TCHS: Public Lecture On White Sisters Legacy

Elizabeth White. Courtesy/TCHS photo
TCHS News:
The Taos County Historical Society announces its 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 public lecture “The Legacy of El Delirio: The White Sisters’ Remarkable Legacy” presented by Nancy Owen Lewis, Scholar in Residence at School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe.
The lecture is sponsored, in part, by the Historical Society of New Mexico and its Speaker’s Bureau. The program takes place in the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Boardroom, 118 Cruz Alta Road in Taos. The talk is free and open to the public.
In the mid 1920’s, Elizabeth White and her younger sister Martha came from New York City to Santa Fe, where they built a fabulous estate called El Delirio or the Madness. It boasted a swimming pool and tennis courts, the first in Santa Fe, as well as a state-of-the-art kennel for their Irish wolfhounds and Afghans. Inspired by their education at Bryn Mawr College, the White sisters lobbied for the protection of Pueblo land, promoted Indian art and gave fabulous parties.
They entertained numerous writers, such as Agatha Christie. Their enduring legacy, which includes Santa Fe’s first animal shelter as well as their estate – bequeathed in 1972 to the School for Advanced Research – is examined in their illustrated presentation by Nancy Owen Lewis.
Owen Lewis has a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts and is a scholar-in-residence at the School for Advanced Research. She has conducted extensive research on the White sisters, as discussed in A Peculiar Alchemy: A Centennial History of SAR, co-authored with Kay Hagan (SAR Press). Her other publications include the award-winning Chasing the Cure in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health (Museum of New Mexico Press). She has published five articles on the health seeker movement, including “High and Dry in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health,” which received the 2013 Gilberto Espinosa Award from the New Mexico Historical Review.
She serves on the board of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, is vice president of the Historical Society of New Mexico, a member of the City of Santa Fe Public Safety Committee and a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology.
The Historical Society of New Mexico is a 501c3 non-profit organization makes grants to local historical societies in the state to help their programs and to provide speakers for meetings.
The Taos County Historical Society is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a purpose “…preserving the history of the Taos area…”. For additional information on membership in the society, visit
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