Today in History: Plan de San Luis Potosí

Image credit: Everardo Ramírez, “El Plan de San Luis aterroriza a la dictadura,” from the Taller de Gráfica Popular portfolio, “450 años de lucha: Homenaje al pueblo mexicano,” 1960. Center for Southwest Research, UNM University Libraries. ZIM CSWR Pict Colls PICT 999-021-0061

Today marks the 110th anniversary of the Plan de San Luis Potosí, which initiated the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). Written by Francisco I. Madero while in exile in Texas, the Plan called for an end to Porfirio Díaz’s long presidential reign known as the Porfiriato, the provisional presidency for legitimate winner Madero, and for Mexicans to unite against despotism on November 20, 1910. This Plan helped set into action a series of events and people who shaped Mexican life, politics, and art for the next ten years, and to this very day.

Some years ago, we had the privilege of showing Sen. Jeff and Anne Bingaman’s collection of prints from Mexico’s Taller de Gráfica Popular, an artist’s print collective, founded in 1937, that focused on sociopolitical art to further the goals of the Revolution. For those that didn’t get a chance to see the exhibition in person, we have our virtual tour of “A Mexican Mirror: Prints from the Taller de Gráfica Popular” here for your enjoyment. ¡Qué viva la Revolución!

You can visit the virtual tour here: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=pEybDvTQAYX

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Dec 2, 2020, the next Friends of History 1st Weds Lecture: Cathleen Cahill presents Recasting the Vote.

Graphic with details of Dr. Cathleen Cahill’s lecture.

Join us December 2nd at 12pm (MST) on our Youtube channel for December’s 1st Wednesday Lecture.

Will be joined by Dr. Cathleen Cahill, Associate Professor of History at Penn State University. Professor Cahill will tell the powerful stories of a multiracial group of activists who propelled the national suffrage movement toward a more inclusive vision of equal rights. Most suffrage stories are centered in the East and the Southwest as an afterthought at best. But Cahill asks what happens when we refocus the lens to center the stories in NM and the wider region? This talk reveals that suddenly our suffrage history is more diverse and more complicated than we anticipated. She will especially focus on New Mexico by exploring the important role of Spanish-speaking suffragists, the activism of African American women, and the debate over the Native American right to vote.  With suffragists of color in the foreground, Cahill will recast the suffrage movement as an unfinished struggle that extended beyond the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Cathleen D. Cahill, PHD is associate professor of history at Penn State University and the author of Federal Fathers and Mothers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service, 1869–1933, winner of the 2011 Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award and finalist for the 2012 David J. Weber-Clements Prize, Western History Association.

The bookcover for Recasting the Vote by Cathleen D. Cahill

Friends of History is a volunteer support group for the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mission is to raise funds and public awareness for the Museum’s exhibitions and programs. Friends of History fulfills its mission by offering high quality public history programs, including the First Wednesday Lecture Series. For more information, or to join the Friends of History, go to friends-of-history.org

You can find a playlist of previous 1st Wednesday Lectures on our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/nmmuseum and also on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NewMexicoHistoryMuseum

Fred Harvey History Weekend: Nov 12-15, 2020

The Fred Harvey History Weekend logo.

For 10 years the New Mexico History Museum has played host to the series of lectures that are a part of the Fred Harvey History Weekend. This annual event is a chance for “Fred Heads” from all over to converge on Santa Fe an regale themselves in all things Fred Harvey.

This year, the weekend event produced by MightMakesWriteLLC is moving entirely online due the COVID-19 situation we are facing.

The full roster of Harvey related talks, along with the Saturday night Foodie Dinner Demonstration* & Auction to benefit the History Museum programming with accessible with registration. has delved into the history and impact of this popular historic travel brand. This year, the event’s 11th, will be completely online, with streamed lectures, a virtual version of the highlight of the weekend, the Foodie Dinner & Auction to benefit programming at New Mexico History Museum.

