NEW MEXICO'S GRANT MAVEN
Honored June, 1994
New Mexico artists call Eleanor Broh-Kahn the "guardian angel of art." As administrative secretary of the Arts Division of the Office of Cultural Affairs, for nearly twenty-five years she handled arts publicity and grants information, and helped artists cope with the frustrations of the grant-writing process. In addition, she was in charge of all publicity and administrative detail for the Governor's Arts Awards program during its first fifteen years.
She was born near Boston in 1924 "into an old New England family with firm Mayflower roots." Her father, Edwin, had his own law firm in Boston. Her mother, Beatrice, had a Ph.D. in Semitic languages from Bryn Mawr and taught at Wellesley College. After her father's death in 1929, the family moved to Oxford, Ohio, where her mother was a professor of religion at Western College, at Miami University, also in Oxford, and at other colleges in the Midwest.
Eleanor and her brother, Frank, were raised in a strong academic atmosphere. "1 grew up in the library. They had to poke me out with a stick at closing time," she said. After graduating from Miami University with honors in English, Eleanor received the New York Press Association Graduate Fellowship at Syracuse University School of Journalism, where she began work on a master's degree and was an assistant in the Press Association's local office. "1 remember not having really clean fingernails for two years because I was getting out press releases on their mimeograph machine," she said. She left to become editor of a house magazine at Bristol Laboratories, the pharmaceutical division of Bristol-Myers, then one of the world's largest penicillin producers. She later became publicity director, a post she held until late 1951.
In 1952, Eleanor married Dr. Robert Broh-Kahn, an internist who later founded Bard Pharmaceuticals. She did volunteer work with the Margaret Sanger Research Bureau in New York, working with Dr. Abraham Stone, and served on its board of directors. In the 1960s, the Broh-Kahns lived for two and a half years in Nice, France. When the marriage broke up. Eleanor returned to New York and worked for several years in public relations and editing positions on Madison Avenue.
In 1969, Eleanor came to her mother's home in Santa Fe to recuperate from a broken bone. "Mama had told me that Santa Fe was the most cosmopolitan city in the country. The spell of New Mexico took hold, and I never returned to Manhattan." She worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts on its "Indian Summer" workshop for Native American educators from all over the country. She edited a children's book on Indian music and dance that is still used in intercultural education.
Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes