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Solon H. Borglum and Borglum family papers, 1864-2002

Borglum, Solon Hannibal, 1868-1922


The papers of sculptor Solon Borglum and the Borglum Family were digitized in 2006 by the Archives of American Art. The bulk of the papers have been scanned and total 6,193 images. Materials not digitized include a few certificates, writings and notes authored by others, Monica Borglum Davies research files for and drafts of her biography of Solon H. Borglum, some routine financial materials, clippings and magazines, and photographs of artwork.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 11.5 linear ft.

Summary: The Solon H. Borglum and Borglum family papers date from 1864 to 2002 and measure 11.5 linear feet. The collection documents Solon Borglum's personal life and his career as a sculptor specializing in Western themes through biographical material, family and general correspondence, writings and notes, research for his biography, financial and business letters, printed material, photographs and artwork.
Biographical material contains documents providing information on the Borglum Family history as well as Solon's military service and memorial. Also found is a leather portfolio of ephemera kept by Emma Borglum. Family correspondence includes numerous letters between Solon and Emma and various members of their extended family. The letters discuss family events, everyday life, Solon's military service, and family history. General Correspondence pertains to Solon's career as an artist and includes his incoming and outgoing correspondence with galleries, foundries, patrons, fellow artists such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and others. Later correspondence from galleries, museums, foundries, historical societies, and other individuals and organizations, is addressed to his daughter Monica Borglum and concerns Solon's artwork and legacy after his death. Writings and notes include material written by Solon Borglum and material written by others. Solon's writings include project proposals as well as essays, lectures, and other notes on the topics of his own works of art, art and form, and his participation in World War I, and Solon's diary with many sketches from his 1918 military service and several notebooks during his time in the military and later career that include personal thoughts, quotations, names and addresses, and sketches. Researchers will also find personal notes written in Solon's address books. Writings by others include writings by Emma and others about Solon Borglum, as well as guest books for the Silvermine Group of Artists. Series 5, Solon Borglum Biography, contains documents compiled by Monica Borglum Davies and her husband A. Mervyn Davies for a biography of Solon Borglum. Included are their research files and notes as well as heavily edited drafts of book sections and draft manuscripts and notes.
Financial and business records document Solon's professional career and legacy, including project contracts and financial proposals, account books, ledgers, receipts, and items regarding the Solon H. Borglum Sculpture and Education Fund. Printed material contains items about Solon Borglum's career and artwork compiled by his daughter, Monica Davies, and includes exhibition catalogs, exhibition announcements, brochures, programs, clippings, reports, and other publications. Also included is the textbook, "Sound Construction."
This collection also contains numerous photographs, including Solon's personal and family photographs, and photographs of his artwork. Family and personal photographs consist of photos of Solon taken throughout his career, including his time in military service, photos of his family and friends, various studios and residences including Rocky Ranch, and of him and and Emma at the Crow Creek Reservation. Artwork is comprised of sketches Solon made for his sculptural works and for Sound Construction. Also found are sketches by Emma and Gutzon Borglum, including a sketch of Solon, and artwork by others such as artist Robert Fulton Logan.

Biographical/Historical Note

Solon H. Borglum (1868-1922) was a sculptor from Wilton, Connecticut. Brother of Gutzon Borglum, carver of presidential busts on Mt. Rushmore. Solon was married to Emma Vignal. Monica Borglum Davies, Borglum's daughter, collaborated with her husband, Alfred, on a biography of Solon, published in 1974. Monica did most of the research and drafts; Alfred completed the final version.


Circa 200 unfilmed photographs were received as a transfer from the NMAA Library in 1979, which had received them from Davies. The remainder of the the collection was donated by David Borglum, Harriet M. Borglum, Alfred T. Davies, Harold B. Davies, Monica B. Davies, Linda Borglum Fry and Gwynneth Kelly 1991-2004. Material on reel N69-98 lent for microfilming 1969 by Mrs. Mervyn (Monica) Davies, Borglum's daughter. Material on reel 1054 lent by George Borglum, son of August Borglum, brother of Solon and Gutzon.

Related Materials

The Archives also holds several collections related to the Borglum family, including the Gutzon Borglum collection, available on microfilm only, reel 3056. This collection includes correspondence, printed material, and photographs. Originals reside at the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Also found are the Gutzon Borglum letters to John A. Stewart (available on microfilm reel D8, frames 359-362) and the Harriet Collins Allen papers relating to Solon Borglum.

The Library of Congress also holds papers of Solon Hannibal Borglum and is the primary repository of the papers of Gutzon Borglum.

Language Note

Some of the correspondence is in French.


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Location of Originals

  • Reel N69-98: Original scrapbook returned to Mrs. Mervyn Davies after microfilming.
  • Reel 1054: Originals returned to the lender, George Borglum, after microfilming.