At the School of American Research the most memorable high-
light of the visitors’ tour is probably the Indian Arts Research
Center, with its stores of pottery (much of it immense), textiles,
silverwork, basketry, carvings, and graphic arts. Also memorable are the
terraced gardens and the rambling adobe buildings that once formed the
White sisters’ abode and now house the School’s administration. Visitors
are less likely to recall pausing at a spot along a wooded path between the
Whites’ former dwellings and the more recently constructed art center. It is
here that we arrive at the cemetery of the White sisters’ dogs. Beneath the
fifty-odd small, bright blue wooden crosses lie the Whites’ prize-winning
Irish wolfhounds and Afghan hounds, their names painted in red: Penny,
Gael, Cucullin, Farouz, Sargon, Finn, Rosaleen . . . The dog cemetery, so
highly personal, festively colored, and seemingly incongruous in this in-
stitution devoted to art and scholarship, comes as such a surprise that it is
almost possible to miss the formal marble tombstone and bust marking the
sisters’ own grave, just a few steps away. But for most visitors the attention
granted the dogs’ graves is momentary, quite likely soon forgotten or
chalked up as an example of the sort of eccentric indulgence to be expected
of the very wealthy, at any rate an indulgence overshadowed by the signifi-
cant philanthropic deeds and bequests of the dogs’ owners. The dog ceme-
tery plays a role similar to that of the tale of the sisters buying the property
after stopping to have their hair done in the middle of a cross-country
roadtrip—it is an amusing foil for the School’s present purposes.
My own initial response to the dog cemetery was similar to that of most
visitors. I had set out to investigate the White sisters’ involvement in art and
anthropology. Only after learning a good deal about that did I begin to
wonder whether the dog cemetery was not a more significant part of the
puzzle of these women’s lives and of connections among gender, taste,
anthropology, commodification, and consumer society. I was aware that
the Whites had a kennel and team of show dogs and that Elizabeth had
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