Amelia and Martha White
Kandahar Afghan Hounds USA
(Author, Lyall Payne, October 2012)
(Index Page And Bio Notes)
The story of the White sisters include the Kandahar afghan hounds,
Rathmullan Irish Wolfhounds, SARS, and even ghosts!
Amelia Elizabeth White and her sister Martha Root White lived in Santa Fe
after moving from New York in the 1920s. Their home 'El Delirio' was a
popular gathering place for writers, artists and intellectuals. It is just
one mile from the heart of Santa Fe.
In 1907 the School for American Archaeology was founded in Santa Fe, New
Mexico. It soon became known as the School of American Research, and since
2007 as the School for Advanced Research on the Human Experience. Always
referred to as the initials SAR, the name changes that occurred over the
years perhaps account for its sometimes mis-stated title.
Amelia (variously known as Amelia, Elizabeth, and Miss E), unsurprisingly,
left El Delirio, various other properties, and much of the remainder of her
vast estate to the SAR following her death in 1972 aged 96 years. Martha
died of cancer in 1937. Some property went to her nephew William White
Howells son of the famous US writer William Dean Howells. El Delirio (at 660
Garcia Road, Santa Fe) includes a section of the Santa Fe trail. This tract
is part of the 'Amelia White Park' in Santa Fe. The park is frequently used
for concerts attracting tens of thousands of patrons. Both sisters were keen
horse riders and bridle paths were developed on the estate. The estate was
maintained meticulously. It is fair to say that the two spinster sisters
were eccentric. They are buried together, under a gazebo, on the estate. The
kennels that housed their beloved dogs, and who mingled in the house along
with guests, exist today exactly as they did in their heyday. The dogs were
buried in their own cemetery and named markers remain to this day.
Many personal movies taken by the sisters between 1927 through to 1933 have
been restored. They include footage of their dogs.
The sisters were leading supporters and promoters of native American art,
particularly from the South West and opened a gallery in New York to promote
it. The first of its kind in New York.
History had been kind to the sisters, and their father Horace White. His
father was an MD and married Elizabeth McClary Moore. The Whites had come
from England in the mid 1600s. The Moores were Scottish (via Ireland) and
claim they survived the Glencoe massacre. Elizabeth's father (Deacon William
Moore) fought in the War of Independence. By the age of 31, Horace Jnr
(Amelia, Martha and Abby White's father) was the managing editor of the
Chicago Tribune and a journalist of immense power and influence. He resigned
in 1874 due to ill health having established himself as an international
expert on banking and finance.
However, prior to turning 31, Horace Jnr had spent years listening to,
reporting on, travelling with, conversing with, and even slept in the same
bed as, Abraham Lincoln. Horace White reported on all the debates between
Lincoln and his antagonist Stephen A Douglas that so captivated Americans
from 1854 to 1861.
Tufan Of Ainsdart
White and several others set up a news agency and supplied six major
newspapers. He was also by now secretary to the Secretary of War, and
secretary to the Senate Military Affairs Committee. An impressive set of
credentials for one still not 31 years old and a 'worldly journalist with
his finger on the pulse'. In 1881 his business partner purchased the New
York Evening Post and Horace became part of a triumvirate editorship that
ended with his sole charge role - Editor of the New York Evening Post. His
editorials reflected his personal aims and opinions. He also became a noted
writer and expert on money, currency and financial transactions. He read
Greek and Latin and translated epic works. He chaired the Committee on
Speculation in Securities and Commodities, known as the 'Wall Street
investigation', and wrote vehemently in support of the allied forces against
Germany (for its attack on Belgium, the sinking of the 'Lusitania', and
other German atrocities) during World War 1.
Amelia and Martha travelled extensively. Amelia nursed wounded soldiers in
France during WW1 from May to August 1916 and again from April 1917 to March
1919. Martha too undertook Red Cross work in France and Belgium in 1917.
During World War II, Amelia headed the Dogs for Defense Program in New
Mexico and was also the first President of the Santa Fe Kennel Club. She
gifted the first animal shelter in Santa Fe as a memorial.
Their sister Abby was a leading society matron living her 95 years in
Kittery Point, York, Maine. Herself a talented artist and generous patron
she had two sons (William White Howells and John Mead Howells) both of whom
also owned land near the SAR in Santa Fe. At the time of Abby's death in
1975 she also had three grand children and four great grand children.
I made mention of ghosts ! There are numerous stories of guests at El
Delirio hearing two ladies chatter and laughing, items being moved, rooms
being cleaned and dusted, and guests followed by clear stepping noises as if
someone is walking close by - but in all instances no one has proven to be
close by or near to where the sounds have come from !
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