Skip to main content

Irene Zelinski to Maria Chabot, 1964 March through 1972 November

 File — binder: 26
Identifier: 1.7.1

Scope and Contents Note

From the Collection:

The Maria Chabot Papers contains materials collected by Maria Chabot. Included are personal records; diaries and travel diaries; extensive correspondence dating from 1933 to 2001 with colleagues, family, and friends; interviews with Chabot; photographs, slides, and negatives; notebooks, research notes, writings, brochures, photocopies, and other miscellaneous papers; as well as a small number of materials related to Chabot family history including family albums, histories, photographs and records. The bulk of the materials relate to Maria Chabot's research, writing, and literary work. There are more than 60 drafts or completed short stories, novels, and non-fiction materials that Chabot generated over the years, along with rejection letters she received from publishers; copies of the published articles on Indian arts and crafts that she wrote in the 1930s; and documents, notes, photographs, records and reports she generated when attending conferences, taking courses, and working on various projects. Chabot undertook significant projects in the 1930s and 1940s, including a photographic survey of Southwestern native and traditional arts and crafts with artist Dorothy N. Stewart; stewardship of the Los Luceros hacienda, deeded to her by museum founder Mary Cabot Wheelwright; and an unpublished book on her time as a companion of Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch and the renovation of O'Keeffe's home in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The collection also contains books, newspaper and magazine clippings, art work, photographs, ephemera, and audiovisual materials of interest to Maria Chabot, which she collected over her lifetime.


  • Creation: 1964 March through 1972 November


Language of Materials

From the Collection:

Materials predominantly in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public for research purposes. Select materials in this collection may be restricted for reasons of cultural sensitivity or for privacy. Materials related to the Christiane Gallet biography are restricted. Some materials in this collection were labeled "confidential" by Maria Chabot during the course of her lifetime; they do not necessarily have present-day restrictions on access. See the Archivist for more information. Some materials are fragile and may require handling by the Archivist.


From the Collection: 74.4 Linear Feet (62 Full Hollinger boxes (15.25" x 5" x 10.25"): 25.85 Linear feet. 71 Half Hollinger boxes (15.25" x 2.5" x 10.25"): 14.84 Linear feet. 8 11x14 boxes: 9.36 Linear feet. 8 9x12 boxes: 9 Linear feet. 6 16x20 boxes: 10.02 Linear feet. 1 20x24 boxes: 2 Linear feet. 8 5x12 boxes: 3.33 Linear feet. 164 total boxes.)


Seventeen letters, Zelinski's suicide note to Chabot, and fifteen postcards from Irene Zelinski to Maria Chabot, March 5, 1964 – Nov. 7, 1972, along with twenty-five undated letters, fragments of three letters, an itinerary of travel in Greece, and a map of Athens are contained in this box. Five letters from Zelinski to Chabot, March 5, 1964 – April 9, 1964, the first of which tells of financial and legal preparations Zelinski has made before embarking on a trip to Greece. The second is a letter she is leaving in her desk addressed to Chabot giving her instructions as her executrix in case of her demise while traveling. The other three letters are written from aboard ship en route to Greece. Six letters and eleven postcards from Greece, April 13, 1964 – June 1963, are written from Greece. There is also one postcard from Istanbul, Turkey; an itinerary of the Greek trip; and a map of Athens. Her letter of April 30, 1964 tells of her affair with the Greek hotel manager, Nicolas, and her letter of May 5, 1964 gives a physical description of him. On September 9, 1964 Zelinski attempted suicide by talking pills. Her suicide note to Chabot is here enclosed. For details on the suicide attempt consult the Maria Chabot Archives, Confidential Correspondence, Maria Chabot to Christiane Gallet, Sept. 11, 1964 – Oct. 15, 1964. Four letters, Feb. 2, 1964 – July 14, 1965, are written from San Francisco. The letter posted June 18, 1965 has a note on the back of the last page by Georgeanna Wight. Two letters, Aug. 25, [1971] and Nov. 7, 1972 are written from San Francisco after Zelinski's marriage to her second husband, Ray [Raymond] James. The first letter mentions surgery on her right hand for cancer, which will eventually take her life. The second letter was written four days before her death on Nov. 11, 1972. Twenty-five undated letters, of which six are inscribed with the day and month but not the year, and nineteen are inscribed with only the day of the week. Four fragmentary letters [there are pages missing] probably written between 1956 and 1961.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Repository

217 Johnson Street
Santa Fe NM 87501 US