Stone Mountain collection > Gutzon Borglum papers

Series 2
Gutzon Borglum papers, 1915-1954
Box 14 and OP 1

Biographical Note

John de la Mothe Gutzon Borglum (March 25, 1871-March 6, 1941), sculptor, was born in Idaho to Dr. James and Ida (Michelson) de la Mothe Borglum. He grew up in Nebraska and studied art during the 1880's and 1890's in San Francisco and Paris. He married Mary Montgomery and set up a studio in Stamford, Connecticut. His artistic achievements included Mares of Diomedes, a bust of Lincoln, a statue of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, and Mount Rushmore. He died in Chicago before Mount Rushmore was completed.

Officially, Borglum worked on the Stone Mountain Monument from 1915 to 1925. In fact, he began carving in 1923 and finished a head of General Lee by January 1924. The following year, his contract was cancelled. Though Borglum never resumed work on the project, until his death he sought to return. [For a more detailed narrative of Borglum's years at Stone Mountain, see the main collection "Historical Note."]

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence, concentrated in the period, 1918-1929, constitutes the major portion of this series. The early correspondence (1916-1923) consists primarily of creditors' requests for payment, some of which threaten lawsuits. There is little correspondence from the first two months of 1925. After that, the correspondence with Emory University professor Plato Tracy Durham (1873-l930), the Venables, and others testifies to Borglum's continuing interest in completing the work. The last folders of correspondence contain letters from Emory's Richard Harwell to Mary Borglum in regard to acquisition of Borglum's papers. Correspondence between Borglum and the SMCMA may be found in Series 1.1 of this collection. This series also reveals a good deal about Borglum's character and artistic theory.

Correspondents include Ivan Ernest Allen, William Julius Harris, Elizabeth Venable Mason, George Redington Montgomery, Hollins Nicholas Randolph, Mildred Lewis Rutherford, Hughes Spalding, William H. Terrell, Samuel Hoyt Venable, David W. Webb, George Francis Willis, and Rogers Winter.

Bills and receipts, cancelled checks, and vouchers make up the financial records. Clippings and printed material are related mainly to Venable's attacks on the Association and rumors of Borglum's return. Borglum's work on Mount Rushmore is documented by a scrapbook of photographs.

The materials in Series 2 were donated at various times between 1942 and 1952 by Mary Borglum, the sculptor's widow. The largest group of papers was received in 1952. Other materials by or about Borglum are available in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, for which an inventory is available in this department.

Arrangement Note

The materials in this series have been separated by type, and each type is arranged chronologically.

Box Folder Content
14 1 Correspondence, 1916
14 2 Correspondence, 1917-March 1918
14 3 Correspondence, April -December 1918
14 4 Correspondence, 1919-May 1923
14 5 Correspondence, June-November 1923
14 6 Correspondence, January-March 1924
14 7 Correspondence, June-December 1924
14 8 Correspondence, January-March 1925
14 9 Correspondence, April 2-27, 1925
14 10 Correspondence, April 28-May 5, 1925
14 11 Correspondence, May 10-20, 1925
14 12 Correspondence, May 24-June 1925
14 13 Correspondence, July-November 1925
14 14 Correspondence, December 1925; 1925 undated
14 15 Correspondence, 1926
14 16 Correspondence, 1927-April 1928
14 17 Correspondence, May 1928-August 1929
14 18 Correspondence, 1930-1937
14 19 Correspondence, 1941-1948
14 20 Correspondence, 1949-1954
14 21-27 Correspondence, undated
14 28-30 Financial records, 1916-1924
14 31 Legal documents, 1926-1928
14 32 Resolutions and reports, 1928
14 33 Stone Mountain inventory, undated
14 34 Printed material: Reprints, 1924-1925
14 35 Printed material: Booklets, 1927-1951
14 36-37 Printed material: Clippings, 1925-1932
14 38 Writings, undated
14 39 Postcards
14 40 Announcement, 1925
14 41 Programs, 1923-1925
14 42 Notes
14 43 Poetry
OP1 6 Scrapbook: photographs of Mount Rushmore