Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

Born in 1904 in Longmont, Colorado, Polly was the sixth child of Paul and Ariet Mead. "My father and mother founded the town of Mead in 1906," she said. "They were very religious, straight-laced, and stipulated that no alcoholic beverages be sold in Mead. We later moved to Berthoud. I attended a little one-room schoolhouse. I loved working on the farm, and I loved the flowers and fields of daisies. I used to ride a bicycle three miles to take my music lessons. I loved the piano." Her father had a cattle ranch near Lyons, where Polly spent her summers in the mountains. Her mother was a teacher.

Around 1920 Polly traveled by train to Chicago to live with an aunt and uncle while she attended the University of Chicago High School. There, she became friends with Stephen Mather's daughter, Bertha. Polly graduated from "U High" in 1924.

Later, she received her bachelor's and master's degrees in botany from the University of Chicago. "For my graduation present, my aunt offered me a trip to Europe, or I could go to the Grand Canyon and work on my master's. I've never been to Europe," Polly told us, without regret.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes