Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
The Emmy Lou Packard papers measure 9.4 linear feet and date from 1900 to 1990, and focus on the career of painter, printmaker, muralist, and sculptor Emmy Lou Packard. Also found are extensive materials relating to Packard's personal and professional relationship with muralist Diego Rivera and painter Frida Kahlo, with whom Packard lived for one year in Mexico. Papers include correspondence, financial records, notes, writings, exhibition files, photographs, and printed material.
Biographical materials include resumes, personal forms, and certificates. Correspondence is with family, friends, and colleagues, including muralist Anton Refregier, songwriter Malvina Reynolds, and composer John Edmunds. There is one letter from Dorothea Lange. Also found is correspondence with various political and arts organizations, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Russian magazine, "Soviet Woman."
Much of the correspondence discusses personal relationships and political and art-related activities. Additional correspondence with and concerning Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is arranged in Series 6. Personal business records found within the papers include studio real estate and rent records, insurance records, price lists for artwork, consignment records, and miscellaneous receipts. There is one interview transcript of an interview with Packard for the Radical Elders Oral History Project. The papers include a series of notebooks/diaries, address lists, and other notes.
Packard's reference files and personal papers documenting her professional and close personal relationship with Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo are arranged into a separate series. They include her research files for a planned book on the two artists, personal letters between Packard and the couple, as well as several interesting photographs. Also found in this series are notes, writings, and printed materials relating to Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and other Mexican artists, such as Covarrubius, Juan O'Gorman, and Pablo O'Higgins.
The collection also includes typescripts and additional writings by Packard and others. Artwork consists of orginal drawings and prints by Packard and others not directly associated with projects. Exhibition and project files for many of Packard's commissioned projects are also found within the collection, including her files for the restoration of Anton Refregier's Rincon Annex Post Office mural in San Francisco and the Coit Tower murals in San Francisco. Many of the project files contain correspondence, reports, contracts, printed material, photographs, and artwork.
The papers also include photographs of Packard, her family, residences, artwork, friends, and colleagues, including Cesar Chavez, Juan O'Gorman, Malvina Reynolds, Charles Safford, Ralph Stackpole, and Tennessee Williams. Two scrapbooks are found, as well as additional printed materials such as clippings and exhibition announcements and catalogs. There are also two artifact items, a vinyl record of Malvina Reynolds and a political campaign button.
Emmy Lou Packard papers, 1900-1990. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The bulk of the collection was digitized in 2012 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website. Blank pages, blank versos of photographs, photographs of artwork, duplicates, and exhibition catalogs of other artists have not been scanned. In most cases, the cover, title page, and individual relevant pages have been scanned from published materials.
The unpublished sound recording in this collection was digitized for research access in 2012 and is available at the Archives of American Art offices. Researchers may view the original cassette for the archival notations on them, but the original cassette is not available for playback due to fragility.
Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an oral history interview with Emmy Lou Packard conducted by Mary Fuller McChesney in 1964.
Emmy Lou Packard (1914-1998) was a painter, printmaker, and muralist in San Francisco, California. Packard lived in Mexico City in the late 1920s. In 1940-1941, she worked as Diego Rivera's painting assistant on his giant fresco for the World's Fair in San Francisco. Subsequently, she spent a year in Mexico with Rivera and Frida Kahlo.
Emmy Lou Packard donated her papers to the Archives of American Art from 1984-1988.
This site provides access to the papers of Emmy Lou Packard in the Archives of American Art that were digitized in 2012. The papers have been scanned in their entirety, and total 13,135 images.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001