Thursday, December 07, 2006 - The land serves as writer's muse - The land serves as writer's muse: "

The land serves as writer's muse
Like the Canadian explorers and diarists before him, Seán Virgo lets his surroundings shape his writing
Dec. 4, 2006. 06:30 AM

Sitting in the stone-tiled kitchen of his publisher's Rosedale home, relaxing in customary jeans and pullover, Seán Virgo does not look out of place. But this is a man whose natural habitat is the natural habitat.
You can see him in his element, walking over the ridges near his home in Eastend, Sask., striding up a prairie highway, or wandering through tall grasslands in a recent 13-part series, Middle of Somewhere, for the Saskatchewan Communications Network. Virgo both wrote and hosted the series, an exploration of his adopted province.
You can also find the landscapes that make up his life on the pages of Begging Questions (Exile Editions), Virgo's new book of short stories. Or, should you be so fortunate as to spend a bit of time with him, you can hear about them in his conversation.
Behind this author of a dozen books of poetry and fiction you can imagine a line of Canadian writers devoted to the land — from the early explorers, like Jacques Cartier and David Thompson who captured it in their journals, to the settler sisters Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill, Charles G.D. Roberts, Ernest Thompson Seton, Grey Owl and, in our own age, Roderick Haig-Brown and Farley Mowat.
In fact, a book Virgo edited, The Eye in the Thicket, is an anthology of co"

Rock Piles: Hunter's Signs - an illustration by Ernest Seton Thompson

Rock Piles: Hunter's Signs - an illustration by Ernest Seton Thompson: "Hunter's Signs - an illustration by Ernest Seton Thompson
A favorite childhood author had this page (reprinted in the 'Big Book of Country Living' p.162) illustrating what he called 'Hunter's Signs'. Although he was writing mostly about plains Indians, I think it is clear that this is one type of rock-on-rock usage.
posted by pwax at 1:22 PM "

Monday, December 04, 2006

Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson Papers, 1903-1940 : Biographical/Historical Note

Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson Papers, 1903-1940 : Biographical/Historical Note: "Grace Gallatin was born in Sacramento, California on January 28, 1872. In 1888 she began writing articles for San Francisco newspapers under the pen name of Dorothy Dodge, and in 1892 graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute, in Brooklyn, NY. She married Ernest Thompson Seton in 1896, a founder of the Boy Scouts of America. Their daughter Ann (known as 'Anya') was born in 1904. Active for women's rights, Grace Seton served as vice president and president of the Connecticut Woman's Suffrage Association (1910-20), was president of Pen and Brush (1898-1939), and with her husband, helped to organize the Girl Pioneers (later the Camp Fire Girls) in 1910. During World War I, she organized and directed a women's motor unit to aid soldiers in France. She was President of the National League of Pen Women from 1926 to 1928 and from 1930 to 1932. She helped organize an international conference of women writers at the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933 and arranged an exhibit of 3,000 books by women, which later became the core of the Biblioteca Femina at Northwestern University. In the 1920s and 1930s Seton visited Japan, China, Indochina, Hawaii, Egypt and Latin American and later wrote books about her travels, including A Woman Tenderfoot (1900) and A Woman Tenderfoot in Egypt (1923), Chinese Lanterns (1924), Yes, Lady Saheb (1925). Seton divorced in 1935. In the 1940s she followed Yogananda, traveling to his ashrams. She died in Palm Beach, Florida, March 19, 1959."

