Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers Container List
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (169.13 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers
  • Biography/Biographical Note:
  • Abstract/Scope and Content:
  • Acquisition Information:
  • Key to Arrangement/Container List:
  • Controlled Access Headings:

  • Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers

    Collection number: FCP
    Title: Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers
    Dates: 1745 - 1970
    Bulk: 1880 - 1960
    Extent: 219 Boxes Approximately 110 Linear Feet
    Repository: Pasadena Museum of History
    Research Library and Archives
    470 West Walnut Street
    Pasadena, California 91103-3594
    Abstract: The Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo collection consists of the papers of eight family members created over a period of four generations. During the 19th and 20th centuries the family traveled internationally, established homes in New York, Colorado, New Mexico, and California, and accumulated a rich and varied collection of financial, legal, personal and professional documents.
    Languages: English, Finnish, Hungarian, German, Spanish, Italian and Arabic

    Administrative Information

    Processing Information:

    February 2013 Machine readable finding aid created by Victoria Brennan.
    January 2013 Collection and finding aid updated by Julie Stires.
    February 2011 Collection and finding aid updated by Julie Stires. Edited by Sarah Heiman.
    2005 Collection processed and description prepared by Lian Partlow and Julie Stires.


    The collection is open to the public for research. Use is restricted by rules intended to protect and preserve the materials in good condition for the future. For additional information please contact Pasadena Museum of History.

    Publication Rights:

    Use of the materials is governed by all applicable copyright law. Pasadena Museum of History reserves the right to restrict any materials from reproduction at any time. Property rights reside with Pasadena Museum of History. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. The Museum's physical ownership of the materials in its collection does not imply ownership of copyright. It is the user's responibility to resolve any copyright issues related to the use and distribution of reproduced materials. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact Pasadena Museum of History.

    Preferred Citation:

    Suggested citation for these records is: [Identification of item], Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers, Box [#],

    Folder [#], Research Library and Archives, Pasadena Museum of History.

    Biography/Biographical Note:

