Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo–Linguist, Preservationist & Museum Founder

Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo (1903-1999) grew up in a world filled with the exuberance of art, history, archaeology and the pursuit of knowledge. She spoke several languages before she started school and continued to learn more during her lifetime. Her accomplishments in writing, poetry, art and archaeology gave her access to every part of Santa Fe’s cultural life. She did research work for the Smithsonian Institution in the field of Native American languages in New Mexico and Washington, D.C. with John P. Harrington. Her desire to provide an outlet for local Spanish New Mexican craftsman prompted her creation of The Native Market, a place for artisans to sell their traditional folk art and furniture during the difficult times of the 1930s. After World War II, she met and married Finnish Consul, Y.A. Paloheimo. Together they founded international cultural organizations and museums. The family home in Pasadena served as the Finnish Consulate and was an active center of social and diplomatic events. The family property in La Cienega, New Mexico was restored to become the living history museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas.

Photograph by Ansel Adams, 1928

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