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January 15 , 2009

The City Different and the Palace

The Palace of the Governors: Its Role in Santa Fe History; Including Jesse Nusbaum's Restoration Journals


The year was 1909, and a youthful Jesse Nusbaum had resigned his teaching position at the Normal School at Las Vegas, New Mexico, and had ridden his “…four-horse-power, twin-cylinder, chain-belt-driven, two-speed Excelsior motorcycle over the rough and rocky Santa Fe Trail route, to enter on July 1 at the Old Palace of the Governors.” He was the first employee of the newly-formed Museum of New Mexico and School of American Archaeology. From that day, Jesse Nusbaum’s life was inextricably bound to Santa Fe: it was he who undertook the remodeling of the Palace of the Governors into a museum; from 1909-1913, it was he who supervised the razing of the old Army barracks at the corner of Palace and Lincoln Avenue I 1916 and also supervised the construction of the Fine Arts Museum on that site; and he was one of the organizers of the Laboratory of Anthropology, Inc., and was its first director when the doors opened in 1930. Additionally, Jesse was one of the foremost Southwestern archeologists, and he was a first-rank photographer, as many of the illustrations in this volume (although reproduced here from less than excellent sources) will attest. For all his other accomplishments, however, Jesse Nusbaum is most closely associated with the Palace of the Governors. In this book, dedicated in memory of her husband, Rosemary Nusbaum has delineated the history of the “Old Palace.” Much has been written elsewhere about that historic structure, but only in this volume can the insight and experiences of Jesse Nusbaum be found. ROSEMARY L. NUSBAUM was born in Marquette, Michigan and graduated from the Baraga High School in that city. In 1929, she received the R.N. degree from the University Hospital in Chicago, Illinois and then worked as a Medical Pathologist for the Eight Corps Area of the Army stationed at Bruns General Hospital in Santa Fe in World War II. She studied sculpture with Eugenie Shonnard and ceramics with Warren Gilbertson in Santa Fe. She was also the author of numerous short stories and poems which appeared in many well-known publications. Ernest Thompson Seton said of her: “She possesses the virtue of intelligence.”
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