For more information on the schedule of events visit:

https://one.bidpal.net/fredharvey2020/welcome

And to register to for tickets for any of the events, you can visit the event listing on eventbrite.

*The Dinner Demonstration offers an opportunity for you to learn how to prepare a contemporary take on classic Fred Harvey cuisine with top chefs from La Fonda and La Castaneda! You will receive an ingredient list ahead of time.

If you have any questions about the weekend events, please email mightmakeswritellc@gmail.com

From the Collection

The piece in its chair orientation. NMHM/DCA 974.45

A chair and step stool combination, c. 1870-1880. Most step stools, being utilitarian, are plain wood or metal, but this one is covered in beautiful needlepoint. Perhaps it was to prevent slipping? The item was said to have been brought to New Mexico over the Santa Fe Trail.
The twill tape ties on the legs in the first photograph indicate to Collections staff that the chair comes apart at that point and to be careful when lifting the object.

Here the piece is deployed as a step ladder. NMHM/DCA 974.45

New Mexico History Museum’s small business project featured on KRQE

Museum curator Alicia Romero spoke with KRQE news about the research project about small independent businesses serving communities throughout New Mexico. We are seeking input from the public about their experience and memories of these small businesses which will help inform a future exhibit.

For more details and how to submit your own suggestion, check out this recent blogpost.

Local favorites

US Post Office and Emilio Cordova General Store, Cordova, NM, circa 1928. Palace of the Governors Photo Archives # HP.1975.51.42

What’s your favorite New Mexico small business?

Were you the owner? Did your family run one for decades and decades? Did you work for one? Or did you just frequent a favorite shop around the corner?

The New Mexico History Museum is researching historic and modern small businesses to explore for a possible exhibition in the future.

New Mexico has many memorable and iconic establishments that would help to tell this story. In particular, we’d like to focus on sole-proprietor operations and family-owned businesses that sold goods or provided services to local communities in every part of the state.

(We’d like to avoid national chains and franchises.)

We’re looking for corner stores, tienditas, general stores, barber shops, moms & pops, cobblers, meat markets, bookstores, record stores, radio stores, repair shops, feed stores, trading posts, very small restaurants and cafes, tailors and seamstresses, laundries, bicycle shops, and so on, that were unique, characteristic, or served as anchors in their neighborhood or town.

Here’s a very simple form where you can add ideas from anywhere in the state.

https://forms.gle/wmuUvhfkVBjoyaBSA

Thanks for your help! Please spread the word to anyone who might be interested.

Kitchen Counterculture

An illustration from The Munchies Eatbook by Alice and Eliot Hess. From the author’s collection

In conjunction with the release of the virtual version of the museum’s 2017-2018 exhibit Voices of the Counterculture in the Southwest, museum educator, Melanie LaBorwit looks into how the counterculture had a hand in changing how Americans eat. You can visit the online version of Voices of the Counterculture in the Southwest here.

“The Flavor of Cultural Change:   The Evolution of Countercultural Cookbooks and Their Legacy”                                         

Melanie LaBorwit, Museum Educator

In an article on a course at Macalester College, called “From Counterculture to Digital Culture”, one of the students, Rosa Durst, reflected on her research and the intersection between cookbooks and radical movements. “Food is one vehicle of cultural significance,…which allows cookbooks to become not just manuals for eating but manuals for performing activism, creating art, or finding new ways of living.“ (Macalester News, June 2017) .

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, culture writer Cynthia Bertelsen muses about the legacy of what she calls “the hippie era’, (Gherkins and Tomatoes food blog, July 2010). She notes that the 1960’s and 1970‘s marked a turning point in culinary literature. Before this time, vegetarianism was perceived as only the interest of Seventh Day Adventists and around the world most people ate vegetarian food not out of choice but from poverty.

Betty Crocker’s Dinner In A Dish. About as mainstream as it got at the time. From the collection of the author.

