Wilson, Bernice (Bee), 1962-1981
Scope and Contents Note
After Georgia O'Keeffe's death, The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation (GOKF) was established in 1989 to protect and preserve the legacy of Georgia O'Keeffe. One of its core functions was to distribute O'Keeffe's assets, including her Abiquiu home and studio, and the contents therein. Upon the dissolution of GOKF in 2006, GOKF donated remaining assets to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Among those assets were materials of an archival nature still contained in the Abiquiu home and studio. Those materials now constitute the Georgia O'Keeffe Papers, with the exception of archival materials from the Abiquiu home's Bookroom, which will be processed as a separate collection. Some archival materials remain in the Abiquiu home and studio, and will be transferred to the archive as accruals into the Georgia O'Keeffe Papers. As a whole, the Georgia O'Keeffe Papers provides a unique snapshot into O'Keeffe's day-to-day affairs by representing both the extraordinary aspects of her life as well as the decidedly mundane.
Among the materials present in the Georgia O'Keeffe Papers are O'Keeffe's business papers, including the Abiquiu Notebooks (so named because of their original storage in three-ring binders in the Abiquiu home and studio). The Abiquiu Notebooks are O'Keeffe's own records of her artwork, originally compiled by Doris Bry in the 1950s. The Notebooks document titles, dimensions, owners, exhibition history, and more in the form of an individual factsheet for each work, and often include reference photographs to remove the ambiguity around paintings' identities. Additional business papers include exhibition records, especially ephemera and checklists, as well as papers from O'Keeffe's time working with Edith Halpert and the Downtown Gallery, such as receipts, correspondence, and lists.
Biographical materials include awards bestowed throughout O'Keeffe's lifetime, such as the National Medal of Arts in 1985. Medical records pertain mostly to mitigating her failing eyesight later in life and are restricted until 2059.
O'Keeffe's house and property files document unique aspects of her Abiquiu home and studio, including a fallout shelter on the property, the garden from which she grew much of her food, and the process of nominating the house as a National Historic Site through the National Park Service. Other miscellaneous house files include pamphlets and manuals for appliances and other household goods.
O'Keeffe's world travel is well documented through maps, travel itineraries, and her penchant for collecting ephemeral souvenirs while vacationing. O'Keeffe gathered and stored much of these materials in "travel boxes," paper and cardboard boxes labeled by O'Keeffe with the country of origin and containing materials collected and saved by O'Keeffe during specific trips. Travel materials found outside these boxes have been sorted by country or trip, when known. This includes materials related to O'Keeffe's many Around the World tours through the travel agency Donald L. Ferguson Travel.
Miscellaneous subject files reflect O'Keeffe's interest in everything from art materials to bull fighting to her Chow Chow dogs.
Writings in the collection include miscellaneous notes and lists by O'Keeffe, but also a sizable collection of recipes handwritten by O'Keeffe that reflect her interest in cooking and nutrition. Publication documents relate to O'Keeffe's work creating her autobiography with Viking Press, proofs and samples for the Whitney Museum's exhibition publication on O'Keeffe, and other miscellaneous publication requests and documentation.
A small amount of correspondence and photographs in the collection help to flesh out the numerous other archival collections of letters and photographs related to O'Keeffe.
- Creation: 1962-1981
Series III contains medical files that are restricted until 2059. Fragile materials require special handling. Contact the Archivist for more information.
From the Collection: 42 Linear Feet