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Maria Chabot Archive

Identifier: MS-6

Scope and Contents Note

In 2001, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum received, as a bequest from the Estate of Maria Chabot, hundreds of letters she received from Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz between 1941 and O'Keeffe's death in 1986. Most of the letters date from the 1940s and describe the experiences Chabot and O'Keeffe shared during the years Chabot lived with O'Keeffe at the artist's Ghost Ranch house (1941-1944) and oversaw the renovation of the ruined adobe hacienda that O'Keeffe purchased in 1945 in the village of Abiquiu (1946-1949). Most of O'Keeffe's letters to Chabot were written from New York, and because the artist corresponded frequently from New York only with Chabot, her letters are a rich and unique resource of information about the artist's thoughts and feelings about her daily life there.

The Maria Chabot Archive also includes hundreds of photographs and film, primarily taken by Chabot in the 1940s. Chabot took numerous photographs of O'Keeffe, her Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu houses, her paintings, and their camping/painting trips in Northern New Mexico. Records and notes relating to the photographic material is also included.

The archive includes photocopies of letters from Chabot to O'Keeffe and Stieglitz, and notes related to these letters. Some of this material duplicates originals found in the archive, but the bulk of the photocopies are of materials housed at other institutions. This material is currently restricted.


  • Creation: 1940-2001, undated


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions

Certain materials in this collection are restricted, including Series 3: Photocopy Correspondence and Notes. The photographic print materials may be accessed by researchers. Access to film materials requires the permission of the archivist. The majority of the correspondence and photographs have been digitized and are publicly available in the online collections accessible from the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum website.

Copy and Reproduction Restrictions

Photocopies of most materials 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. In 1933, at nineteen years old, Chabot traveled to Mexico City where she met painter Dorothy Stewart and her sister Margretta Stewart Dietrich. Chabot accepted Stewart's invitation to return to Santa Fe, New Mexico with her in 1934. Through her association with Stewart and during her 1934-1937 documentary survey of Native American and Spanish Colonial art, Chabot became friends with Mary Cabot Wheelwright, founder of the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art (now the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian). Wheelwright introduced Chabot to Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico in 1940.

From 1941-1944, 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 women wrote frequently during the winter and early spring, when O'Keeffe was with Alfred Stieglitz in New York and Chabot was with her family in San Antonio. The friendship between Chabot and O'Keeffe endured until O'Keeffe's death in 1986.

Maria Chabot believed that her correspondence with O'Keeffe and her photographs were important historically, and by the early 1980s had envisioned publishing them. Although she made significant progress over the years, the project was far from finished at the time of her death in 2001, when her literary estate was bequeathed to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Editors Barbara Buhler Lynes and Ann Paden were able to finish the book. The volume was published by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the University of New Mexico Press: Maria Chabot/Georgia O'Keeffe: Correspondence, 1941-1949. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum has exhibited the letters and photographs from this publication in an exhibition titled: Moments in Time, Photographs by Maria Chabot.


7.47 Linear Feet


The Maria Chabot Archive includes correspondence, photographs, and film, dating from 1940 to 2001. The bulk of the material dates from the 1940s and relates to the experiences Chabot and O'Keeffe shared during the years Chabot lived with O'Keeffe at the artist's Ghost Ranch house (1941-1944) and oversaw the renovation of the ruined adobe hacienda that O'Keeffe purchased in 1945 in the village of Abiquiu (1946-1949).

Arrangement of Collection

The archive is arranged into three series: Correspondence, Photographic Material, and Photocopy Correspondence and Notes (restricted)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The archive was donated by the Maria Chabot Literary Trust to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in 2001.

Credit Line

Gift of Maria Chabot.

Related Materials

The Maria Chabot Papers MS.40 / RC.2013.3 collection is located at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum.

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

Also see the publication: Lynes, Barbara, Buhler, ed., with Ann Paden. Maria Chabot/Georgia O'Keeffe: Correspondence, 1941-1949. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003.