Too often, food preparation in the United States, mostly deemed as historically women’s work, is overlooked in history; but the advent of a new style of cookbook in the 1960‘s  is incredibly revealing, reflecting not only culinary changes, but changing gender roles,  working lives, trends in publishing, and a concern for the environment and environmental activism.

Another mainstream example from the author’s collection.

There are many books that have been added to the canon, but there were five main titles that were almost ubiquitous on the kitchen shelves in the Age of Aquarius.

Diet for a Small Planet (1971) by Francis  Moore Lappe’ was among the first and most popular of this revolutionary genre. Part political diatribe, part recipes, Lappe’s work introduced many new ingredients which would soon become staples at food co-ops which were opening  up around the country.  With an emphasis on legumes and fresh vegetables, she also reintroduced traditional foods from different cultures and ingredients once perceived as esoteric. While in retrospect, her recipes are not considered the most flavorful, her perspective on sustainability, home grown foods, nutrition, and feeding the world looking into the future has proven to have been prescient for the time.

Vegetarian Epicure (1972), by Anna Thomas came soon thereafter and included more tasty and aesthetically pleasing recipes from around the world accompanied by lovely hand drawn illustrations printed on gold colored papers.  In 1974 came Tassajara Cooking from Edward Espe Brown, which was an overnight success.  Tassajara introduced new ideas for intriguing meals and nutritional information accompanied by Zen insights and meditative thoughts for one’s kitchen and daily life.  Laurel’s Kitchen(1976) by Laurel Robertson with Carol Flinders and Bronwen Godfrey became de rigueur  among college students and others cooking  on their own for the first time, and was followed quickly on its heels by the immensely popular Moosewood Cookbook (1977) by Mollie Katzen, hand written and illustrated in homey fashion.  The demand for these books, as well as other sequels that followed, has never abated.  Individually, each of these publications gained huge followings and widened the audience for what had once been considered well outside the norm of American-style foods. Collectively, their influence on American foodways must be perceived as truly revolutionary.  

In contrast to these counterculture cookbooks, most mass marketed cookbooks in this era reflected the idyll of a nuclear family home, represented women in the kitchen whose primary role was coming up with innovative meals for her husband and children and occupied themselves with ideas for incorporating new foods as an occasional novelty, and with a narrative that encouraged the busy cook and housewife to  focus on her important role as a hostess for all occasions.  On the remarkable blog “The Historical Cooking Project”, Dr. Alex Ketchum observed recently that the countercultural cookbooks that came out of the 1970’s and even the 1980’s were “ responding to the over-processed foods and strict gender roles in the post-war period.” ( May 2019)  Out of the war came manufacturing of new highly processed food products to aid the housewives of America with convenient shortcuts for their elaborate dinners.  Instant soups, cake mix, powdered potatoes and meal kits were filling the shelves of new supermarkets.  Mainstream cookbooks began adding in these prepared foods as main ingredients for expedient meal preparation, but still emphasizing set gender roles for the lady in the kitchen.

Countercultural cookbooks do not seem to address gender at all ( though interestingly they paved their way for a new crop of women writers and feminist chefs)  but call attention to environmental issues, industrial farming practices and the risk of pesticides. Rodale press had long been publishing the magazine, “Organic Farming and Gardening”, begun in 1942. Their writing was originally  addressed to farmers  to promote chemical-free growing in traditional agriculture, but their audience in this era would also change and grow in unanticipated ways. The counterculture community was looking for new resources and new authority to support their back to the land endeavors. Recipe collections that were published to a younger audience of consumers increased attention to, and normalized the term “ natural foods”, beyond the commune communities scattered in rural enclaves through the nation or newly developed food cooperatives in urban areas. They  began to create a new demand among consumers for purchase of and development of a market for these natural foods. 

A page from the Moosewood Cookbook. From the author’s collection.

Have you recently enjoyed a meal with tabbouleh?  herbal tea?  free range chicken? Curried lentils? or a sandwich with whole wheat bread? Arugula?  Avocado?  Several varieties of mushrooms? Organic cheeses? Heirloom tomatoes? Bean sprouts? We owe the enormous diversity of our culinary options in the 21st century to the intrepid hippie cooks in our late 20th century kitchens.

