A digital photograph of a corner of the bookroom in Georgia O'Keeffe's home and studio.

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Press Release

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Awarded Grant for the Artist’s Personal Library

September 22, 2023

The National Endowment for the Humanities Funding will Protect the Collection from Potential Damage and Create Access for Viewing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE–September 22, 2023 (Santa Fe, NM)– The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced $41.3 million in grants for 280 humanities projects across the country, including a $87,035 award to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The Museum’s award will fund the preservation and relocation of Georgia O’Keeffe’s personal library in Abiquiú, New Mexico to the Museum’s facilities in Santa Fe. This relocation will protect the artist’s books and personal effects from environmental damage and expand access to the important historical and cultural collection which includes first edition D.H. Lawrence works and more.

Preservation efforts will focus on more than 4,000 bound materials, which are an important part of understanding the life and times of the artist, as well as her friends and colleagues. This collection is currently stored in a small room known as the “Book Room” in the artist’s Home & Studio, where O’Keeffe originally housed and used the items. The collection is not accessible or viewable to the public in this location for preservation and accessibility concerns. Once completed, detailed, high-resolution digital photography of the collection will be available to on the Museum’s Collections Online website and in the Michael S. Engl Family Foundation Library and Archive by appointment, during operating hours.

“The relocation of O’Keeffe’s extensive home library in Abiquiú is years in the making with hundreds of hours of work and research already accomplished by Museum staff,” Elizabeth Ehrnst, the Museum’s Head of Research Collections and Services, said, “This project will enable the Museum to showcase O’Keeffe’s beloved books to more visitors than ever before. We are grateful for this NEH grant so that we can now share this exceptional and eclectic collection with O’Keeffe and literature enthusiasts right here in our Library and around the world online.”

The Museum will rehouse the materials to the Library & Archive largely retaining O’Keeffe’s originally arrangement of the collection. The materials were originally reviewed and cataloged in their original location, where inscriptions from gift-givers like Alfred Stieglitz and Ettie Stettheimer were discovered as well as handwritten notes by O’Keeffe. Several titles on art, art material, and art practices were heavily annotated by the artist.

NEH Sustaining Cultural Heritage Grants support preventative conservation measures to prolong the useful life of collections to help cultural institutions preserve large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations. The Museum’s grant is one of 17 in this category, totaling $2.86 million.

“These 280 new grant awards underscore the wide range of exemplary, fascinating, and impactful humanities work that scholars, practitioners, and institutions are conducting in all corners of the country,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “I am especially pleased to announce a number of innovative projects funded through NEH’s American Tapestry initiative that draw upon the insights of history, literature, culture, and philosophy to help us understand, discuss, and address some of today’s most urgent social issues.”

A digital photograph of a corner of the bookroom in Georgia O'Keeffe's home and studio.

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For media inquiries, contact:
Renee Lucero
Public Relations Manager
505.946.1063
[email protected]

Image credits:

BOTH: Georgia O’Keeffe Abiquiu Home and Studio photography, taken on February 28, 2023. Photography by Brad Trone. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

ABOUT THE GEORGIA O’KEEFFE MUSEUM: Since 1997, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum celebrates the art, life, and independent spirit of Georgia O’Keeffe. Located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Georgia O’Keeffe lived the final decades of her life, the O’Keeffe has sites and experiences in two historic destinations, Santa Fe and Abiquiú. For more information, please visit gokm.org

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: neh.gov.

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