Kate and Carl Bergquist Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Kate Bergquist is an Austin resident who promoted literacy and performance art through her career as an artist and illustrator in Central Texas. Her husband Carl Bergquist, also an artist and graphic designer, taught visual communication at the university level in the Austin area.
Carl O. Bergquist was born in 1919 in Pasadena, California, the son of the Reverend Carl Waldemar Bergquist and Elva Marie Carlson Bergquist. The family moved to Georgetown, Texas in 1927. Carl graduated from Southwestern University in Georgetown before joining the U.S. Navy and served as a Navel Aviator in World War II. After the war, Carl earned a master's degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago while teaching at Southwestern. During this time, while taking some additional classes at the Chicago Art Institute, Carl met his future wife Kate Nindos.
Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Kate Bergquist, the former Kate Nindos, was born to Greek immigrant parents. She attended art school in Chicago where she met her future husband, Carl. After their marriage in 1955, Kate moved to Carl's hometown of Georgetown, Texas.
After six years at Southwestern Carl joined the faculty of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas in 1959. While at the University Texas Carl taught basic design, drawing and watercolor painting; was involved in a variety of committees; and was an advisor for student publications, including Image during the years 1963 to 1968. He retired in 1984, and was named Professor Emeritus. Along with his teaching duties Carl practiced professionally as a photographer and graphic designer and was responsible for photos, posters, logos, letterheads for a variety of commercial, religious and individual clients.
The couple moved to Austin in 1960. Kate and Carl Bergquist had a daughter, Jone, and two sons, Bill and John.
Kate's artistic career was launched in 1963 when her artwork was discovered and purchased by Go Magazine editor, Sue McBee. Kate's daughter Jone became a ballerina with the Austin Ballet Theatre in her teens which led to Kate's involvement with local ballet companies. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Kate produced artwork for three civic ballet companies in Austin: The Texas Ballet Concerto, Austin Ballet Society (now Ballet Austin), and the Austin Ballet Theatre. From 1972-1976, Kate produced promotional art for the Austin Ballet Theatre on a nearly monthly basis. In addition to producing art, she served as a board member for the Austin Ballet Society.
Beyond her work for the ballet, Kate Bergquist served as a staff artist in the public relations department of Austin Public Library. Most of her work for the Austin Public library dates from 1968-1975 and ranges from advertisements for library programs such as StoryTime to banners and buttons promoting the library. She was also a children's books illustrator and graphic designer.
After leaving her position with the Austin Public Library, she produced much of her artwork on a freelance and contract basis. As a freelance illustrator, Kate worked on magazine and newspaper advertisement campaigns for companies such as Neiman Marcus, Leon's, Buttrey's, and Marie Antoinette. Kate was the owner of a stationery store called Good Ideas from 1979 to 1982, where she designed and produced a national line of greeting cards, gift boxes, and wrapping paper. She also created programs for United Campus Ministries and designed the artwork and illustrations for the Central Texas Gardener, a textbook produced by Texas AM University Press.
Carl was killed in a car accident in 1994. Kate still lives in the Austin area.
The Kate and Carl Bergquist Papers (1952-1996) consist of announcements, broadsides, programs, posters, photographs, minutes, notebooks, sketches, banners, newspaper clippings, notes, correspondence, drafts, letterhead, stationery, souvenir books, booklets, drawings, receipts, tax documents, legal documents, paper cutouts, newsletters, by-laws, collages, sketchbooks, magazines, advertisements, certificates, Christmas cards, scrapbooks, ledgers, menus, calendars, and lists which document the activities of the couple and their career's and interest in art, photography and graphic design. The materials provide insight into the popular culture, public interest, design sensibilities and private lives of Austin's citizens through the art produced by the Bergquists for various companies, organizations and individuals from 1957-1996. The collection is arranged into two record groups: I. Kate Bergquist and II. Carl Bergquist.
The majority of the Kate Bergquist record group (6 linear feet) consists of examples of Kate's work as an illustrator, graphic designer and calligrapher through the years, with the addition of some materials that document the financial and administrative history of ballet companies in Austin. The record group is divided into seven series: Austin Ballet Theatre, Austin Public Library, Central Texas Gardner, United Campus Ministries, Freelance Work, Non-Commissioned Work, and Roz Forrest.
The Austin Ballet Theatre series (1970-1982) provides evidence of the organization's activities as a ballet company during the late sixties through the seventies. Multiple copies of promotional art in varying sizes and formats ranging from full sized posters to handbills, as well as newspaper clippings for advertisements designed by Bergquist, document the Austin Ballet Theatre's performances and civic activities. This series is particularly focused on the period from 1972-1976, containing artwork and programs for monthly performances during this time.
The Austin Public Library series (1966-1988) contains items related to Bergquist’s work as a staff artist for the public relations office of the Austin Public Library. As such, it includes materials related to the services, programming, branches, and administrative structure of the Austin Public Library and provides a snapshot of library functions and priorities during the period from 1968 to 1975. The bulk of this material dates from 1970 to1974.There is a particular emphasis within the material on children’s and youth materials programming, reflecting her stint as Summer Reading Club Director. Additionally, materials related to the Texas Library Association and publications affiliated with librarianship such as Waterloo press and Orbit provide a glimpse into library issues and trends during the early seventies. Materials included in this series come in a wide variety of formats ranging from library cards, buttons, bookmarks, and brochures, to felt banners, game pieces and broadsides.
