Santa Fe living treasure: Theo Raven June 2010
Theo Raven is still a child at heart. Step inside the magical world of Doodlet’s, her downtown business, to experience pure whimsy and delight. Toys wiggle and yodel, hand puppets come alive, and funny cards and children’s books amuse. With her signature single braid, Theo will be there, engaged with the children (of all ages), and greeting their animals. Her delight, she says, is in the delight of others.
Doodlet’s originally opened 55 years ago, with both Theo and her mother running the business. She has been involved with the business most of her life, except for a decade when she lived in Seattle with her husband Peter Raven.
Doodlet is the nickname given to baby Theo by Will Shuster, family friend and early Santa Fe artist. Theo’s mother was called Doodles, so her first-born became known as Doodlet.
Theo still lives in her childhood home in Tesuque. She recalls life with farm animals, apple orchards, and her extended family—which grew to include the children her mother cared for on the New Mexico children’s ranch celebrated in a 1953 television episode of Ralph Edwards’ “This is Your Life.”
Theo, sometimes called the “unofficial greeter of Santa Fe,” is very committed to her community, supporting education for Santa Fe’s youth. She champions organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Assistance Dogs of the West, and the region’s animal shelters. In 2008, she won an Historic Preservation Award for her successful renovation of the building (at Don Gaspar and Water Streets) that houses Doodlet’s, dating from 1870.
Theo has a multitude of friends who regard her as “an artist of the soul,” and an integral part of this community’s history. “Theo’s life has been devoted to lifting the spirits of everyone she encounters. She is of this land and it’s all the better for her being in the world.” And, her dogs say grace before eating!
Katherine Kagel, owner of Café Pasqual’s, says, “Theo is one individual in this town who has been working for 50 years for the joyful benefit of her neighbors.”
But don’t call Theo a role model, she insists. She once declined the honor of Living Treasure because “others are more deserving.” Today we are pleased to honor Theodora Doodlet Tesuque Ruthling Raven.
Story by Barbara Harrelson
Ruthling-related files and materials
- This is your life, Helena Ruthling
- Santa Fe living treasure: Helene Ruthling
- Santa Fe living treasure: Ford Ruthling
- Carleton ‘Carl’ Ruthling — Computer Scientist
- Santa Fe living treasure: Theo Raven
- As Real As Any Fantasy: The Art of Ford Ruthling
- Santa Fe artist Ford Ruthling was a master of multiple mediums