Copyright to Chabot materials held by Beinecke/Yale are held by Barbara Buhler Lynes per email from Lynes to Rana Chan, GOKM on 7/8/2020. See RCS deed documentation for additional information.

Ownership and Rights

The Maria Chabot Archive materials are the physical property of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. 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 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum archivist for further copyright and publication information as it pertains to this collection.

Processing Information

Processing of the archive began prior to 2008 by Museum staff. Processing was completed by Elizabeth Ehrnst in 2011. The finding aid was edited by Laura Ward in 2017.

Processing Information

In 2020, item level correspondence records from MS.6 were exported out of CONTENTdm for import into ArchivesSpace. This correspondence contained three different legacy unique ID systems, all using a three-part alpha-numeric system in the following format: MS-XXXX-###, in which the second section usually referred to the initials of the correspondent and recipient, and the third section used sequential numbering to uniquely identify the correspondence, and generally (but not perfectly) numbered the items so as to place them in chronological order.

The bulk of the materials fell under correspondence from Georgia O'Keeffe to Maria Chabot, with the unique IDs of MS-GOMC-001 through MS-GOMC-332. In addition to correspondence from O'Keeffe to Chabot, this ID system also contained 2 letters from Chabot to O'Keeffe, a letter from Mabel Ludlum to Chabot, Chabot to Ludlum, American Place brochures, Modernfold Doors brochure, Museum of Modern Art exhibition invitation, Art Institute of Chicago exhibition invitation, and a Donald Ferguson tour itinerary. While using the MS-GOMC-### sytem for unique identifiers, this set of correspondence used a separate system (formatted RC-2001-002-###, mirroring the accession numbering system) as the titles for the digital objects within CONTENTdm. The last three digits within both the MS-GOMC-### and the RC-2001-002-### systems matched, refering to the same item. [Please note that within this set, some numbers in the sequence were missed (MS-GOMC-124, 127, 160, and 231), and other numbers were duplicated. Among the duplications, items were distinguished from one another with the addition of capital letters: either A, AA, AAA, etc or A, B, C, etc.]

The second system of numbering refers to correspondence from Maria Chabot to Georgia O'Keeffe, with the unique IDs of MS-MCGO-333 through MS-MCGO-370 (the sequential numbering continued from the GOMC set). The digital objects within this set had titles of MS-MCGO-###, and did not use the RC-2001-002-### system.

Finally, the third numbering system contains correspondence primarily from Alfred Stieglitz to Maria Chabot, with unique IDs of MS-ASMC-001 through MS-ASMC-024 (it did not continue the sequential numbering at 371, and instead restarted at 001). This set contains one item from Stieglitz to O'Keeffe, with all other items from Stieglitz to Chabot. Like the second set, the digital objects in CONTENTdm for this set had titles of MS-ASMC-###, and did not use the RC-2001-002-### system.

During the process of exporting correspondence out of CONTENTdm and importing into ArchivesSpace, the decision was made to retain the legacy IDs in the format of MS-XXXX-### instead of assigning each a unique accession number for two main reasons. 1: Photographs from MS.6 already had item-level records in ArchivesSpace WITH accession numbers assigned, from RC.2001.2.1 through RC.2001.2.380. This means that the first set of correspondence, in which accession-formatted titles were given to digital objects in CONTENTdm, would need an accession number assigned that would conflict with the digital objects' titles. This would create confusion, as each item from that set would have two legacy numbers and one accession number that conflicted with the legacy numbers. 2: The physical letters were previously numbered with their legacy ID number on the recto, often in the viewer upper left corner. By maintaining the legacy IDs, the numbers on the physical items will match the unique ID.

Therefore, correspondence in this collection retains its legacy IDs, recognizable by the format MS-XXXX-###. Photographs in this collection are assigned accession numbers, formatted as RC.2001.2.XXX (without leading zeroes).

Finding Aid to the Maria Chabot Archive, 1940-2001, undated
Elizabeth Ehrnst
January 2012
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