The Central Texas Gardener series (1976-1980) contains material related to the Texas AM Press Publication of the book with the same name. As a gardening text, it contains many scientific illustrations by Bergquist, as well as her sketches, notes, research, and layout pieces. Several pieces of correspondence as well as receipts from pre-production to post-production give a glimpse of the process and costs involved in illustrating a textbook.
The United Campus Ministries (1968-1979) series consists of promotional or informational material lettered or illustrated by Bergquist and provides a snapshot of Methodist college student ministries in the late sixties to early seventies. The inclusion of a full run of Sunday church programs from late 1969 to 1971, with cover art provided by Bergquist, provide a window into local religious life during this period. There is also a three semester run of Ichthus Coffee House activity broadsides which give a sense of the local student arts scene and popular culture at the time. The quantity and variety of Bergquist’s art related to United Campus Ministries demonstrates an active involvement in this religious group’s activities. While materials date from 1968 to 1979, only a few documents date after 1972.
The Freelance series (1958-1995) is by far the most diverse series in the collection, reflecting the talents, abilities, and interests of Kate Bergquist. Materials date from before her “discovery” in Austin through the mid nineties. Materials predating her arrival in Austin consist mainly of artwork for various newspaper and magazine advertising campaigns, including one for shoes for Leon’s department store. Other ad campaign materials continue through the seventies, but the bulk of her freelance work is for individuals and groups, both non-profit and for profit, based in Austin. A number of projects reflect a continuing interest in dance and the arts, such as her artwork and lettering done for the Texas Arts Alliance and Austin Bellydance Convention; whereas others are clearly more personal in nature such as birth announcements and family trees for clients. Most of the materials in this series date from the 1970s to 1980s.
The Non-commissioned work series (1978-1996) includes advertisements, memos, memorabilia, artwork and lettering done by Bergquist in the promotion of her own business or personal development. It includes letterhead for her business, as well as work for her company Good Ideas and for Capital City Scribes - the Austin Calligraphy Guild.
Finally, the Roz Forrest series (1963-1973) includes all papers given to Kate Bergquist upon the death of fellow Austin Ballet Theatre and Austin Ballet Society board member, Roz Forrest. Kate was given Roz's records pertaining to the Austin Ballet Society as well as the Texas Ballet Concerto (which was incorporated into the Austin Ballet Theatre in 1973).These papers were generated in the course of Roz’s terms as bursar for the Austin Ballet Society’s Austin Ballet Academy from the period of 1968-1973 and as Treasurer for the Texas Ballet Concerto from 1967-1968. This series tells the financial story behind the dissolution of the Texas Ballet Concerto and the costs involved in running a ballet school and various ballet organizations in Austin during the 1960s and 70s. Though these materials were created by Roz, they remain in this collection through the transfer of ownership to Kate Bergquist and the fact that no other collection exists which deals with the Texas Ballet Concerto.
Similarly the bulk of the Carl Bergquist record group (.8 linear feet) consists of creative examples of his work as a graphic designer, along with a limited amount of materials related to his education, his interest in photography and research files. This record group is divided into five series: Education, Photography, Collected Materials, University of Texas and Freelance Graphic Design Activities.
The Education series (1957, undated) includes both papers and sketches submitted as class work. The Photography series (1952-1967) contains correspondence with Grand Central Camera Co., Mallinckrodt Photo Bulletins (No. 74-85), various manuals and sixteen photographs of buildings. Research files of examples of letterheads and architecture make up the Collected Materials series (1953-1962, undated). The University of Texas (UT) series (1959-1961) consists of a 1959 letter from the School of Architecture at UT offering Carl an assistant professorship and materials related to Carl winning an award for excellence in design for the design of Songs of Autumn an Other Poems while on staff at The University of Texas Press.
The largest series, Freelance Graphic Design Activities (1957-1964), is comprised of two subseries: Administrative Materials and Creative Works. Administrative materials include items related to his involvement with the Austin Professional Artists organization, examples of promotional materials for his freelance work and statements rendered. The Creative Works subseries includes sketches, mock-ups and examples of design work for a variety of clients, both paying and pro-bono. Bergquist focused on logo, letterhead and business form design as well as providing artwork and layout for flyers and programs. Carl maintained files by client name and most of the files contain only artwork, although some have correspondence and financial records in addition to the design work.
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Restrictions on Use
The collection was a donation from Mrs. Kate Bergquist to the Austin History Center. Mrs. Bergquist was the custodian for the Texas Ballet Concerto materials donated to her by the husband of the late Roz Forrest, who was the treasurer of the Texas Ballet Concerto. These were also included in the deed of gift for the collection given to the Austin History Center as a part of Kate Bergquist’s papers.
Kate and Carl Bergquist Papers (AR 1998.002). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1987/082
Donation Date: 1998, 2012
Finding Aid created by Alexandra Doval and Elizabeth Wong in 2012. Encoded by Elizabeth Wong in 2012. Additional donation added by Molly Hults in 2012.
Carl Bergquist's original file/folder titles were maintained.
Detailed Description of the Collection