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Maria Chabot Papers

Identifier: MS-40

Scope and Contents Note

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N. Stewart; stewardship of the Los Luceros hacienda, deeded to her by museum founder Mary Cabot Wheelwright; and an unpublished book on her time as a companion of Georgia O'Keeffe at Ghost Ranch and the renovation of O'Keeffe's home in Abiquiu, New Mexico.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: 1866-2002, undated


Language of Materials

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.

Copy and Reproduction Restrictions

Copies may be made for research purposes only.

Biographical and Historical Note

Maria Chabot (1913-2001) was a writer and an advocate for Native American and Spanish Colonial artistic traditions. Chabot's paternal grandfather was a British consular agent at San Luis Potosi, Mexico in the 1860s. He later settled with his family in San Antonio, Texas where Chabot was born on September 18, 1913. In 1933, at nineteen years old, she traveled to Mexico City. There she met painter Dorothy Stewart, her sister Margretta Stewart Dietrich, and notable Mexican artists, including Jose Clemente Orozco. Chabot accepted Stewart's invitation to return to Santa Fe, New Mexico with her in 1934, where she took a job with the New Mexico Department of Vocational Education, and then in 1935 with the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Board. Under the auspices of these agencies and as part of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) initiative she photographed and documented Native American and Spanish Colonial arts and crafts in the Southwest. In 1936, with New Mexico Association on Indian Affairs president Margretta Dietrich, Chabot helped to establish Santa Fe's "Indian Market" as a weekly event modeled on Mexican outdoor markets and held under the Santa Fe Palace of the Governors portal. She also proposed that native artists be allowed to set their own prices. These art markets became the popular annual Santa Fe Indian Market.

Through her association with Stewart and work with the WPA, Chabot met Mary Cabot Wheelwright, founder of the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art (renamed the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian.) Wheelwright became Chabot's benefactor and employed her to manage her property, the historic Los Luceros hacienda in Alcalde, New Mexio. Chabot oversaw labor and supervised agriculture. She also became president of the local irrigation association, an unusual position for a woman at the time, and adjudicated disputes over water rights. Chabot was deeded Los Luceros after Wheelwright's death but sold it in the 1960s.

Wheelwright introduced Chabot to Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico in 1940. Chabot was twenty-six and an aspiring writer, and O'Keeffe was fifty-three and an important artist. From 1941 to 1944, Chabot spent summers with O'Keeffe at the artist's Ghost Ranch house. Chabot had intended to write, but spent most of her time managing activities at the ranch. She also often accompanied O'Keeffe on camping trips throughout northern New Mexico on which the artist created many of her paintings. In 1946, Chabot agreed to manage the rebuilding of an adobe hacienda on a hilltop in Abiquiu, 48 miles northwest of Santa Fe. She supervised the building crew and participated in design decisions for what became O'Keeffe's primary residence. The friendship between Chabot and O'Keeffe endured until O'Keeffe's death in 1986.

In 1996, Chabot was named a "Living Treasure" of Santa Fe. She died in 2001 at eighty-seven years old in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


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.)


The Maria Chabot Papers documents the life and work of Maria Chabot. The bulk of the items date from 1933 to the 1990s. There are biographical materials, correspondence, research, writing, materials related to her friendships, and materials related to her interests and many projects in the American Southwest.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged into ten series:

  1. Series 1: Biographical
  2. Series 2: Correspondence
  3. Series 3: Research and writing
  4. Series 4 Dorothy N. Stewart friendship
  5. Series 5: Southwestern United States arts and crafts surveys
  6. Series 6: Los Luceros property
  7. Series 7: Art
  8. Series 8: Photographs
  9. Series 9: Ephemera
  10. Series 10: Audiovisual materials

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum by the Maria Chabot Literary Trust in 2013.

Credit Line

Gift of Maria Chabot.

Related Materials

The Maria Chabot Archive related to Georgia O'Keeffe MS.6/RC.2001.2 is located at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.

Additional Maria Chabot correspondece is also located in Alfred Stieglitz/Georgia O'Keeffe Archive, Yale Collection of American Literature. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Separated Materials

Chabot family records and photographs, and historical material related to San Antonio, Texas, were deaccessioned.

Materials Specific Details

Maria Chabot collected art and photography of interest to her and/ or created by friends and acquaintances. These materials are held in flat boxes in the collection and should be reviewed by conservation for practical improvements to their preservation and for appropriate housing. Priorities are the Los Luceros, Dorothy Stewart, Photographs, and Art series. In particular, the following boxes should be reviewed: 138, 153, 157-161, and 163-166.

Ownership and Rights

This collection is the physical property of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. The Museum holds rights only for material created by Museum personnel or given to the Museum with such rights specifically assigned. The collection is subject to all copyright laws. The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply. Contact the Archivist for further copyright and publication information as it pertains to this collection.

Explanation of Rights

Processing Information

Initial processing of this collection was done by Kaye Marks. Further processing and final arrangement and description was supported by a New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board grant and completed by Laura Ward in 2017.

Finding Aid to the Maria Chabot Papers, 1866-2002, undated
Laura Ward
May 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Repository

217 Johnson Street
Santa Fe NM 87501 US