Life Traces: Raitt

The Setons at Home: Organizing a Family Biography
Lucinda H. MacKethanDepartment of EnglishNorth Carolina State University
Houses are some of America's greatest storytellers and function in any culture as powerful social symbols. The double meaning of "House," which Edgar Allan Poe understood so well when he wrote his classic story "The Fall of the House of Usher," demonstrates how the house-as-structure in its physical design can become a telling statement of identity, taste, class, place, training, and heritage. In terms of semiotics, the study of sign systems and the conventions governing their interactions, the house as "form" signals the symbolic as well as genealogical ligatures of family. Poe was able with great economy in his story to expose and explore one man's full life through intertwining descriptions of Usher's family lineage and the residence in which he dwelled. The linguistic association of House with Nation-State is another significant nineteenth century usage to consider, as when Abraham Lincoln, in 1858, presented in simple domestic terms his nation's terrible dilemma: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Across the Atlantic, in 1860, the year that saw the United States reach the last stage of its unalterable dividedness before the cataclysm of war, Ernest Thompson Seton was born in the rugged Northumberland region of England. Forty years later he was well on his way to becoming a standard bearer of a new American century at its supremely confident beginning. To frame the story of the Seton family in America -- father Ernest, mother Grace, and daughter Anya -- through the houses that they themselves built between 1900 and 1951, is to have a way to contain, to "house" so to speak, their lives -- geographically, psychologically, and socially - as successful writers, as prominent American personalities, and as a complex and ultimately failed family.
Life Traces: Raitt

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Quest for Buffalo Wind

Collectors of Seton memorabilia are an interesting group.. It isn’t really clear how big the universe of Seton collectors really is. Of course, there are lots of people who collect Scout memorabilia and as one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America and one who greatly influenced the development of Scouting worldwide, for some, Seton material stands alongside Baden-Powell and Dan Beard material as some of Scouting’s most sought-after memorabilia. And some of Scouting’s most avid collectors are members of the Order of the Arrow. Since Seton’s ideas clearly influenced the founders of the Order, many Arrowmen have a special interest in Seton.

Still, it isn’t very clear how many hard-core Seton collectors there are. (One person who is one of the very elite group who generate their income from matters related to Seton calls them “Setonistas.” We sort of know each other. Many have bid against each other. We may know each other better by our eBay handles than by our real names. Among others, we know that Seton remains enormously popular in Japan.

For me, Buffalo Wind was the Holy Grail of Seton collecting. Buffalo Wind was published in 1938. It was a small booklet, a pamphlet really, printed by the Seton Village Press, set by Maurice Taylor in the Press’s characteristic Lydian type. It was bund in buffalo hide, probably by Marceil Taylor, Maurice’s wife and partner in operating the Seton Village Press.

What made Buffalo Wind special was two things. One is its very small quantity – 200 signed and numbered copies. The other is its spiritually autobiographical content.

I have been something of a Seton collector for a long, long time. To one degree or another, over 30 years, and pretty seriously for the past 15 years. And I have chase Buffalo Wind all over the country. I have traveled regularly on business for years and have made a hobby of spending idle time on the road looking through used and antiquarian bookstores.

The internet has, of course, radically changed the business of collecting anything. I like to tell people that one thing the internet, both Google and eBay, has clarified is rarity., Things that I once thought very rare and that I was therefore willing to spend heavily for are now readily available on eBay auctions or on such websites as ABE Books. Others that I might not have thought of as particularly rare seldom ever com available.

For example, one book I thought was pretty rare was one of Serton’s last published works, Santana Hero Dog of France. It was, at least theoretically, an edition of 500 with 300 signed by Seton. Today, it shows up on eBay with regularity and several copies are usually available through ABE Books. Dee Seton Barber later told me that she had had boxes of Santana and had given them away over the years.

Buffalo Wind, on the other hand was rare before the internet and still rare today.

My family knew of my quest for Buffalo Wind and all sorts of people,. Most with only the most casual interest in Seton, have helped me in the search.

In the pre-eBay, “bulletin boiard world of the internet, I found it for sale once, but was too late.

I have seen it on eBay approximately four times.

I have a strong memory of being in Denver on a business trip in days long before ubiquitous broad band in hotels, trying to bid on a copy of Buffalo Wind. I wasn’t exactly outbid, I just couldn’t bid very fast and the auction closed. My trail had taken me close to Buffalo Wind, but the trail became cold again.

One day, I again found it on eBay, this time being sold by a Tulsa book dealer. At this particular point in time, I felt financially stable enough to bid aggressively and, thankfully, broad band internet had found its way to our casa. It was an exciting auction close and I was successful. I quickly sent payment, although I felt guilty about how much I’d spent. (My wife has been very supportive in this quest.. She owns a Seton rarity in its own right – a hand-colored copy of the Indian Costume Book. That is also one of the most collectible Seton items.)

