• October 22, 2021
 Anna B. Newman: The First Curator of the International Art Museum

Image courtesy El Paso County Historical Society and the El Paso Herald Post

Anna B. Newman: The First Curator of the International Art Museum

Anna Butterfield was born and raised in Knob Knoster, Missouri in 1881 to Maurice and Luvina Butterfield.

As noted by her last name, Miss Butterfield was a descendant of John Butterfield, for whom the Butterfield Wagon Trail route was named.

Miss Butterfield first came to El Paso in 1902 and met her husband, Charles Moorehead Newman on the Newman Family Ranch, which was located in Northeast El Paso.

The Newmans were a prominent farming family and land developers in El Paso; developing a residential area across the area that would take their name – Newman Park.

The Newmans took up residence at 2001 Altura in Central El Paso; where they had one son, Charles Jr., who died in 1941.

Mrs. Newman help organized “Bundles for Britain” during World War II at the Turney Home at 1205 Montana, which in 1947 became the home of the El Paso International Art Museum.

Charles Sr. was an organizer of the museum and served as the first president of the El Paso International Art Museum Association, which was granted a charter by the state in 1930.

The Turney Home came in possession of the association in 1945, but did not open until 1947, with Mrs. Newman as the first curator, and Mrs. Robert R. Bowie as her assistant.

In that role, Mrs. Newman began building the museum to serve as a cultural center in El Paso.  In her first year as curator, Mrs. Newman created an exhibit that was dedicated to El Paso pioneers.

She was credited for helping to organize the museum, acquiring artifacts and planning exhibits, even as the museum had no existing funds.

Mrs. Newman also organized monthly programs at the museum and would invite people interested in promoting and being involved in the museum to her home for dinner.

Her tenure was not without any drama, as in 1957, Newman and a maid were tied up in the museum, when a young man broke in the museum and took several items of value.

Mrs. Newman continued her work with the museum until her death in 1959.


Check out more Borderland history via the El Paso County Historical Society’s Facebook or Webpage

Joseph Longo

Born and raised in El Paso. Jose is a Curator and Archive Committee Chair for the El Paso County Historical Society. He does research and lectures about local history; and wrote several articles for the Password. Also, a former member of the El Paso City Historical Landmark Commission.

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