Three pamphlets about how to plant, gardening for pleasure and how to start a herb garden laying on blank sheets of paper.


Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe at Home

October 23, 2023

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, McIntosh radio, and Barwa chairs.

Georgia O’Keeffe was also an avid gardener. When 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 two homes. In the summer, she harvested the plants and enjoyed the fresh produce at her Ghost Ranch home. To prepare for the winter months spent in Abiquiú, she dried, canned, and preserved the garden’s herbs, fruits, and vegetables. O’Keeffe’s Abiquiú garden remains much as it was during her lifetime. Staff and interns who live in Abiquiú and the surrounding communities plant and care for the garden every summer and distribute the produce locally and to nearby food banks.

The materials related to the Abiquiú 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.