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A Peculiar Alchemy

A Centennial History of SAR 1907–2007

Nancy Owen Lewis and Kay Leigh Hagan; Preface by James F. Brooks

In 2007, SAR celebrated its 100th anniversary. Established to promote the study of American antiquity, the School now supports wide-ranging programs dedicated to increasing our understanding of human culture and evolution through the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Drawing upon historical records and dozens of interview with scholars, artists, staff, and members of the Board of Managers, this book brings to life the people, debates, conflicts, and creativity that make the School an exciting and thought-provoking place to study, work, and create. It serves at once as the story of an exceptional institution and a fascinating history of anthropology and anthropology’s diverse cast of characters.

2007. 1224 pp., 145 duotone and 50 color illustrations, chronology, notes, documentary list, index, 8.5 x 11

Contributors: Kay Leigh Hagan, Nancy Owen Lewis

Awards: 2008 New Mexico Book Award Best History Book

Download an excerpt.

“SAR has been for me a time and place of contemplation, good work, and fellowship–and above all, inspiration. I have been greatly blessed by the men and women who have walked these grounds with me. Here there is an air of challenge, well-being, and something like creative mischief. Deo gratias for such alchemy.”
—N. Scott Momaday


  1. The Search for Roots, Relics, and History
  2. Training Students, Transforming a Town
  3. Preserving Indian Culture, Promoting Indian Arts
  4. Digging the Past, Building a Future
  5. Marriage, Madness, and Memorials
  6. Seeking Direction, Surviving Divorce
  7. Starting Over
  8. Getting Back on the Map
  9. Facilitating the Exchange of Ideas
  10. Fostering the Creative Scholar
  11. Honoring Native Imagination
  12. Communicating Results
  13. Turning the Page

There are no working papers for this book at the present time.