Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Polly Patraw

Polly Patraw


Honored February, 1988

Pauline 'Polly' M. Patraw

"It was my engagement present," Polly Patraw said of the Navajo rug displayed on the couch in the living room of her Santa Fe home. A painting of the Grand Canyon's North Rim hangs above the couch, a reminder of special times in Polly's life.

Polly was staying at the VT Dude Ranch in 1928 and collecting plants to study for her master's thesis, a "general ecological description of the Kaibob Plateau." Riding horseback, she had "a bedroll, a canteen of water, and a plant press." One day an invitation awaited her when she returned from the field. "I was invited to attend a dinner for the dedication of the Grand Canyon's North Rim Lodge. I dug in my trunk, got out a dress, and got myself down to the North Rim," Polly said. "I ate dinner with Stephen Mather, the founder and first director of the National Park Service; Mormon Church President Hebert J. Grant; and Carl Grey, president of the Union Pacific Railroad."