Millicent Rogers lived a priviledged life allowing her to explore the world, but ultimately she found great serenity in the mountains of New Mexico.
Millicent Rogers first came to my attention through Annette Tapert’s book The Power of Style. It is a wonderful book if you are interested in panache. The women featured were all intriguing but particularly Millicent. She made an impression on me because of her high fashion coupled with Southwestern touches. Being from Texas, I related to her Native American jewelry and long prairie skirts.
Millicent’s modus operandi.
Millicent was the heiress granddaughter of Henry Huttleston Rogers who, along with John D. Rockefeller, created The Standard Oil Company. She lived a fortunate life shuttling between New York City, Tuxedo Park, Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and Southhampton. Millicent was described as composed and elegant. She was bedridden at eight after being diagnosed with rheumatic fever. This experience altered her high-spirited behavior into one more languid and seemingly mature. Her illness necessitated quiet activities such as reading, drawing, and learning languages. She enjoyed spending long periods of time creating her own look as a means of self-expression. Consequently, fashion was a life-long interest.
Having been to Santa Fe several times already, I did not mind skipping out of town for an excursion. A few friends and I wanted to go to Taos to visit the Millicent Rogers Museum. The hour and a half drive is gorgeous and worth the trip alone.
The museum is located in a house donated for this purpose. Mrs. Rogers’ own home was not suitable being smaller and privately owned. The fireplace, above, is inside the museum. The photo below shows it from a different angle when the house was occupied.
The house is typical NM style with kiva fireplaces, low beamed ceilings, and thick white plaster walls. The human scale makes the museum intimate.
Millicent collected jewelry for her love of it but also to support the local artists.
Millicent sewed silver ornaments onto her clothing. The gift shop sells vintage ornaments if one feels so inclined. By all means, visit the shop. There are wonderful vintage pieces available for sale. The prices are lower than in Santa Fe.
Pop Chalee’s artwork and her incredible buckskin dress filled one room.
The museum is a great source of Southwestern design.
The museum exhibits art and accessories made in the area such as weavings, tin, religious art, and paintings.
Wonderful colors in this painting.
Millicent Rogers’ artistic talent presented itself in her fashions.
Ms. Rogers was famously photographed dying velvet on top of her stove.
Both of the remarkable necklaces pictured above are of her design. She often carried wax as she made her own molds for casting her jewelry.
Millicent had numerous homes, multiple husbands, additional love affairs, three sons, and seven dachshunds. She moved to New Mexico largely due to her illness, but it was there in the beautiful spiritual New Mexico that she found pleasure in a simpler life. Two books give good accounts of the fascinating life of Millicent Rogers found here and here.
Casa V can bring a touch of your individual style to your home.