University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Emmett Hudspeth:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection of Elizabeth Olds at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Hudspeth, Emmett, 1916-
Title: Emmett Hudspeth Collection of Elizabeth Olds
Dates: 1915-1992
Abstract: Documenting the works of Elizabeth Olds, the collection contains silk screen and wood block prints, lithographs, and Depression era works, as well as copies of the artist's six children's books. Also included in the collection are exhibition brochures and gallery announcements, correspondence, magazine and newspaper articles about Olds, and a biographical master's thesis on the artist. Olds' interviews with Hudspeth, photographs, and miscellaneous writings by Olds are present as well.
Extent: 8 boxes, 1 folder, oversize flat file (3.36 linear feet)
Repository: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

This collection of Elizabeth Olds Papers came to the Ransom Center in May 1997 as part of a large donation of Olds' art work. Painter, printmaker, author and illustrator of books for children, Olds' renown as a Social Realist developed through her work on WPA projects during the Depression. She was also influenced by her early training with American artist George Luks and extensive travel abroad from 1925-29. The Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian is the primary repository of Olds' papers; however, the papers in this collection are from the files of Prof. Emeritus Emmett Hudspeth (Physics Department, University of Texas, Austin). As husband of Olds' niece, Hudspeth acted on Olds' behalf, both as advocate and collector of her works, promoting exhibitions and the sale of photolithographic prints to fund a conservation scholarship at the Ransom Center. In general, the papers of Hudspeth and Olds are interwoven in this collection, most especially in the correspondence series.

The papers are arranged in five series: I. About E.O.'s Works; II. Exhibitions; III. Correspondence, 1927-1992; IV. Personal; and V. About Other Artists.

Series I, About E.O.'s Works, contains a range of activities from a pre-publication layout for one of her children's books to inventories of her works, including silk screen and wood block prints, lithographs, as well as Depression era works from 1930-40. Also present is extensive documentation on the Olds "Celebration Portfolio" which offered selected prints for sale beginning in 1989. Copies of her six children's books, received with the papers, have been transferred to the Ransom Center Library.

Series II, Exhibitions, contains exhibition brochures and gallery announcements from the 1940s to 1990s. Olds works were exhibited in galleries and museums throughout her professional career, chiefly at the ACA gallery and others in New York, but also at The Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Carnegie Institute, and the Library of Congress. Several exhibitions are well-represented here, especially the 1986 retrospective exhibition in Austin, Texas, which Hudspeth curated with Susan Arthur, Olds' biographer.

Correspondence between Hudspeth and Olds from 1965-1989 and their correspondence with others from 1927-1992 is found in Series III. Correspondents include collectors of Olds' works, art galleries and museums, publishers, friends, and relatives. Correspondence with the National Museum of American Art and the Archives of American Art documents Olds' gift of her works and papers to these institutions.

The largest series, Series IV. Personal, contains numerous magazine and newspaper articles about Olds, Susan Arthur's biographical master's thesis, business papers, Olds' interviews with Hudspeth and Arthur, photographs, and miscellaneous writings by Olds. The business papers date from the 1980s-1990s and contain medical and financial statements. Also included are earlier book contracts with Houghton Mifflin and Scribners as well as royalty statements. The photographs are an eclectic mix of Olds and family, her art works, and scenes that Olds may have used as subjects for her artistic pursuits. Chief among her writings is a biographical sketch she prepared for the Encyclopedia of the American Woman in 1973.

Series V, About Other Artists, contains articles on art and artists, as well as photographs of art work including fresco artist José Clemente Orozco.

Several videocassettes containing excerpts of Olds' interviews and her art works were transferred to the Ransom Center Film Collection.



Open for research

Administrative Information




Gift no. 10589

Processed by:

Liz Murray, 1998

Elizabeth Olds Papers--Folder List

I. About E.O.'s Works

Box Folder
1 1 The Big Fire, pre-publication layout and dust jacket for E.O. children's book, Houghton Mifflin, 1945
"Elizabeth Olds: A Celebration Portfolio,"1989
Box Folder
1 2 Brochure layout, printed brochures, and Deck the Walls store advertisement for sale of photolithographic reproductions
3-4 Material related to brochure and collection of E.O. prints, includes correspondence
5 "The Elizabeth Olds Core Collection," informally bound descriptive pamphlet
6 "Inventory of items brought from Olds collection to Austin, Texas--May 25, 1983, " together with several collection items, including slides of selected works and furniture
7 Lists of E.O.'s works
8 "Personal Property Appraisal" for E.O.'s art collection at the Ransom Center, 1992

II. Exhibitions

Box Folder
2 1* 1976, "7 American Women: The Depression Decade" Vassar College, exhibition catalogs and review [*poster removed to oversize flat file]
1986, "Elizabeth Olds: Retrospective Exhibition" RGK Foundation, Austin, Texas
Box Folder
2 2 Correspondence
3 Exhibition catalogs
4 Framer's certifications
5 Invitations to the opening
6-7 Materials used in preparation of exhibition catalog, typescript drafts of text
8 Photographs used in exhibition catalog
Box Folder
3 1-2 Photographs, color prints in numbered series, selected for exhibition catalog
3 Script for videotape based on exhibition
4 1992, "Elizabeth Olds: 1986-1991, An exhibition at the Live Oak Art Center, Columbus, Texas," exhibition catalogs
5 Various dates, exhibition catalogs and gallery show announcements

III. Correspondence, 1927-1992

Between EH and EO, 1965-1989
Box Folder
3 6 1965-83, nd
7 1984
Box Folder
4 1 1985-86
2 1987-89
EH and EO correspondence, 1927-1992
Box Folder
4 3 A - Da
4 De - L
5 Erickson, John and Betty, re: genealogy
6 NMAA--AAA [National Museum of American Art and Archives of American Art]
7 NMAA list [of Olds' works]
Box Folder
5 1 O - Z
2 Rees family

IV. Personal

Box Folder
5 3-4* Articles about Olds, newspaper and magazine clippings [*oversize article removed to oversize flat file]
5 Arthur, Susan, "Elizabeth Olds: Graphic Artist of the 1930s, "University of Texas, Austin, MA thesis 1985
6 Biographical sketches
Business Papers
Box Folder
5 7 AARP
8 Blue Cross-Blue Shield
Bank statements
Box Folder
6 1-2 1984
3 1985
4 Domestic help
5 Financial and medical
Income Tax
Box Folder
6 6 1985-87
7 1988
Box Folder
7 1 1989
2 1990
3 1990-91 (final)
4 Publishers' contracts and royalties
5 Real estate documents, Alvardo Lane property 1972-91
6 Gallery pass issued to E.O., with photograph, Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze, 1926
Interview transcripts, 1985
Box Folder
7 7 With E.H.
With Susan Arthur
8 1st session
9 2nd session
10 Miscellaneous printed material including newspaper articles, pamphlet on immigration, and Disney MGM Studios brochure
11 Page from E.O.'s 1915 West High School yearbook, Minneapolis, photograph of E.O. shown
Photographs by various photographers
Box Folder
7 12 E.O. and family
13 E.O.'s works and painting by George Luks
Box Folder
8 1-3 Various subjects and dates, including miners, fishermen, oil refineries, and outdoor scenes
4 Writings by Olds, holograph and typescript notes including, holograph notebook

V. About Other Artists

Box Folder
8 5 Articles on art and artists
6 Perlman, Bennard B., article and book chapter on artists called "The Eight"
Box Folder
8 7 Art works from European and U.S. galleries
8 José Clemente Orozco's frescoes at Dartmouth, with descriptive brochure, 1962