    Eva Scott Fenyes (ESF) was a gifted watercolorist, a successful businesswoman, and a devoted daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother. She was a patroness of the arts, literature, and music, and an advocate for the preservation of America's Southwestern heritage. Heiress to the fortune created by her father, Eva utilized her inheritance and talents to establish a life in Pasadena, California, that allowed her to nurture her family and sustain an active participation in Pasadena's turn of the 20th century culture and society. She built luxurious homes where she entertained renowned guests. She managed her business properties with sophisticated acumen, traveled extensively, and studied continuously. She participated in establishing and supporting Southwestern cultural institutions and created a unique and artistic record of California's and New Mexico's Spanish and Mexican legacies.
    Eva Scott (ESF) was born in New York City on November 9, 1849. Her father, Leonard Franklin Scott, born in 1810 in New Brunswick, Canada, was a New York City real estate investor and founder of the Leonard Scott Publishing Company. He married Rebecca Briggs of White Plains, New York, in 1840, and together they had two daughters. Only Eva survived. Attendence at private schools and travel throughout Europe and Africa, where she was tutored in languages and the arts, provided Eva with an education that contributed to her success and independence. As a young woman she developed an interest in the preservation of the native cultures of the American West. In 1877, while visiting her parents in St. Augustine, Florida, she assisted Native American detainees held at Fort Marion by purchasing art supplies that they used to paint a record of their historic past as well as their present encounters with American culture. In 1878, Eva married Marine Lieutenant William Sulivane Muse. Their daughter Leonora Scott Muse (LSMC) was born in White Plains, New York, in 1879. Together the family lived on the East Coast and then in California before Eva obtained a divorce from William Muse in New Mexico in 1890. While in the Southwest, Eva purchased her first Santa Fe, New Mexico property and lived for a short time in Prescott, Arizona.
    From late 1891 through 1895, Eva again traveled in the eastern United States, Europe and Africa, studying language and art. While in Egypt, she met her second husband, Dr. Adalbert Fenyes, whom she married in Budapest, Hungary in 1896. The newlyweds settled in Pasadena, California that same year. There Dr. Fenyes practiced as a physician and was an early practitioner in the use of X-ray technology. He was also a renowned entomologist who traveled the world collecting beetle specimens. Today this important beetle collection is housed at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
    Living and painting in California, Eva Fenyes soon became acquainted with Charles Fletcher Lummis, founder of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. Eva supported the establishment of the museum, and Lummis supported her effort to paint a historic record of the crumbling adobe houses and missions that represented California's Spanish and Mexican heritage. Today the Braun Research Library of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian at the Autry National Center houses collections of Eva Fenyes' watercolors and papers.
    Ever mindful of her own development, Eva also saw carefully to her daughter's education. For several years prior to their permanent move to California, Eva sent Leonora (LSMC) to school in Lausanne, Switzerland. In Pasadena, she enrolled Leonora in Miss Orton's Classical School for Girls. Leonora's life was also enriched by her parents' varied interests and the many visitors to their home; and, she was involved in Pasadena's social life, attending events at the Valley Hunt Club and the Hotel Green.
    In 1903, Leonora Scott Muse (LSMC) married Thomas Edouard Curtin. They settled in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where their daughter Leonora Frances (LFCP) was born. Thomas Curtin died in 1911, and Leonora and her daughter returned to Pasadena where Eva and Adalbert built a house for them on the Fenyes Mansion property. Leonora, however, like her mother, was drawn to the Spanish colonial culture of New Mexico.
    Over the years, the family's interest in western Spanish heritage became a studied endeavor; and, Eva Fenyes, Leonora Scott Muse Curtin, and Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo each brought their own special focus to their collective interest in the Southwest. They gave their financial support and offered their particular skills to anthropological studies and archaeological expeditions; and, they sponsored institutions. They developed friendships and professional relationships with Adolf F. Bandelier, Edgar L. Hewett, Frederick Webb Hodge, and John P. Harrington. Leonora Scott Muse Curtin's deep interest in the use of native plants for healing and cooking culminated in the publication of her books Healing Herbs of the Upper Rio Grande (1947) and By the Prophet of the Earth (1949). Leonora Frances Curtin's (LFCP) interest in language led to her work as a linguistics researcher at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Together, along with writer Mary Austin and Frank G. Applegate, the women's support for Spanish Colonial art in New Mexico resulted in the founding of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society in 1925. In the 1930s, during the Depression, Leonora Frances Curtin (LFCP) supported vocational training for the preservation of Spanish Colonial arts and crafts. From this venture, Native Market developed as an innovative commercial outlet for Spanish Colonial artisans.
    In 1926, the family built their home in Santa Fe, and while much of their legacy remains there today, their roots in Pasadena held firm as well. In 1946, Leonora Frances Curtin married Yrjo Alfred Paloheimo, Finnish Consul to the United States. They adopted four children from Finland: George, Nina, Eric, and Eva. They made their home in both California and New Mexico and traveled frequently to Finland. In 1939, Consul Paloheimo was the Commissioner General for the Finnish Pavilion at the New York World's Fair. He later established the Finnish Consulate for the Southwestern United States in the Fenyes' Pasadena home, where his office may be seen today. In the 1950s, the Paloheimos participated in the creation of the Museum of International Folk Art as part of the Museum of New Mexico. In 1972, Yrjo and Leonora Paloheimo (LFCP) and Leonora Curtin (LSMC) founded the living history museum, El Rancho de Las Golondrinas (Ranch of the Swallows) at La Cienega, New Mexico. It is dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of Spanish Colonial New Mexico.
    In 1970, the Paloheimo/Curtin families donated the family papers and the furnishings and artwork from the Fenyes Mansion to the Pasadena Historical Society which is now known as Pasadena Museum of History. In partnership with Finlandia Foundation, the Museum is also home to the Finnish Folk Art Museum.
    The history of the Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo family is culturally rooted in the eastern United States. As the family grew, Eva Scott Fenyes, Leonora Scott Muse Curtin, and Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo, along with their husbands, extended their interests and their love of art and education to the cultures and societies of the Southwest. Through their foresight and generosity their legacy has been established and preserved in both California and New Mexico.

    Abstract/Scope and Content:

    The Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo collection consists of the papers of eight family members created over a period of four generations. Across the 19th and 20th centuries the family traveled internationally, established homes in New York, Colorado, New Mexico, and California, and accumulated a rich and varied collection of financial, legal, personal and professional documents. Financial and personal papers form the bulk of the collection, while legal and professional papers form smaller portions.
    Financial documents include correspondence, receipts, ledgers, banking and investment papers, real estate records, and tax records.
    Personal documents include correspondence, receipts, newspaper and magazine clippings, pamphlets, brochures, scrapbooks, postcards and postcard albums, photographs and photograph albums, diaries, notebooks, sheet music, books, prints, and paintings. The daily life of family members, their worldwide travels, and their individual interests and pursuits are reflected throughout this wide variety of formats. The papers reveal associations with relatives, friends, and historic personalities, including significant artists of the period. Many of Eva Scott Fenyes' watercolor sketches are contained in 14 folio sketchbooks. These as well as smaller sketchbooks and many unframed paintings provide insight not only into her travels and interests, but also into her significant artistic talent.
    Legal documents include divorce papers, wills, and estate papers. Property litigation records relate to the Pasadena Civic Center renovation project and various Pasadena street reconfiguration projects.
    Professional documents include the papers of Adalbert Fenyes who was a physician and entomologist.

    Files of Margaret E. Nicholas

    Margaret E. Nicholas was secretary to Eva Scott Fenyes, Leonora Scott Muse Curtin, and Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo. She terminated employment October 26, 1945. Her files have been kept in their original order.

