Oliver La Farge

Oliver La Farge

[luh fahrzh, fahrj]
La Farge, Oliver, 1901-63, American writer and anthropologist, b. New York City, grad. Harvard (B.A., 1924; M.A., 1929). He conducted three archaeological expeditions to Arizona and also ethnological expeditions to Guatemala and Mexico. La Farge used his field experience to authenticate his reflective stories of Native American habit and character. Laughing Boy (1929), a novel of Navajo life, won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1930. Other works are The Sparks Fly Upward (1931), The Enemy Gods (1937), and the stories All the Young Men (1935). Santa Fe recounts the history of that city.

See his autobiographical Raw Material (1945); biographies by E. Gillis (1967), D. McNickle (1971), and T. M. Pearce (1972).

Oliver Hazard Perry La Farge (19 December 1901 - 2 August 1963) was an American writer and anthropologist, perhaps best known for his 1930 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Laughing Boy. Named for his uncle, Oliver H.P. Lafarge, he is the grandson of the artist and stained-glass pioneer John La Farge, nephew of the noted Beaux-Arts architect Christopher LaFarge and the father of the folk singer and painter Peter La Farge.

La Farge's short stories were published in The New Yorker and Esquire magazines. His more notable works, fiction and non-fiction, focus on Native American culture.

Personal life

La Farge was born in New York City. He was named for his ancestor Oliver Hazard Perry and his uncle architect Oliver H.P. LaFarge I. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in 1924 and a master's in 1929. He was the leader for some time of the Association on American Indian Affairs, a New York-based charitable organization and advocacy group.

La Farge, a Newport, Rhode Island New Englander whose grandfather was of French descent and whose other ancestors included English colonists and Narragansetts, was an anthropologist who discovered two previously unknown languages while on scientific expeditions to Central America and the American Southwest. He is well-known for his pioneering visit, with Frans Blom in 1925, to Mexico and what has since become known as the Olmec heartland, (re)discovering San Martin Pajapan Monument 1 and, most importantly, the ruins of La Venta, one of the major Olmec centers.

La Farge also spent much of his adult life championing Indian rights and was president of the Association on American Indian Affairs for several years.

His published output included several scientific papers and non-fiction books, as well as several novels and a column for the Santa Fe newspaper The New Mexican, some of which were released in book form as The Man With the Calabash Pipe.

La Farge had two children by his first wife, heiress Wanden Matthews: a son, Oliver Albee La Farge, and a daughter, Povy; and another son, John Pendaries "Pen" La Farge, by his second wife, Consuelo Baca La Farge. His 1956 book Behind the Mountains is based on the reminiscences of Consuelo's family, who were ranchers in northern New Mexico. After La Farge and Matthews divorced in 1935, Oliver Albee changed his name to Peter La Farge and became a Greenwich Village folksinger with five Folkways Records albums.

La Farge died in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1963.

Works

  • Tribes and Temples (with Frans Blom) 1926-27
  • Laughing Boy (1929), novel, the basis for the 1934 motion picture of the same name.
  • The Year Bearer's People (with Douglas Byers) 1931
  • Introduction to American Indian Art (with John Sloan) 1931
  • Sparks Fly Upward (1931), novel.
  • Long Pennant, 1933
  • All the Young Men (1935), collection of short stories.
  • The Enemy Gods (1937), novel.
  • An Alphabet for Writing the Navajo Language, 1940
  • The Changing Indian (editor) 1942
  • The Copper Pot, 1942
  • War Below Zero (with Corey Ford and Bernt Balchen) 1944
  • Raw Material (1945), a memoir.
  • Santa Eulalia: The Religion of a Cuchumatan Indian Town (1947), non-fiction.
  • The Eagle in the Egg, 1949
  • Cochise of Arizona, 1953
  • The Mother Ditch, 1954
  • A Pictorial History of the American Indian (1956), non-fiction.
  • Behind the Mountains (1956), non-fiction.
  • A Pause in the Desert (1957), collection of short stories.
  • Santa Fe: The Autobiography of a Southwestern Town (with Arthur N. Morgan) 1959
  • The Door in the Wall, 1965
  • The Man With the Calabash Pipe (edited by Winfield Townley Scott) 1966

External links

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