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Carl Oscar Borg scrapbooks, 1903-1955

Borg, Carl Oscar, 1879-1947


Collection Information

Size: 0.3 Linear feet

Summary: The collection consists of three scrapbooks compiled by Borg, and after his death by his widow, Lily Borg Elmberg. These contain newspaper clippings from the U.S. and Sweden, documenting Borg's lifelong career as a painter and printmaker since his arrival in Los Angeles in 1903. One scrapbook, 1925-1938, highlights his role as supervising art director for the1926 silent film, The Black Pirate starring actor Douglas Fairbanks. Also included are articles about his years working in the silent movie industry (1925-1928) as the art director of films, Black Pirate, The Gaucho, The Night of Love, The Magic Flame, Two Lovers, and The Iron Mask.

Biographical/Historical Note

Self taught Swedish-American artist Carl Oscar Borg (1879-1947) began his career as a sign painter in New York. He emigrated to the United States from Stockholm, Sweden in 1901, settling in Los Angeles in 1903 where he became active in the emerging Los Angeles art community. He became the protogé of Phoebe Apperson Hearst (mother of William Randolph Hearst) whose support and endorsement enabled him to study in Europe. He established himself as a serious artist after World War II working in the fields of print, film and painting, enabling him to secure a place among the Los Angeles artistic elite. Borg specialized in painting the Southwestern Hopi and Navajo Indians. He also painted mariners and the seal hunting scenes which took place in Channel Island near Santa Barbara. He was a member of the National Academy of Design, the National Academy of Arts, the Sociéte Internationale des Beaux Arts (Paris) and the prestigious Salmagundi Club. He traveled to Sweden in 1939, remaining there until the end of World War II. Upon his return to California, he settled in Santa Barbara where he remained until his death in 1947.


The collection was donated in 1998 by Helen Laird, who received the papers from Borg's widow, Lily Borg Elmberg in preparation for a biography on Carl Oscar Borg.