A Season of Doing What We Do Best
new and beautiful New Mexico State Records Center and Archives building
was the scene of the NMJHS Archive Reception on March 25, 1999. A large
and enthusiastic crowd of more than 100 people attended this spectacular
event. The program was entertaining and informative. The more than 100
participants listened attentively as Bob Fein,
a Society member and Rain God collector, talked about an early example
of this famous creation of the Tesuque Pueblo. Bob explained the connection
between the Rain God and the now famous early Jewish merchant, Jake Gold.
A creative owner of a Santa Fe Plaza curio shop, Jake Gold promoted the
manufacture of a pottery figure by the Tesuque Indians. These seated dolls
became known as Rain Gods and they became famous items for the tourist
trade in New Mexico. They were even used as a premium give-away by a Chicago
candy manufacturer who included a Rain God with each box of chocolates
Sharon Herzog at the archive reception.
In addition to the intriguing information
about the Rain God, the NMJHS unveiled a preview of artifacts and memorabilia
which will be included in the June 2000 exhibit on Jewish
Pioneers in New Mexico. This ambitious exhibition is being planned by
the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. Many artifacts, documents, books
and photos from our collection will be offered to the Museum Foundation
for the exhibit. Our Archive Reception guests could view both loaned and
donated items beautifully set out on eight display tables. Many of these
new acquisitions were viewed by the public for the first time. Among the
early pioneer families represented in the displays were the Bacharach,
Beck, Bibo, Freudenthal, Gold, Ilfeld, Solomon, and Spiegelberg families.
The afternoon was enhanced by the fact that several descendants of these
early New Mexico Jewish families attended the reception.
Fay Chaikin, Reggie Klien, and Jack Chaikin
viewng the archives exhibit.
A brief overview of the Jewish Pioneers
exhibition was presented by Tom Chavez, Director of the Palace of the
Governors Museum. David Snow, exhibit curator for the Museum, also talked
about the scope and logistics of this important installation which debuts
at the Palace of the Govenors next year.
Oral History Workshop at St. Johnís College
had a very successful introductory oral history workshop at St. Johnís
College on February 28, 1999. Almost two dozen turned out for the two-hour
workshop. It was an excellent group, very interested and involved. We
covered the fundamentals, such as how to prepare to do an oral history,
including research and legal clearance; how to research and structure
an interview; techniques of questioning; and ethical issues. People
shared their particular interest in oral history. Several were writing
techniques, several used oral history in a professional setting, others
wanted to collect family stories, and some wanted the training to be
able to participate in future NMJHS oral history projects.
We plan to follow up with another how-to
oral history workshop in Albuquerque in the fall, possibly October.
In the meantime, we will be designing an oral history program to begin
obtaining the stories of people in our area.
For more information, or to get on a
mailing list for future workshops call Sharon at 505-262-2388 or e-mail