Steve Wimmer at La Fonda Concierge in the Plaza. Courtesy/New Mexico Magazine
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Museum of History (NMHM) and the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library (FACHL) announced that Marcy Botwick, master’s candidate at the University of New Mexico (UNM), has was selected as the first researcher to be supported by the Steve Wimmer Southwest Historical Research Fund.
With support provided by the Wimmer Fund, Botwick will study the life of artist Mary Blumenschein and expand her understanding of New Mexico’s women and artist communities.
The Steve Wimmer Southwest Historical Research Fund was established in 2021 to honor the memory of Steve Wimmer and his boundless enthusiasm for New Mexico history and cultural tourism. He was La Fonda’s Chief Concierge in the Plaza and enthusiastically spent 26 years helping visitors feel at home away from home.
“Steve was one of a kind,” recalled Jenny Kimball, chair of La Fonda’s board of directors in the Plaza. “We adored him even when he drove us crazy, because he had an incredible mind and talent. Creative beyond belief and always penniless – whatever his budget he exceeded it – Steve spent all his money for our guests and his friends.
Botwick is a candidate for a master’s degree in museum studies at UNM and has a master’s degree in library and information science from Rutgers University. She is also a recipient of the 2022 Bright Idea Award from the UNM College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences. Botwick has been interested in Blumenschein for several years, describing her as a “quietly strong person who did her own thing and didn’t shout about it”. The Wimmer Fund allows Botwick to research Blumenschein in depth with original archival material from the FACHL collection.
The Steve Wimmer Historical Research Fund has three purposes: to help fund library digitization efforts, to purchase materials for the library’s collections, and, primarily, to bring scholars to the heart of downtown Santa Fe where they can get their work done and enjoy things. Wimmer liked.
The Wimmer Fund’s first call for scholars went out to more than 300 individuals and organizations in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, and Texas, targeting scholars interested in studying history of New Mexico between 1879 and 1949. Because anyone interested in New Mexico history was invited to apply and because few grants fund travel, there was considerable interest.
Wimmer researchers are offered $1,000, which can be spent in whatever way best facilitates their work. They research for up to a week in Santa Fe, where they are assisted by trained FACHL archivists, enjoy four nights at La Fonda in the Plaza, and are offered access to guided tours and tours of museums in the city. In return, the recipient will deliver a lecture for the Friends of NMHM History and write an article for publication. They will also be invited to address the annual Fred Harvey History Weekend, which Wimmer helped found.