One and one-quarter linear feet of papers, 1919-1996, have been added to the collection of Anita Pollitzer (1894-1975) materials held by the South Caroliniana Library. While the addition includes correspondence, speeches, copies of Equal Rights magazine, a 1919 notebook/diary, and news clippings, the bulk of the material consists of correspondence in reference to publishing Pollitzer’s biography of Georgia O’Keeffe and to the Columbia College celebration of the centenary of Georgia O’Keeffe.
William S. Pollitzer (b.1923), nephew of Anita Pollitzer, pursued publication of his aunt’s manuscript for a number of years before it became a reality. During this time he corresponded with multiple authors, publishers, and O’Keeffe herself, who suggested in a letter of 6 September 1975 that “If the manuscript were sent to Yale, it could be sent closed—not to be opened for 25 years, more or less....”
Other correspondents included Laura Lisle, Nancy Scott, Donald Gallup, Kay Boyle, and Rose Haas. In a letter dated 25 October 1976, Lisle, a freelance writer and journalist on the Newsweek magazine staff, wrote that she would be “fascinated” to read the unpublished manuscript of Pollitzer’s aunt for her own satisfaction. Her request was denied although later he loaned her some photographs for her unauthorized book, Portrait of An Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe (1980), and allowed her access to the manuscript.
Correspondence with Kay Boyle reveals her personal feelings about the Pollitzer-O’Keeffe relationship. In a letter to William Pollitzer, 13 November 1984, she writes, “And I think all that Anita did for Georgia in the art school years should be duly, if discretely, made clear so that the reader can draw his/her own conclusions concerning the totally opposite natures of these two women: Anita open and giving and eager, and Georgia her selfish, ambitious self.” Boyle, first introduced to Pollitzer by her Aunt Nina at the National Woman’s Party headquarters in Washington, D.C., when she was nineteen, later came to know her and her husband well. She wrote the preface to Pollitzer’s book Georgia O’Keeffe: A Woman on Paper.
Jerold J. Savory, Vice President for Administration and Special Programs at Columbia College, was instrumental in putting together plans for the centenary celebration of O’Keeffe held in Columbia 15-17 November 1987. Correspondence with William S. Pollitzer and other participants in the special events weekend not only relates to O’Keeffe but also to the part Anita Pollitzer played in O’Keeffe’s life.