    Files of Harold J. Schiesswohl

    Harold J. Schiesswohl was secretary to Leonora Scott Muse Curtin, Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo and Yrjo Alfred Paloheimo. When possible, the original order of his files has been maintained.

    Acquisition Information:

    In 1970, the Paloheimo/Curtin families donated the family papers and the furnishings and artwork from the Fenyes Mansion to the Pasadena Historical Society which is now known as Pasadena Museum of History.
    In 2006 and 2007, additional family papers were found in the Fenyes Mansion and the History Center Archives. In 2008 and 2009, these papers were processed into the existing Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers.
    In 2009 and 2010, the 14 folio sketchbooks created by Eva Scott Fenyes were photographed and cataloged and added to the Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers.

    Key to Arrangement/Container List:

    The collection is organized in 11 subgroups by person and one subgroup by size.
    Subgroups: Box
    Leonard Franklin Scott 1-6
    (July 30, 1810 - March 1, 1895)  
    Leonard & Rebecca married May 21, 1840  
    Rebecca Briggs Scott 7
    (November 20, 1811 - June 13, 1896)  
    Adalbert Fenyes 8-12
    (November 17, 1863 - February 23, 1937)  
    Adalbert & Eva married April 25, 1896  
    Eva Scott Fenyes (ESF) 13-72, 142-152, 201-215
    (November 9, 1849 - February 3, 1930  
    Thomas Edouard Curtin 73-76
    (March 19, 1874 - October 30, 1911)  
    Thomas & Leonora married March 12, 1903  
    Leonora Scott Muse Curtin (LSMC) 77-111, 153-170
    (October 2, 1879 - September 2, 1972)  
    LSMC/LFCP - Mixed 171-176
    Yrjo Alfred Paloheimo 112-118, 177-183
    (October 29, 1899 - May 23, 1986)  
    Yrjo & Leonora married October 17, 1946  
    Leonora Frances Curtin Paloheimo (LFCP) 119-127, 184-186
    (December 7, 1903 - November 24, 1999)  
    Yrjo and Leonora Paloheimo - Mixed 128-129, 187-195
    Unassigned Family Papers 130-140, 196-200, 216, 219
    Oversize Boxes: 141, 217, 218
    Boxes 142-219 were added to the original complement of Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers. These numbers have been interspersed throughout the subgroups and are designated in "Bold" typeface throughout the container list.

    Controlled Access Headings:

    A portion of the names, corporations and places found in the Pasadena Museum of History's Library and Archives local database.

    Personal Names:

    Alliot, Hector [Archaeological Institute of America]
    Amsden, Charles [Curator, Southwest Museum]
    Aoki, Toshi [Japanese artist]
    Austin, Mary
    Bandelier, Adolph Francis Alphonse [archaeologist]
    Bandelier, Fanny R.
    Baumann, Gustave
    Birck, Alphonse
    Blackwelder, Parley
    Borg, Carl Oscar
    Briggs, Thomas J.
    Briggs, Warren C.
    Brown, Benjamin Chambers
    Brown, Howell C.
    Carlisle, Mary Helen
    Chamberlin, Katherine Stetson
    Channing-Stetson, Grace Ellery
    Chase, William Merrit
    Cloud, Teresa
    Cohen, Gertrude
    Cole, George Townsend
    Curtin, Leonora Scott Muse
    Curtin, Thomas Edouard
    Daggett, Maud
    Dennis, Oliver Perry
    Farquhar, Robert David [architect]
    Fenyes, Adalbert
    Fenyes, Eva Scott
    Field, Edward Salisbury
    Harrington, John P. [ethnologist]
    Hewett, Edgar L.
    Hodge, Frederick Webb
    Lummis, Charles Fletcher
    Lummis, Eva Frances Douglas
    Marston, Sylvanus Boardman
    Miller, Richard Emile
    Muse, William Sulivane
    Nicoll, John W.
    Ogilvie, Frederick Forbes
    Paloheimo, Leonora Frances Curtin
    Paloheimo, Yrjo Alfred
    Parsons, Orin Sheldon
    Prince, L. Bradford [Le Baron Bradford Prince, Governor, Territory of New Mexico]
    Rich, John Hubbard
    Scott, Leonard Franklin
    Scott, Rebecca Briggs
    Sibelius, Jean
    Spalding, Elsa
    Spalding, Rufus
    Stetson, Charles Walter
    Stetson, Grace Ellery Channing
    Underwood, John Curtis
    Wachtel, Elmer
    Wachtel, Marion Kavanaugh

    Corporate Names:

    Archaeological Institute of America
    Dennis and Farwell [architects]
    Finlandia Foundation
    Land of Sunshine
    Landmarks Club
    Marston and Van Pelt
    Museum of International Folk Art
    Museum of New Mexico
    Native Market
    Miss Orton's Classical School for Girls
    Pasadena Country Club
    Pasadena Historical Society
    Southwest Museum
    Valley Hunt Club

    Place Names:

    Pasadena, California
    Los Angeles, California
    New York
    New Mexico