Georgia O’Keeffe at Home
To celebrate American Archives Month 2023, which occurs every October, we are featuring aspects of the newly processed collections from the Michael S. Engl Family Foundation Library and Archive. This year, we are spotlighting the Georgia O’Keeffe Papers, to celebrate the completion of processing the collections and the publication of the finding aid after many years and several archivists!
Georgia O’Keeffe maintained two homes in Northern New Mexico her summer home at Ghost Ranch, and her Home & Studio in Abiquiú. While both homes are owned by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, only the Abiquiú Home and Studio is open for public tours.
O’Keeffe’s homes reveal her commitment to design and the aesthetics of her surroundings. She made her home distinctly modern, with abundant natural light, updated amenities, and midcentury furniture. O’Keeffe kept manuals and brochures from appliances and tools she used, including her Chemex carafes, M radio, and Barwa chairs.
Georgia O’Keeffe was also an avid gardener hen she purchased her Abiquiú home in 1945, she hired Maria Chabot to manage the restoration and rebuilding of the property to take place between 1946 and 1949, while O’Keeffe was in New York settling Alfred Stieglitz’s estate. Chabot planned to line the perimeter of the garden with tamarisks, willows, and various fruit trees. The center of the garden was leveled for planting vegetables and flowers (corn, radishes, roses, irises, poppies, and hollyhocks). By the time O’Keeffe made Abiquiú her permanent home in 1949, the garden supplied almost all the fruits and vegetables for her homes. Abiquiú remains much as it was during her lifetime. Staff and interns who live in Abiquiú and surrounding communities every summer and distribute the locally and to nearby food banks.
The materials related to the garden in the Georgia O’Keeffe Papers include these seed catalogs, instructional manuals, irrigation techniques, and a “Victory Garden Handbook”.
The Michael S. Engl Family Foundation Library and Archive serves the public by collecting, providing access to, and preserving information about Georgia O’Keeffe and her contemporaries, related regional histories, and Modernism. The Research Collections and Services team is available to answer questions, share resources, and help with your research projects; you can contact the Library & Archive here.