined Eva to become founding members of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society.
Young Leonora had been assisting John P. Harrington, Smithsonian linguist and anthropologist, in the recording and notation of Native American languages at Zuni and on the Navajo Reservation. With Harrington, the two Leonoras developed an interest in the Moorish influences on the Spanish language, and also the uses of plants as herbal remedies in NM.where isolation had preserved practices brought to the New World by Spanish settlers 400 years before.
In 1931, the Leonoras journeyed to Morocco to meet with Arab scholars and brought back items that form part of the Harrington Collection at the Smithsonian Institution today.
Soon after, in 1933, the Curtins purchased a historic ranch fifteen miles south of Santa Fe. Called El Rancho de la Golondrinas, it had been a stopping place for travelers along the Camino Real for hundreds of years. A working farm, the Curtins leased out part of the property to a dairy and began to improve some of the old buildings for their own use.
During the difficult years of the Depression, Miss Leonora Curtin worked with Vocational Programs in New Mexico. She traveled to Washington with Brice Sewell to help convince the Federal Government to fund the vocational programs in the arts, making NM the first state to receive funding for "handicrafts". When the artisans had nowhere to sell their works, Leonora opened a shop called The Native Market.
The Native Market on Palace Avenue, Sheldon Parsons and Dolores Perrault in foreground 1934 Photo by T. Harmon Parkhurst
Located in downtown Santa Fe, the shop was a cooperative in which the craftsmen demonstrated their skills and assisted in running the shop. This innovation encouraged tourists to visit the shop to buy New Mexico art, and to watch it being made. Many artisans at work today in the traditional crafts are the descendants of these craftsmen. The Native Market was a huge success, and was featured in articles appearing in Vogue and other stylish magazines as an example of Santa Fe’s exotic charm. Over 200 families were supported by the shop.
Wedding photo, Leonora Frances Curtin and Y.A. Paloheimo Date 1946
Following World War II, George Paloheimo and Leonora Curtin were introduced by mutual friends. He had been in charge of building the Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. He was then appointed as its Commissioner General. The sophisticated pair’s shared interests in folk culture, art, languages and preservation quickly apparent, they were married in New York City in 1946. They settled in Pasadena at the family home. It became the Finnish Consulate in 1948.
Finland was still suffering from the aftermath of World War II when the Paloheimos adopted four Finnish children, Eva, Eric, George and Nina. The family divided their time between Santa Fe, Pasadena, and Finland.
Photo by Laura Gilpin
Together Leonora and Yrjö Paloheimo established and supported numerous international organizations and museums, such as El Rancho de las Golondrinas, the Pasadena Museum of History and created the Paloheimo Foundation to sustain them in the future.