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University of Texas at Austin

Emmett Hudspeth:

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

Creator: Hudspeth, Emmett, 1916-2000
Title: Emmett Hudspeth Collection of Elizabeth Olds
Dates: 1915-1992
Extent: 8 boxes, 1 folder, oversize flat file (3.36 linear feet)
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.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-04811
Language: English
Access: Open for research

Administrative Information

URL: None
Acquisition: Gift no. 10589
Processed by: Liz Murray, 1998

Harry Ransom Center, The 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.

Elizabeth Olds Papers--Folder List