IACA Journal: Winter 2014 - page 8

IACA Journal | Winter 2014
Mary Millicent Abigail Rogers (1902-1953), better known as Millicent Rogers, was an
heiress who inherited a fortune from her grandfather, the founder of the Standard Oil
Company. In the 1920s, Rogers was a well-known socialite and leader of fashion, with
her photograph appearing in many editions of
Harper’s Bazaar.
As a young child Rogers contracted rheumatic fever and suffered from poor health for
the rest of her life. Despite these set-backs, she led a full life, lived overseas for some
years, married and divorced three times, and was linked romantically to celebrities and
royalty. After her final divorce, and in failing health, she retreated to Taos, New Mexico.
While there, she purchased many hundreds of Native American
artifacts and is notable as an early supporter of Southwestern-style
art and jewelry. In 1947 she traveled to Washington, D.C. to
promote the issue of Indian rights and citizenship, and successfully
lobbied for Native American Art to be classified as historic, and
therefore protected.
Rogers died in 1953, leaving a vast collection of jewelry, weavings and art. The Millicent
Rogers Museum was established in Taos in 1956 by her family, led by her three sons, as a
memorial to her memory and to showcase the arts and culture of the southwest. A perma-
nent exhibit displays the turquoise and silver jewelry that she collected during her lifetime.
Rogers son, Paul Peralta-Ramos, was a friend of Maria Martinez, the famed potter of
San Ildefonso Pueblo - a friendship which led to her family donating to the Museum the
Millicent Rogers:
Museum Profile
largest publicly held collection of Maria
material in the world. This permanent
collection includes Maria’s pottery as
well as items relating to her private life
including clothing, jewelry and papers.
Paul continued to be an enthusiastic
collector for the Museum and devoted
himself to building a premier collection
of Native American, Hispanic, and An-
glo arts from the southwest.
First Paul built a pottery collection of
over 1,000 pieces, ranging from the
prehistoric to the present and repre-
senting every major pottery-making
center in the region. He then focused
on acquiring the best available examples
of Hispanic Santos folk art. Santos or
saints were made as part of traditional
southwestern Roman Catholic religious
traditions, and the Museum’s collection
spans from 18th century carvers to con-
temporary works.
Using Millicent’s collection of textiles
and weavings, Paul acquired major
The Millicent Rogers Museum store. The museum also has an on-line Museum Store. Visit
to learn more.
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