It is a funny feeling when a 10 + year pursuit comes to a close. All of my family was excited. When the package arrived, we made an event of it. The family gathered around and I sat in “Dad’s Chair” in the living room.

To set the stage, I read the description of Buffalo Wind from Bulletin in Bold Letters, Maurice Taylor’s book about the Seton Village Press.

Then I opened the package and carefully examined the contents. I quickly became concerned. This copy of Buffalo Wind was not bound in buffalo hide. And it was neither signed by Ernest Thompson Seton nor numbered.

I felt sick. Not only was it clear that the quest for Buffalo Wind was not over as I had thought, but I had spent a lot of money on the wrong thing. Lots of questions crossed my mind, including, at least briefly, “Have I been defrauded?”

Then I picked back up my copy of Bulletin Bold Letters and read Taylor’s account of the proofs he had made of Buffalo Wind. He says there no more than 25.

I examined my copy of Buffalo Wind and quickly discovered that my copy was one of those proofs. And while Maurice Taylor said there may have been 25, I am unaware of any in the hands of a collector of even a museum, including Philmont. I felt a little funny still that I really didn’t have the Buffalo Wind that I had been seeking, but I did have something that was very rare. After we all calmed down, we were happy with the addition to our library’s Seton collection, but we All knew that the quest would continue.

That was six or seven years ago. I did not catch the scent of Buffalo Wind again until a couple of weeks ago. A copy showed up on eBay. The buffalo hide cover was very worn and a binding string was broken. Nevertheless, I chose to bid. And I won. I got it for a lot less than my other copy, but at least I will have a “real” copy of Buffalo Wind.

Is my quest over? I won’t know until I actually see what I’ve got. But, if this copy is in really bad shape, I will keep looking.

Isn’t that what collectors do?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Reckonings: a journal of justice, hope and history: Annie Dillard on Silence

Reckonings: a journal of justice, hope and history: Annie Dillard on Silence

The New Mexican, In brief, 11/14/2006

In brief, 11/14/2006: "By THE NEW MEXICAN
November 14, 2006
Seton Castle plans still in limbo

A year after a fire destroyed Seton Castle, its owner doesn't know what will be rebuilt on the site south of Santa Fe.

Ernest Thompson Seton, a naturalist who founded the Boy Scouts of America and the Woodcraft League, built the 32-room, 6,900-square-foot house between 1934 and 1946.

In 2003, a nonprofit called the Academy for the Love of Learning bought the Seton Village house from Seton's daughter, put its artworks, books and other materials in storage and began a renovation. On Nov. 15, 2005, a fire left only a few walls of the dwelling standing.

The academy's education resource coordinator, Donato Jaggers, said Monday that he continues to work with the insurance company over the settlement.

'Something will be built out there,' he said. 'We don't know exactly what it is at this point, and we can't exactly say when we're going to start because we don't know when this insurance process is going to be finished.'" - Plans for Santa Fe’s Seton Castle undetermined - Plans for Santa Fe’s Seton Castle undetermined

Wednesday, November 08, 2006



The Academy for the Love of Learning in Santa Fe is pleased to announce the opening of an on-line exhibition of images by Ernest Thompson Seton. You can visit it at:

From our collection of hundreds of Seton’s artworks, curator and scholar David L. Witt has selected forty-five works on paper and three paintings. Seton’s remarkable career as a writer, social innovator, and naturalist is beautifully illustrated by the work in this collection which includes his first Canadian drawings, student work, and animal characters, as well as birds, mammals, and woodcraft design illustrations from the 1870s to the 1930s.

We are seeking support in restoring and framing this art. Please consider joining with us in preparing this beautiful collection for its showing on the walls of the gallery the Academy is planning to build at Seton Village.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Another Article about Pete Seeger mentioning Seton: Time to stand up for what you believe: An Article from The New Yorker

Time to stand up for what you believe: An Article from The New Yorker: "Wednesday, July 26, 2006
An Article from The New Yorker
I can't help but share this article about Pete Seeger...

The New Yorker
April 17, 2006


Pete Seeger and American folk music.


