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Maria Chabot Archive

Maria Chabot Archive

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Open Finding Aid

Finding Aid to the Maria Chabot Archive, 1940-2001, undated

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
217 Johnson Street
Santa Fe, 87501

January 2012

Collection Overview

Repository: Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Title: Maria Chabot Archive
Dates: Inclusive dates 1940-2001, undated
Quantity: 7.47 Linear feet
Abstract: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).
Identification: MS.06
Language: Materials and finding aid are written in English.

Biographical and Historical Note

Maria Chabot (1913-2001) was an aspiring writer but had a life full of many interests and experiences. She was born September 13, 1913 in San Antonio, T.X. In her early years she traveled to Mexico to study Spanish and archeology, and to France where she studied art and worked in the vineyards of Provence. Settling in Santa Fe, N.M., she took a job working with the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) that involved photographing and documenting Native American and Spanish Colonial arts and crafts. Her work with the WPA led her to Mary Cabot Wheelwright, founder the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art (now the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian), and the two became friends. Chabot managed Wheelwright's ranch in Alcalde, N.M., for approximately 20 years and was eventually deeded the land after Wheelwright's death.

In the 1930s, Chabot was actively involved in supporting the Native American arts and crafts in Northern New Mexico. Chabot served as executive secretary to New Mexico Association of Indian Affairs President Margretta Dietrich in 1936 when she proposed an Indian Market be held under the Santa Fe Palace of the Governor's portal and modeled on Mexican village outdoor markets. These markets could be considered the start of what later became the popular Santa Fe Indian Market. Chabot met Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico in 1940, when Chabot was 26 and an aspiring writer, and O'Keeffe was 53 and one of America's most important artists. From 1941 to 1944, Chabot spent summers with O'Keeffe at the artist's Ghost Ranch house, and from 1946 to 1949, Chabot oversaw the restoration of the ruined adobe house that O'Keeffe purchased in the village of Abiquiu. 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.

Maria Chabot believed that her letters and photographs were important historically, and by the early 1980s 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 she bequeathed her literary estate to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Editors Barbara Buhler Lynes, who is the Curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and Emily Fisher Landau Director of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center, and Ann Paden, who worked for Chabot on the project from 1999-2001, were able to finish the book, which has been copublished by the 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.

Chabot was named a ''Living Treasure'' of Santa Fe in 1996.

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 are 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.

Arrangement of Collection

The archive is arranged into three series:

Series 1: Correspondence

Series 2: Photographic Material

Series 3: Photocopy Correspondence and Notes - RESTRICTED

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Maria Chabot Archive, 1940-2001, undated. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center Archives.

Acquisition Information

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

Processing Information

Processing of the archive was completed by Elizabeth Ehrnst in 2011.


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 Research Center Archivist for further copyright and publication information as it pertains to this collection.

Access Restrictions

Certain materials in this collection are restricted. The photographic print materials may be accessed by researchers. The use of 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 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum website.

Copy and Reproduction Restrictions

Photocopies of most materials may be made for research purposes only.

Access Terms

Chabot, Maria, 1913-2001 -- Correspondence
Maria Chabot Literary Trust
O'Keeffe, Georgia, 1887-1986 -- Correspondence
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946 -- Correspondence

Related Material

Additional materials from the Maria Chabot Literary Trust are currently on loan to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. The loan includes: Chabot's extensive correspondence dating from 1933 to 2001 with colleagues, family, and friends; 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; documents, notes, photographs, records and reports she generated when attending conferences, taking courses and working on various projects; diaries and travel diaries; family albums, histories, photographs and records; books, newspaper and magazine clippings; audio tapes and written documents generated in preparation for a book of the correspondence between Chabot, O'Keeffe, and Stieglitz, which was published in 2003, two years after Chabot's death.

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.

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