Skip to main content

John Weatherwax papers relating to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, 1928-1988, bulk 1931-1933

John Weatherwax papers relating to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, 1928-1988, bulk 1931-1933

Weatherwax, John M. (John Martin), 1900-1984

Author

Representative image for John Weatherwax papers relating to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, 1928-1988, bulk 1931-1933

This site provides access to the papers of John Weatherwax relating to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2009. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 805 images.

Collection Information

Size: 0.4 linear ft.

Summary: This small collection of scattered papers of American writer John Weatherwax (1900-1984) dates from 1928 to 1988 (bulk 1931-1933), and measures 0.4 linear feet.

The papers document Weatherwax's relationship with Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. In 1931, John Weatherwax approached Rivera to illustrate his English translation of the Mayan story of creation, the Popol Vuh. Rivera agreed and produced twenty-four watercolor illustrations for the text. The papers contain Weatherwax's translation, "Seven Times the Color of Fire," as well as manuscript versions of stories he wrote about Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, including one entitled "The Queen of Montgomery Street." Also found are several draft manuscripts of stories concerning Diego Rivera, which include "Diego," "Diego, Galka and Toby," the latter about art dealer Galka Scheyer's visit to Diego Rivera's studio in San Francisco containing references to the Blue Rider exhibition she organized in the early 1930s of the work of the artists collective, the "Blue Four" (Dar Blaue Vier).

Also found within the collection are scattered correspondence, including letters from painter, printmaker, and muralist Emmy Lou Packard concerning Diego and Frida, two telegrams from American novelist Upton Sinclair to John Weatherwax, and a letter from the Russian filmmaker, Sergei Eisenstein, to Rivera introducing Weatherwax; additional manuscripts and notes, printed materials, and photographs.

Biographical/Historical Note

John M. Weatherwax (1900-1984) was a writer from San Francisco, Calif. He met Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in 1931 in San Francisco, where Rivera was working on a mural comminssion of the San Francisco Stock Exchange. At the time Weatherwax was working on an English translation of the Mayan story of creation, the Popol Vuh, entitled "Seven Times the Color of Fire" and enlisted Rivera to produce 24 watercolor illustrations for the text.

Provenance

Donated 1988 by Seema Weatherwax, the widow of John Weatherwax.

A Finding Aid to the John Weatherwax Papers Relating to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera,
1928-1988
,
bulk 1931-1933
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.weatjohn
Biographical Note
American writer John Weatherwax (1900-1984) was born in Aberdeen, Washington, and attended the University of Washington in Seattle for two years before going to Harvard College in 1921. His studies focused on English literature, business, mythology, and world literature. Weatherwax wrote a number of children's stories and, in 1934, co-authored with his sister and brother-in-law Gerald Strang,
The Coming of the Animals
, a series of California Native American stories.
Weatherwax met Mexican muralist Diego Rivera and painter Frida Kahlo in San Francisco when the couple stayed with sculptor Ralph Stackpole in his studio on Montgomery Street. Rivera was there to work on a commission to paint a mural for the San Francisco Stock Exchange. At the time Weatherwax was working on an English translation of the ancient Mayan codex,
Popol Vuh
, and asked Rivera if he would provide illustrations for the manuscript. Although the translation was never published, Rivera agreed and produced twenty-four watercolor illustrations for the text.
Weatherwax revealed his admiration for Diego and Frida by writing a manuscript entitled "The Queen of Montgomery Street" , a clever short story about Frida's and Diego's experiences in San Francisco. Probably written as a gift to the Rivera's, the central figures of "The Queen of Montgomery Street" where Diego as King and Frida as Queen. He also wrote a story entitled "Diego".
Arrangement
Series 1: Correspondence, 1928-1988 (Box 1, 5 folders)
Series 2: Manuscripts and Notes, circa 1930-1971 (Box 1, 14 folders)
Series 3: Printed Material, 1931-1987 (Box 1, 4 folders)
Series 4: Photographs, circa 1930s, 1974 (Box 1, 3 folders)
Provenance
Donated 1988 by Seema Weatherwax, the widow of John Weatherwax.
Processing Information
Processing was completed and the finding aid written by Rosa M. Fernandez in July, 2002, and updated in 2009 by Erin Corley. The collection was digitized in 2009 with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

This collection has been digitized in its entirety and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

John Weatherwax papers relating to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, 1928-1988, bulk 1931-1933. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available