It was the ambition of the singer and songwriter Pete Seeger, as a child, in the nineteen-twenties, to be an Indian, a farmer, a forest ranger, or possibly an artist, because he liked to draw. He went to Harvard, joined the tenor-banjo society, and studied sociology in the hope of becoming a journalist, but near the end of his second year he left, before taking his exams, and rode a bicycle north from New York through New England. He was tall and thin and earnest and polite. He would make a watercolor sketch of a farm from the fields, then knock on the farmhouse door and ask if he could trade the drawing for a meal.

In the nineteen-forties, Seeger was a member of a group called the Almanac Singers, which included Woody Guthrie. The name derived from their belief that many farming homes had two books: a Bible and an almanac. The Almanac Singers appeared mainly at strikes and at rallies held to support the rights of laborers. Seeger says that they were 'famous to readers of the Daily Worker,' the newspaper of the Communist Party. When the Almanac Singers broke up, Seeger played on his own for a while, then became a member of the Weavers, whose version of 'Goodnight Irene,' by Leadbelly, was, for thirteen weeks in 1950, the best-selling record in America. The Weavers quit playing in 1952, after an informant told the House Un-American Activities Committee that three of the four Weavers, including Seeger, were Communists. (See"

House-Holmes: The Pacing Detective of House MD - Guide

House-Holmes: The Pacing Detective of House MD - Guide: "The Pacing Detective
During the summer hiatus there hasn't been much to write home about but my tiny mind has been pacing much the same way Holmes paces when thinking about a case.

When I was a kid, I read everything written by a man named Ernest Thompson Seton. He wrote pretty up front and honest animal stories. They weren't all happy and cute. Some of them were downright cruel. But it taught a little girl about the vagaries of Nature. How She can be truly wonderful and then suddenly downright evil. I recommend them.

The subject heading of this post is a play on Seton's 'The Pacing Mustang' and I use it because I did my homework. While there are far too many stories to quote in which Holmes paces during a case......well, that's my point exactly.

Both House and Holmes pace when concentrating.

That might be an apt comparison but, as with everything in House, it's not cut and dried. Holmes paced to think and to burn nervous energy. House does 8,000,000 other things to get the same effect....the pacing isn't quite the focus that Doyle made of Holmes'.

Also, of note, House paces when he's in pain. Holmes did not. House uses it more to work through the agony of his 'bum leg' than to think. For thinking he has the BOUO (Ball of Unknown Origin) and his cane. (Among other things.)

(Shallow shameless request, Shore & Co., when we get Citizen Cane to make a return appearance could we puhlease go back to the Derby Cane? I know that it's fun to watch House play jai alai against the wall with the shepherd's crook but it's just lost a certain j'en c'est qua.)

Whining is so unattractive. LOL

Interestingly enough, over on, there is a discussio"

Seton Art Exhibit Premiers on Academy Website

The Academy for the Love of Learning has launched a virtual exhibit of Seton's work on its website at . This exhibit gives interested people the opportunity to "adopt" the conservation and framing of these pieces, which will be on display when the Academy's facility at Seton Village is completed. This is a great exhibit and a great opportunity to support the preservation of these works.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Passions in Print

I am in Santa Fe for my semiannual (or so) visit. Today, I visited the exhibit entitled "Lasting Impressions: The Private Presses of New Mexico" at the Palace of the Governors. It is a very interesting exhibit and there is a nice section on the Seton Village Press. There are several books on exhibit, including The Indian Costume Book by Julia Seton, which is bound in wood and includes hand-colored plates (in a limited number of copies). What a beautiful book it is. A hand-colored copy is a prize part of our collection (it actually belongs to my wife).

The exhibit's guest curator is Pamela Smith, the former director of The Press of the palace of the Governors. She has also written a book entitled Passions in Print: Private Press Artistry in New Mexco 1834-Present. It has a chapter on the Seton Village Press. It is available from and the usual sources.

Another interesting book is Bulletin in Bold Letters A Bibliography of The Seton Village Press by Maurice Taylor The Press of the Palace of the Governors(1990). Taylor operated the Seton Village Press along with his wife, Marceil.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Red Lodge by ETS?

