Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories

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Katherine

Peach Mayer

THE FIRST LADY OF OPERA

Honored January, 1985

Katherine 'Peach' Mayer

Philanthropist, arts patron and political activist, Katherine "Peach" Mayer acquired the name Peach as a child when her family doctor insisted that Katherine had "cheeks like a peach."

Peach was born in 1905 to George and Berta Van Stone. Her father came to Santa Fe in 1896, seeking a climate that would help him recover from a pulmonary ailment.

When Peach and her brother, Tom, were small children, the Van Stones moved to Estancia, New Mexico, where her father owned a store and raised sheep. Music highlighted the family's evenings; George played the violin, and Berta the piano. The Van Stones returned to Santa Fe in 1912, the year New Mexico became a state, when George was elected state corporation commissioner. George died in 1914. Berta taught piano lessons and worked as curator of the Museum of Fine Arts to support her children.