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Georgia O'Keeffe Papers

Identifier: MS-33

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: 1914-1991, undated

Language of Materials

Materials predominantly in English. Several other languages present in the travel files.

Access Restrictions

Series III contains medical files that are restricted until 2059. Fragile materials require special handling. Contact the Archivist for more information.

Copy and Reproduction Restrictions

Reference copies may be made for research purposes. Some materials may be restricted.


42 Linear Feet


Papers compiled by Georgia O'Keeffe over the course of her life. Materials include the Abiquiu Notebooks and other business papers, biographical materials, house and property files, subject files, travel files, writings, notes, correspondence, clippings, and photographic material, and date from 1914 to 1991.

Arrangement of the Collection

Collection is currently arranged into eleven series:

Series I: Abiquiu Notebooks Series II: Business papers Series III: Biographical material Series IV: Correspondence Series V: House and property files Series VI: Subject files Series VII: Travel files Series VIII: Writings and notes Series IX: Photographic material Series X: Clippings Series XI: Enclosures

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum by The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation in 2006.

Credit Line

Gift of The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation.


2014.7 Abiquiu home and studio material; 2019.11 "Garden Files, Food" box and contents; 2021.3 Georgia O'Keeffe Papers accrual. Additional accruals expected.

Related Materials

MS.61: The Georgia O'Keeffe / Alfred Stieglitz Papers and MS.31: Papers from the Ghost Ranch Library are located at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.

YCAL MSS 85: Alfred Stieglitz / Georgia O'Keeffe Archive, Yale Collection of American Literature. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

For more information on the Abiquiu Notebooks, see publication: Lynes, Barbara Buhler. Georgia O'Keeffe: Catalogue Raisonne. New Haven: Yale University Press in association with the National Gallery of Art and The Georgia O'Keeffe Foundation, 1999.

Separated Materials

The Georgia O'Keeffe Papers consists of archival materials located in O'Keeffe's Abiquiu home and studio, with the exception of archival materials from the Abiquiu home's Bookroom, which will be processed as a separate collection. Archival materials from the Bookroom were originally treated as part of the Georgia O'Keeffe Papers, but during processing it became apparent that the materials would be better served as their own collection. Some materials that previously belonged in the Georgia O'Keeffe Papers are now part of the Abiquiu Bookroom archive collection due to this separation.

Archival materials from the Bookroom were found filed with or inside O'Keeffe's personal library in the Abiquiu Bookroom. During cataloging of the library's contents, documentation of each archival item was included, indicating the book and page number in which the archival materials were found.

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



Finding Aid to the Georgia O'Keeffe Papers, 1914-1991, undated
Ashley Baranyk, Hannah Yetwin
September 2023
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