Hi Gang,

I am trying to do some Woodcraft League related research, and I keep coming across references to “the Red Lodge”, by Ernest Thompson Seton, and I am now trying to find a way to view its contents. The published bibliographies seem to indicate that only 100 copies were printed of “The Red Lodge”, but beyond that I haven’t really been able to find out much if anything about the book itself. Things like, how long it is, the physical dimensions, is it illustrated, its own bibliography/works sited pages, and that sort of thing.

If you possess a copy of this, and can share anything about it, please contact me!

If I can be of any assistance, please let me know,

Blue Skies!

Ps. I was first exposed to the Woodcraft league via my Grandmother, Gertrude Goodkind and Fay Welch, the founder of Tanager Lodge (, a summer camp that is still running and largely based on the Birch Bark Scroll, and Book of Woodcraft. Tanager Lodge is in the Northern Adirondacks of New York State.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Response to Pete from David Witt

I was delighted to read Pete Seeger's comments about ETS, especially "Seton was my guru" in regard to community sharing and working together based on a Native American model. I am sure ETS would be most pleased to have such a famous and important student. I hope that more such quotes from well known artists will show up over time.
David L. Witt
Seton Legacy Project, Academy for the Love of Learning

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An Interview with Pete Seeger

An Interview with Pete Seeger

Hudson Mohawk IMC: Pete Seeger - We Shall Overcome (mention's Seton's influence)

Hudson Mohawk IMC: Pete Seeger - We Shall Overcome: "Pete Seeger - We Shall OvercomeAuthor
Date Created
10 Apr 2006
More details...
Date Edited
02 May 2006
Current rating: 0
This work is in the public domain
Bruce Springsteen has just released a new album featuring songs popularized by Pete Seeger. Pete, from Beacon NY, is an activist as well as a musician, helping to start the environmental group Clearwater. Before the Byrds or Joan Baez or Peter, Paul and Mary, there was Pete Seeger. With his five-string banjo in hand, Seeger helped to lay the foundation for American protest music, singing out about the plight of everyday working folks and urging listeners to political and social activism.
When Will They Ever Learn?()
An Interview with Pete Seeger
By John W. Whitehead

“Any darn fool can make something complex;
it takes a genius to make something simple.”—Pete Seeger

Before the Byrds or Joan Baez or Peter, Paul and Mary, there was Pete Seeger. With his five-string banjo in hand, Seeger helped to lay the foundation for American protest music, singing out about the plight of everyday working folks and urging listeners to political and social activism.

Born in New York City on May 3, 1919, Seeger, whose father was a pacifist musicologist, was plunged into the world of music and politics from an early age. He studied sociology at Harvard University until 1938, when he dropped out and spent the summer bicycling through New England and New York, painting watercolors of farmers’ houses in return for food. Looking for but failing to get a jo"

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Here are links to Woodcraft-related sites in Poland: or ,,04&id=999
Blue Sky!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Photos from International Woodcraft Gathering

Here is a link to a large number of photos from last summer's international Woodcraft gathering in the U.K.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Memories of Dee

Editor's Note: I thought I would share a personal recollection of Dee Seton Barber. I hope some other poeople will share their's as well.

I thought I would share my story of meeting Dee Seton Barber. I have been very interested in all things Seton for well over 30 years.I have also always been attracted to New Mexico, having travelled there many times as a boy and as an adult. On many trips to Santa Fe, I wondered about just where Seton Castle and Seton Village were, but I never actually tried to find them. I was married in 1992 and took my wife to Santa Fe and Taos on ourhoneymoon. She indulged me by letting me spend some time trolling through the used book stores of Santa Fe. (Alas there are not nearly as many today as there were then.) Two different dealers encouraged us that day to visit Seton Village and one gave the directions. We drove out for a look. We drove around the village trying to figure out where we were. We got a peek at the Kiva and the Hogan. We stopped at a curious house that I now know was converted from a boxcar for use originally by the College of Indian Wisdom. The occupant of that house, an artist as I recall, told us how to get to the Castle. Somehow, I was expecting it to be obvious where to go, but fro where we were, it really wasn’t. I was more than a little hesitant, not being too used to knocking on doors uninvited. None the less, my wife Kathryn encouraged me and we walked up to the house and were greeted by Dale Barber. He told me that Dee Seton Barber was away for a minute but invited us in to wait. We spent several hours that day with Dee hearing her stories and dreams. She gave us a tour of the Castle, the memory of which has stayed crystal clear to me to this day. We were greeted very warmly and Dee opened herself and her home to us that day. I recall Dee’s stories of all the people who had come to Seton Castle over the years and the remarkable stories that came from Eastern Europe of surviving Woodcraft groups that had stayed active underground during the era of Communist domination and I recall the stories behind various artifacts in the house. I remember her very large library, some of which she had inherited and much of which she had collected in her own right. I also remember how open she was and how important it was for her to share the Seton legacy. For example, she told us of a neighbor asking to borrow a book by Theodore Roosevelt. She pulled the book from the shelf and showed the inscription to Ernest Thompson Seton from Theodore Roosevelt. Neveretheless, the encouraged the neighbor to borrow the book. Dee Seton Barber will be remembered by people from all over the world with whom she maintained an active correspondence.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Dee Seton Barber

