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  • Writer's pictureZibby Wilder

"El Delirio": a place AND my new nickname

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

A party at El Delirio celebrating the installation of a pool on the property. Courtesy, School for Advanced Research.


Just up the hill from my home in Santa Fe is a mysterious compound of sorts. The signs outside its gates identify it as the "School for Advanced Research." Some research of my own unveiled it as a non-profit organization which hosts smarty-smart-folks while they do research on topics mainly dealing with advanced anthropology and the furtherment of Native American arts.

My research also identified it as "El Delirio" the hallowed former home of party gals, and horsedog lovers, Martha and Elizabeth White. I have run across more than a few mentions of the White sisters, and their infamous parties, in my research.

Oh how I wish to have gone to one of those parties! People don't throw parties like that anymore. But they should.

Anyhow, this not-so-smarty-smart gal is lucky enough to be allowed to use their wonderful library for research of her own. The librarian, Laura, is amazing and she opened my eyes to many more resources for my own research on Maria Chabot. She also gave me some books on SAR and "El Delirio" to peruse. I left with one published by the school titled "El Delirio: The Santa Fe World of Elizabeth White."

Courtyard entrance to the library at the School for Advanced Research at "El Delirio"

It's a concise, yet sprawling, overview of Elizabeth White's life...the daughter of a superbly wealthy newspaper magnate, a WWI nurse, and avid protector of the arts, she and her sister Martha bought property in Santa Fe during a stopover on their way to California to view an eclipse. As they began developing it in the 1920's they named it "El Delirio". The moniker originated from a bar in Seville, Spain. While on vacation there, the sisters frequently got lost but knew they had found their way back to their hotel when they came upon the bar, El Delirio.

For years, El Delirio was THE place to gather for artists, scholars and the "who's who" of Santa Fe.

If you're interested in architecture, Native American art, and history, I recommend picking up a copy of the book. Maybe it will give you some inspiration to throw an El Delirio party of your own.

And, invite me!

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