Some more food for thought:

Warren Belasco, Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture Took on the Food Industry, Cornell University Press, 2007

Edward Espe Brown, Tassajara Cooking, Shambala Press, 1974

Mollie Katzen,Moosewood Cookbook, Ten Speed Press, 1977

Frances Moore Lappe, Diet for a  Small Planet, Ballantine books, 1971

Maria McGrath Food for Dissent:  Natural Foods and the Consumer Counterculture since the 1960’s.   University of Massachusetts, 2019

Laurel Robertson with Carol Flinders and Bronwen Godfrey Laurel’s Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegetarian Cooking and Nutrition, Nilgiri Press,1976

Anna Thomas, Vegetarian Epicure, Knopf ( later Vintage reprint) 1972.

http://www.historicalcookingproject.com/  Historical Cooking Project, ed. Dr. Alex Ketchum

http://www.thefeministrestaurantproject.com/  A public history project begun with Dr. Ketchum’s doctoral dissertation research and newer contributions to research on the subject.

From the Collection

Zozobra Armature (model-framework)
Will Shuster ca. 1935
Gift of the Santa Fe Kiwanis Club
NMHM/DCA 11476.45

Zozobra, a.k.a. Old Man Gloom, was first created by Santa Fe artist, Will Shuster, in 1924. The first public burning of Zozobra was held in a vacant lot behind the Santa Fe City Hall in Sept 3, 1926. Each year in early September, Old Man Gloom is burned to rid us of anguish, anxiety, and gloom, while commemorating the start of the Santa Fe Fiestas. Shuster’s creation first appeared in his backyard as a six-foot puppet. Over the years, Zozobra has grown to a monstrous fifty-foot high marionette.

Upon the reopening of the New Mexico History Museum, you can view the model of Zozobra on display in the exhibition “Looking Back.”

mage:
Zozobra, Santa Fe Fiesta, 1950
Photographer: Henry Dendahl
Palace of the Governors Photo Archives # 057747

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, this year’s burning of Zozobra will be a no-crowd event held this evening at 8pm MDT. You can watch the burning on your television or go online at KOAT Channel 7, and at www.KOAT.com.

Photo credit:
The “Gloomies” dance in front of Zozobra, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1981
Photo by Mark Lennihan
Palace of the Governors Photo Archives # HP.2014.14.1636

Recently, the Museum Foundation of New Mexico hosted a talk (below) by New Mexico Museum of Art curator Christian Waguespack on the origin of the Zozobra festivities and its link to similar observances in various communities and cultures.

On Reopening: An update from the Department of Cultural Affairs

The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs looks forward to welcoming the public back to our museums and historic sites in the near future!

Please check our social media or our website often for an announcement regarding our reopening plans, and to continue exploring our online programs. In the meantime, we are working diligently to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff by preparing our facilities. We will see you soon!

You can Find the New Mexico History Museum’s social media offerings here: The Museum’s Youtube Channel, Twitter Profile and Facebook Page. The Palace of the Governors Photo Archive Facebook Page and Twitter Profile and the Chavez History Library’s Facebook Page

From the Collection

NMHM/DCA 2825.45a-b

Swiss made, hunter case, key wind pocket watch, c. 1850-1890. Manufactured by Moulinie, Geneva, possibly Moulinie and Legrandroy. The pocket watch has an 18 K gold case with blue enameled front and back, and seed pearl decoration. Full jeweled works on the interior. The original owner of this pocket watch was a woman and so the watch has been identified as a woman’s watch, but for the most part pocket watches were not made specifically for men or for women. However, women usually gravitated toward the smaller sized pocket watches. This one is small at 1 ½” in diameter. This pocket watch can be seen on exhibit in Telling New Mexico.
NMHM/DCA 2825.45a-b

The pocketwatch with its case closed. NMHM/DCA 2825.45a-b