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Collection Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz Correspondence

About this Collection

This collection of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz Correspondence and Related Material (157 items; 618 images) consists mostly of letters, 1929-1947, written by painter Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and her husband, Photo-Secession movement founder, gallery director, editor, and photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), to their mutual friend, filmmaker, cameraman, screenwriter and director Henwar Rodakiewicz (1902-1976).  Also included are a few items of print miscellany related to exhibitions or gallery publications.

The letters written by O’Keeffe span the full years of her friendship with Rodakiewicz from 1929 to 1947. During that period her career as a painter and fame as a celebrity expanded. She became an extended visitor to the Taos, Alcalde, Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu areas of northern New Mexico, balancing her time with continued residence at Lake George, New York, and in Manhattan with Stieglitz.  Her friendships included Rodakiewicz’s first and second wives, the poet-writer Marie Tudor Garland and philanthropist Peggy Bok Rodakiewicz, respectively, as well as his mother, Erla, and mutual friends Paul and Rebecca Strand, Walter Willard “Spud” Johnson, Charles Collier, Dorothy Brett, and others. These connections are documented in the letters.  The Bok-Rodakiewicz family stayed with her at her house at Ghost Ranch for a summer vacation, and she visited Peggy and the children in California. O’Keeffe’s letters to Henwar are intimate and trusting. She expresses her doubts, depressions, vulnerability, and bouts of illness. She also shares her keen observations of the world and excitement over various commissions and art opportunities, including time in Hawaii and the new directions she took in her work in New Mexico.

The letters by Stieglitz, with related print items stemming from his An American Place gallery in Manhattan, span from 1933 to 1942, and are written from New York City or Lake George. During the time span of the correspondence, the art promoter’s health was failing, and he was engaged in making his last works of photography.  Much of his energy was focused on managing An American Place in New York, where he featured a cadre of artists he had championed for many years, including O’Keeffe, John Marin, Marsden Hartley, and Arthur Dove.  He also developed a friendship with Ansel Adams, who replaced Paul Strand as a younger photographer protégé within Stieglitz’s inner circle. His letters to Rodakiewicz are cordial and warm, and he encouraged the younger man in his filmmaking and screenwriting career.  Rodakiewicz often stayed at the Shelton Hotel or used O’Keeffe and Stieglitz’s apartment as a temporary residence when he was working with a documentary film company in the city.

The O’Keeffe and Stieglitz letters to Rodakiewicz and related materials were acquired by the Library of Congress by purchase and gift from Susan Todd and Michael Kramm of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in October 2018. The collection items were authenticated by scientific laboratory analysis prior to acquisition.  The provenance of the documents stems from the belongings saved by recipient Rodakiewicz and his heir, his third wife, artist Olga Kotchoukova Rodakiewicz, of Santa Fe.

A finding aid (PDF and HTML) to the Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz Correspondence and Related Material is available online with links to the digital content on this site.

The writings of Georgia O’Keeffe are reproduced in this digital presentation with the expressed permission of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, which reserves rights in her unpublished writings. For further information, see the Rights and Access page on this site.  Writings of Alfred Stieglitz are in the public domain.