I have just learned of the passing last Friday of Dee Seton Barber, daughter of Ernest Thompson Seton and Julia Seton.

Dee had suffered a long and serious illness. She and her husband Dale, who lived for much of their marriage in Seton Castle near Santa Fe, relocated to Bristol, Tennessee several years ago for health reasons.

Dee entertained thousands of guests at Seton Castle and was known world-wide as a proponent of her father's legacy and of Woodcraft.

We will all miss her very much and our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

The following obituary appeared in the Bristol Herald-Courier:

Barber, Dee

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Dee Seton Barber, 67, died Friday, Feb. 24, 2006, at her residence. She was born in Santa Fe, N.M., a daughter of the late Ernest Thompson and Julia Moses Seton. After extensive traveling, she moved to Bristol in 2000. She was a skilled needle worker and made Torah covers, was a life member of the community theater, was active in county elections and co-founder of the Hondo Volunteer Fire Department. She was an active in many crafts, a mandolin player and bookkeeper for the Jewish Temple in Santa Fe.She was preceded in death by her sister, Anya Seton. She is survived by her husband, Dale Barber; daughters, Julie Seton of Las Cruces, N.M., and Sherry Barber of Denver; sons, Daniel Seton Barber of Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii, and Micah Edward Barber of Bellingham, Wash.; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.Services will be private. Condolences and memories may be sent to the family by visiting Barber and her family are in the care of Oakley-Blevins Funeral Home, 417 Lee St., Bristol, Va.; (276) 669-6141.
Published in the Bristol Herald Courier on 2/25/2006.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


EDITOR'S NOTE: I just learned of the passing of Pablita Velarde, noted Pueblo artist with a definite Seton connection. This is her obituary from the New Mexican.

