Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mabel Dodge Luhan House blog celebrates 1st anniversary in Taos and Remarkable Women

Today marks the first anniversary of the “Mabel Dodge Luhan and the Remarkable Women of Taos” blog. If you go back to August 6, 2010 you’ll see that the initial posting began with a sign. It seemed appropriate to celebrate the blog’s new year with another sign from Taos: the one that indicates that you are in the vicinity of Mabel’s house. On this anniversary, let me introduce you to Mabel’s physical world.

So much in Taos happens behind adobe walls…and so much is hidden away. In the case of the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, once you reach the parking lot, you can only see the solarium topped by El Gallo, the rooster weathervane.Only after climbing up the curving wooden plank steps, does the main house come into view.

 Crossing the courtyard, Mabel’s domain – or part of it (the main house is surrounded by additions built on over the years) – confronts you. Approaching the main entrance, you walk along the same cobblestone walkway under the portal or covered porch trod by former visitors like D.H. and Frieda Lawrence, Leopold Stokowski, Georgia O’Keeffe, Tennessee Williams and numerous other houseguests of Mabel’s—famous and infamous, well-known names and unfamiliar ones.

As you pass through the door with Mabel’s initials, you enter her world…and not her world. When you step into the living room, past and present collide. You are living in the present, Mabel isn’t. Yet although 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary since her death, she continues to inspire and inform the present.

Reflecting on this first year anniversary of the blog, I realize I’m only beginning to tap into the variety, depth and breadth of subjects that interested Mabel. Restless, in need of entertainment, she loved surrounding herself with interesting people—in Italy, in New York, and in Taos. I believe that what she gleaned from her salons, what she wrote about, what she participated in before she arrived in New Mexico made her remarkable. In Taos she became more remarkable.

And now? For starters, Mabel’s blog has inspired the Town of Taos to designate 2012, New Mexico’s 100th anniversary of statehood, as The Year of the Remarkable Women of Taos. And right at the head of it, there’s Mabel…and not Mabel.

Earlier this afternoon I spoke with Lois Rudnick, Mabel’s biographer. (We are meeting next week to brainstorm and finalize events at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House as part of The Year of the Remarkable Women of Taos celebration.) I told Lois that Mabel was pushing me, driving me. She understood only too well. We both know that Mabel is at the heart of it all. Lois has a new book on Mabel going to the publisher, and I have one almost ready on two other remarkable women of Taos that includes Mabel snippets.

Floodgates are opening around the Year of the Remarkable Women of Taos. Exhibitions and events around the theme burgeon with every passing week as we approach 2012. Daily now I add another name or five to the growing list of Taos’s remarkable women.

So on this first anniversary of the “Mabel Dodge Luhan and the Remarkable Women of Taos” blog, all I can say is “stay tuned.”

Adios for now,


  1. "So much in Taos happens behind adobe walls…and so much is hidden away...", so well put, so very true. When I visited the Mabel Dodge Luhan House recently for the first time, I did not imagine it would be tucked away on a side street, but the house itself draws on her presence as if she had never left. It is probably safe to say, as Karen Blixen left her heart in Africa, Mabel Dodge Luhan left her soul in Taos. A wonderful blog Liz and a great dedication to Mabel & the great women of Taos.

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  3. Mabel... you are fabulous!

    In admiration and awe...especially of your writing....and Divine impertinence...

    Kelee Katillac

  4. Wonderful! I am anxious to hear more!!!

  5. great info and pix! Txs!