Friday, July 19, 2002
University of New
Mexico (UNM) Library remembers Frank Waters at centennial
Provided by: Carolyn Gonzales, UNM
Published in The
News Online issue July 19, 2002.
The University of New Mexico General Library in Albuquerque can't travel to Taos
for the Frank Waters Centennial July 25-28. The library can, however, open its
doors and invite Waters' devotees in to explore the author's books, manuscripts
and photographs and check out “Remembering Frank Waters,” an exhibit
featuring articles by and about him as well as photos and memorabilia.
By appointment, visitors are invited to the second floor of Zimmerman Library to
see the Frank Waters Room.
Taos events and the library exhibit coincide with the centennial of Waters’
birth July 25, 1902. Waters, whose life spanned most of the 20th century, was
nominated five times for the Nobel Prize in Literature and authored more than 20
books, including fiction titles “The Man Who Killed the Deer” and “The
Woman at Otowi Crossing.”
Called the “Grandfather of Southwestern Literature,” Waters also published
nonfiction works, such as “Book of the Hopi.” His works focused on Navajo,
Hopi, Pueblo and pre-Columbian influences.
The Frank Waters Papers, housed in the library's Center for Southwest Research (CSWR),
consists of 34 boxes of editorial and general correspondence, lecture notes,
videotapes as well as manuscripts and photographs. His books have been
incorporated into the center's extensive holdings of Southwestern authors.
The UNM General Library already had much of Waters collection in July 1992 when
library administration and CSWR staff were interested in creating a reading room
to honor a Southwest writer.
Dean Robert Migneault, Associate Dean Steve Rollins, John Grassham, reference
program director in the CSWR, and Jan Dodson Barnhart, then associate director
of the CSWR, traveled to the Waters' home in Arroyo Seco, near Taos, to meet
with Frank and Barbara Waters.
Now in donor programming in the library's Development Office, Barnhart is the
only member of the foursome still with the library. She says, “It was an
opportunity to obtain the rest of the collection. We had many of his books and
other materials we acquired in the 1980s, but in 1992, Waters was still a
publishing writer. We were interested in being able to provide the extent of his
collected work to researchers.”
An index to the Waters collection is available on the Online Archive of New
Mexico, accessible from the library's web page at http://elibrary.unm.edu/.
The Frank Waters Room was dedicated on June 3, 1994, and included a reception in
the library's exhibit area.
“Frank was more comfortable in a wheelchair those days. As Barbara wheeled him
out of the elevator, his eyes sparkled when he saw his room with his books on
the shelves as well as the mandolin and his beloved pipe collection,"
Waters died exactly one year later.
Today, the reading room is a special access area for researchers interested in
studying from his collection. Adorning the room are many items the library
acquired with the books and manuscript materials. A trastero, a cabinet that is
a copy of one in the Waters residence, a small chest Mabel Dodge Luhan gave to
Waters; a bust of Waters, three Indian rugs, a kachina, paintings, and more.
Many of these items are included in the exhibit where they will remain through
Of the many researchers who have dug deeply into the collection, one, Thomas
Lyon, is a Waters biographer. Others include students interested in literary
analysis or Native American studies.
“We hope that those who participate in the Frank Waters Centennial in Taos
will visit the library collection to gain a deeper understanding of the man and
his work," said Barnhart.
To schedule an appointment to visit the Frank Waters Reading Room, call Kathlene
Ferris at 505-277-7172.
Printed here with
permission of The Taos News.