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

More Information

Erin Corley
Scope and Contents
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. Also found are Solon's diary, notebooks, and address books kept during the last five years of his life. Writings by others include writings by Emma and others about Solon Borglum, as well as guest books for the Silvermine Group of Artists.
Series five contains documents compiled by Monica Borglum Davies and her husband A. Mervyn Davies for a biography 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.
Most of the materials in the collection were originally loaned by the Borglum family between 1969-1975 and microfilmed. Much of the same material was later donated in several accretions between circa 1991-2004 by various family members David Borglum, Harriet M. Borglum, Alfred Davies, Harold Davies, Monica B. Davies, Linda Borglum Fry, and Gwynneth Kelly. In 1979 approximately 200 photographs were transferred from the Smithsonian American Art Museum Library to AAA, which had received them from Monica Borglum Davies.
Separated Material
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming (reels N69-98 and 1054) including a scrapbook of new clippings, other printed material, writings, and correspondence, much of which was included in subsequent donations. Loaned materials not donated at a later date are not described in the container listing of this finding aid.
Related Material
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.
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives in this collection were digitized in 2019 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Women's Committee.
Processing Information
The papers were originally microfilmed as loans on reels N69-98 and 1054. Most of the loans were lated donated by the family and merged with later gifts. All accretions were merged and the entire collection was fully processed, arranged, and described by Erin Corley in 2005 and digitized with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Glass plate negatives were re-housed in 2015 with a grant provided by the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.