Painter ‘blazed a trail’ for Indian, female artists
By Soledad Santiago The New Mexican
The woman who honored her own Tewa birth name Tse Tsa — Golden Dawn — by creating bright and captivating paintings died in Albuquerque at 87 on Tuesday. Known to the world as Pablita Velarde, the Santa Clara Pueblo artist achieved international acclaim as an acutely observant traditionalist painter who managed to tell her cultural history in a variety of media even as she bent tradition to achieve her personal artistic goals. “She really blazed a trail both for Native American and women artists by following her dream from the time she was a young girl,” said Shelby Tisdale, director of Santa Fe’s Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. “The museum has been planning an exhibition of her work for the spring featuring all her paintings from Bandelier National Monument. Now it seems more important than ever to honor her lifetime of work.” Replete with exacting detail of native daily life, dress and ceremonies, Velarde’s work is also considered of immense ethnographic importance. Just last spring, Velarde was honored by the state Legislature when it declared Native American New Deal Art Day. At that time, she and Navajo artist Harrison Begay were the only living artists who had been part of New Mexico’s version of an important Depression Era program known as the Works Progress Administration (1933-1943). The federal agency paid artists to help them survive the Depression while documenting culture in its myriad forms. Velarde, who began by recording native hairstyles, ended up the first woman in the modern era to paint murals at Bandelier. Her works, which articulate Pueblo history, were recently restored when the state celebrated Bandelier’s 90th anniversary. During her tenure with the program, Velarde created more than 85 pieces. At the Roundhouse ceremony, Velarde said that she had not known how important the arts program would turn out to be. “Today, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot with my life,” she said. In 1933, she was asked to contribute a painting to the World’s Fair in Chicago. Critical acclaim followed. In 1938, Velarde and her work toured with writerartist Ernest Thompson Seton, who built Seton Castle outside Santa Fe. Teaching briefly at Santa Clara Day School, she is reputed to have been the first woman artist to build her own studio in New Mexico’s pueblos. Working in casein, tempera, oil and acrylic, she drew on an enormous well of inner strength in documenting pueblo life as she knew it. Sometimes she received unwanted attention for daring to paint in an era when most Indian women artists were still potters. In a 1979 interview with Las Cruces public television she said, “Painting was not considered women’s work in my time. A woman was supposed to be just a woman, like a housewife and a mother and chief cook. Those were things I wasn’t interested in.” By the 1950s, Velarde’s singleminded dedication to her art had made her the best-known woman artist in New Mexico’s pueblos. Her acclaim was international. She received the Palmes d’Académiques in 1954, The Waite Phillips Trophy in 1968 and the New Mexico Governor’s Award in 1977. Today Velarde’s work is found in private and public collections including the Museum of New Mexico, the Avery Collection at the Arizona State Museum, the Ruth and Charles Elkus Collection of Native American Art, and in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “Her work is a defining element in the aesthetic of the Southwest,” said Stuart Ashman, secretary of the Department of Cultural Affairs. “Pablita Velarde’s work gave the world a kind of sensitive glimpse into Native American life and sensibilities. Her almost musical depictions of animals and keenly observed moments in daily life made her extraordinary vision appear simple and accessible.” Velarde, was born in Santa Clara Pueblo in 1918 and lived much of the last 50 years in Albuquerque. Her body will be returned to her pueblo for burial according to native custom in a private ceremony. A celebration of her life will take place at Ventana Fine Art at 400 Canyon Road from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. The gallery, which represents Velarde’s granddaughter, noted painter Margarete Bagshaw-Tindel, is in the process of gathering samples of Velarde’s work as well as a portrait of the artist. Velarde is survived by her son, Herbert Oliver Hardin II; half-sister, Teresita Guiterrez; half-brother, Alfred Velarde of Ogden, Utah; as well as several grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Missing Photographs: Ernest Thompson Seton

I am currently doing research on a turn-of-the-twentieth-century photographer named Zaida Ben-Yusuf who created at least two portraits of Ernest Thompson Seton in the fall of 1899. I have attached to this e-mail halftone reproductions of the two images that appeared in popular periodicals at this time. I am trying to track down vintage prints of these two platinum photographs. If anyone knows about the whereabouts of these prints, please call or write me. Many thanks for your assistance with this query.

Frank H. Goodyear
Assistant Curator of Photographs
National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Victor Building, Suite 8300 -- MRC 973
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Phone: 202 275-1855

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Academy Comments on Press Reports regarding Seton Castle

January 3, 2006

In recent new bulletins in both newspapers and on the radio, it has been reported that Seton Castle, which was destroyed by fire on November 15th, 2005 probably won’t be rebuilt, but that we at the Academy for the Love of Learning plan to continue to use the land.

We are grateful that the public is being kept informed of our progress, but would like to take this opportunity to clarify our position. We truly do not yet know whether we will rebuild the Castle. Our intent is to take more time to reflect before deciding. We are still exploring the option of rebuilding, as well as other options, including, for example, retaining the remaining stone walls and incorporating them into something new that will reference the Castle.

Clearly the decision to rebuild or not is not one that affects only us. Many people in this community and beyond feel a deep connection to Seton Castle, the land there, and the work and legacy of Ernest Thompson Seton himself, and we have been deeply touched by the messages of support that we have received from so many since the fire. As you can imagine, this is not a decision we can take lightly and we wish to give ourselves the necessary time to assess fully the situation at the Castle in order to ensure that we take the right path forward.


Aaron Stern,
President, Academy for the Love of Learning.
1012 Marquez Place, Suite 308A,
Santa Fe, NM 87505.

Tel: 505 995 1860.