Leonora Scott Muse Curtin—Young Widow, Author & Respected Ethnobotanist

Leonora Scott Muse Curtin (1879-1972) first came to Santa Fe with her mother, Eva, as a small child. She had a lifelong interest in the art and archaeology of Spanish and Native American New Mexico. She met her husband, Thomas E. Curtin, in Santa Fe where he was a lawyer in the District Attorney’s office. After their marriage, they lived in Colorado Springs where he developed railroads and resorts. He died when their daughter Leonora was eight years old, and the two Leonoras went to live in Pasadena. Mother, daughter, and grandmother traveled together around the world. Founding members of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, the two Leonoras especially loved New Mexico. Together they purchased the property in La Cienega that later became the living history museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas. Mrs. Curtin collected information about the varieties and uses of local herbs and plants by both the Native American and Spanish American cultures interviewing local friends, curanderas, and native healers. This research resulted in two highly readable and respected books, By The Prophet of the Earth and Healing Herbs of the Upper Rio Grande.