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Sallie Wagner

Sallie Wagner

GUARDIAN OF CULTURAL HERITAGE

Honored November, 1990

Sallie Wagner

There are no howling coyotes in Sallie Wagner's home. Instead, there are boxes full of nacimientos (nativities) from the pueblos and the Spanish villages, and a Japanese door curtain over the door depicting animals coming to the Buddha. "The art of the craftsman is a bond between the peoples of the world,' says a sign above the Folk Art Museum," said Sallie, who has collected and marketed Native American and folk art throughout her life.

Born in 1913 to Dwight and Elsie Wagner in "West, by God, Virginia," Sallie grew up with a brother and sister in Wheeling. "We had quite a bit of property. My brother kept finding arrowheads and grinding stones all over the property," she said. When he got tired of his collection, he gave it to Sallie. "I became interested in Indians through that. One Sunday afternoon I was reading the travel section of the New York Times, and I read all about New Mexico--about the Indians out here. I talked my father into bringing me out; that was in 1928," said Sallie. "I kept coming back."