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Anita O'Keeffe Young Papers

Identifier: MS-53

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the collection consists of handwritten letters from Georgia O'Keeffe to her sister, Anita O'Keeffe Young, dating from the 1940s to the 1970s. The letters largely relate to personal matters, daily activities, and the management of O'Keeffe's paintings. There is some correspondence between O'Keeffe and Robert R. Young, Anita O'Keeffe Young's husband, and his assistant Florence McCormick, related to financial matters. Additionally, there are five small photographs and one article clipping.

Accruals for this collection include additional correspondence, primarily of a business nature relating to Georgia O'Keeffe paintings in the possession of Anita Young and her estate. Also included are over 40 family photographs, over 100 photographs of O'Keeffe paintings, and some images of Ireland, as well as ephemera related to Isabel Dunham Wyckoff Totto (Georgia O'Keeffe's grandmother) and legal documents concerning O'Keeffe's lawsuit with Doris Bry and the settlement of O'Keeffe's estate.


  • Creation: 1845-1989, undated

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

Series II: Photographic Material and Series III: Ephemera contain some fragile materials. See Archivist for handling.

Series IV: Legal Documents is restricted until March 4, 2059. Access restrictions are consistent with the wishes of The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation and the restrictions for The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation and Georgia O'Keeffe's Legal and Litigation Records housed at the Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. See the Archivist for more information.

The remainder of the collection is open to the public for research purposes.

Copy and Reproduction Restrictions

Copies may be made for research purposes only.

Biographical Note

Anita O'Keeffe Young (1891-1985), a younger sister of Georgia O'Keeffe, was a noted hostess and philanthropist. Young was married to Robert Ralph Young (1897-1958), a United States financier, industrialist, and railroad magnate. They had one daughter, Eleanor "Cookie" Young, who was known as a "Glamour Debutante". She was killed in a 1941 plane crash. Young purchased several paintings by O'Keeffe and kept them in her three residences: Montsorrel in Palm Beach, Florida; Fairholme in Newport, Rhode Island; and, a New York City apartment.

David W. Wallace (1924-2017), corporate attorney and philanthropist, was a friend and personal attorney of Anita O'Keeffe Young. At the request of Georgia O'Keeffe and Anita Young, he often consulted with Doris Bry over the planned disposition of Young's art collection, particularly the loaned and owned O'Keeffe paintings. David Wallace served in the 1st Infantry Division during World War II, received his bachelor's degree in Engineering from Yale, and later graduated from Harvard Law School. He was married to Jean McLean Wallace.


1.583 Linear Feet


Collection primarily consists of letters from Georgia O'Keeffe to her sister Anita O'Keeffe Young dating from 1937 to 1976. Includes select other correspondents, photographic material, and clippings. Accruals consist of additional correspondence, photographs, legal documents, and ephemera.

Arrangement of Collection

This collection is arranged into five series: Series I: Correspondence, Series II: Photographic Material, Series III: Ephemera, Series IV: Legal Documents, Series V: Clippings.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum by Jean and David W. Wallace in 2016. Accruals to the collection were donated to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum by the Jean and David W. Wallace Family in 2022.

Credit Line

Gift of Jean and David W. Wallace. Accruals: Gift of Jean and David W. Wallace Family.


Correspondence, photographs, legal documents, and ephemera donated as accrual to the Anita O'Keeffe Young Papers. No further accruals are expected.

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

This collection was processed in 2017 by Pat Bacha and Elizabeth Ehrnst. Item-level processing and photography of original collection occurred in early 2022. Accruals were processed at the file level in late 2022 by Ashley Baranyk.

Finding Aid to the Anita O'Keeffe Young Papers, 1845-1989, undated
Elizabeth Ehrnst and Ashley Baranyk
Created 2017. Revised 2022.
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.

Revision Statements

  • March 2022: Accession numbers assigned and item-level records created for entire 2016.6 accession.
  • October 2022: Finding aid revised in October 2022 by Ashley Baranyk due to accruals. Accruals processed at the file level, with the exception of one letter from Georgia O'Keeffe to Florence McCormick, 1948-06-16.

Repository Details

Part of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Repository

217 Johnson Street
Santa Fe NM 87501 US