La Farge, Oliver, 1901-1963

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1901-12-19
Death 1963-08-02
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Oliver La Farge studied anthropology at Harvard University where he took part in an archaeological expedition to northern Arizona where he studied Navajo ruins. He earned a Hemenway Fellowship that extended to graduate research in Guatemala with the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University. While writing the report of his research trip, La Farge also began writing his first novel, Laughing Boy, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929. La Farge was a prolific writer, publishing 24 books and dozens of articles and short stories, but he also served in the U.S. Air Transport Command during World War II and became deeply involved in relations between American Indian tribes and the Federal Government.

From the description of Oliver La Farge papers, 1929-1932. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 181746234

American author.

From the description of Oliver La Farge Collection, 1886-1966 (bulk 1924-1966). (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRC); University of Texas at Austin). WorldCat record id: 122692629

Born in New York City in 1901, Oliver La Farge attended Saint Bernard's Elementary School before being sent to Groton Academy in Lowell, Massachusetts. He entered Harvard in 1920 where his interest in writing earned him a place on the editorial board of the Harvard Advocate, in which several of his early short stories and poems were published. During his first year at Harvard La Farge took part in an archaeological expedition to northern Arizona where he studied Navajo ruins. He turned the experience into a short story when he returned to school, but he also took a strong interest in past cultures and majored in anthropology. He earned a Hemenway Fellowship which extended to graduate research in Guatemala with the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University.

While writing the report of his research trip La Farge also began writing his first novel, Laughing Boy, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929. The end of his research grant and the success of his book allowed La Farge to choose between writing and research. He chose writing.

Late in 1929 he married Wanden E. Mathews in New York City, where the couple lived until 1933 when they moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. They had two children before they moved. La Farge felt entirely at home in Santa Fe but Wanden was not happy in the West and in 1937 the couple divorced. Two years later La Farge was back in New York where he married Consuelo Pendaries y Baca. The couple returned to New Mexico, where they remained for the rest of their lives. They had a son in 1951.

La Farge was a prolific writer, publishing 24 books and dozens of articles and short stories, but he also served in the U.S. Air Transport Command during World War II and became deeply involved in relations between American Indian tribes and the Federal Government. He died after a lung operation in Bataan Memorial Hospital in Albuquerque in August 1963. His wife, Consuelo, finished editing and saw published a final collection of his short stories, The Door in the Wall, in 1965.

From the guide to the Oliver La Farge Collection TXRC00-A0., 1886-1966, (bulk 1924-1966), (Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center)

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Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6hx1g8j
Ark ID:
w6hx1g8j
SNAC ID:
34774589

Subjects:

  • Theater
  • Indians of Central America--Guatemala
  • Mayas
  • Authors, American
  • Indian dance
  • Indians of Central America
  • Anthropological linguistics
  • Indians of North America--Folklore
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • West (U.S.)--Social life and customs--Fiction
  • Anthropologists
  • Navajo Indians--Fiction

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Louisiana--New Orleans (as recorded)
  • Guatemala (as recorded)