Acee Blue Eagle was a Pawnee-Creek artist, teacher, and celebrity. Born Alex C. McIntosh near Anadarko, Oklahoma, Blue Eagle (he borrowed his professional name from a paternal grandfather) was trained in Indian schools at Anadarko, Nuyake, and Euchee, Oklahoma, and at the Haskell and Chilocco Indian schools. Advanced study came at Bacone Indian College and the University of Oklahoma. He studied with Oscar B. Jacobson and also with Winhold Reiss.
A prolific painter who, for the sake of authenticity carried out research in libraries and museums, Blue Eagle became recognized as one of the outstanding American Indian artists of the 1930s-1950s. His paintings hung in many exhibits, including the Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts, 1931-1933; International Art Exhibition of Sport Subjects at Los Angeles, 1932; Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, 1934, followed by a one-man show at the Young Galleries in the same city; National Exhibition of Art at the Rockefeller Center in New York, 1936; a one-man show at the Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1953; An Exposition of American Indian Painters, New York, 1955; and a one-man show at the Philbrook Art Center in Tulsa, 1957. In addition, between 1946-1965, his paintings were shown in over fifty galleries and other art centers and his works are among the permanent holdings of many institutions.
This collection reflects the life and work of Acee Blue Eagle, internationally famed Indian artist of Oklahoma. A portion of the papers contains correspondence. Fan mail written by school children to Chief Blue Eagle of the Chief Blue Eagle television program is included. Letters regarding Blue Eagle's participation in Indian festivals and events, art shows and exhibitions, speaking engagements on Indian life and culture are found in the collection. Personal correspondence is included; most frequent correspondents are Devi Dja, Mae Abbott, and Charles E. Pond. There are approximately 100 letters from Devi Dja, approximately 90 to or from Mae Abbott, and approximately 36 from Charles E. Pond. Some letters addressed to these individuals from other friends and acquaintances are also within this collection.
Photographs comprise a large portion of the Blue Eagle collection. Included are not only portraits of the artist himself and photographs of his art work, but a large number of prints of Blue Eagle in full costume and other Indians engaged in tribal ceremonies, identified by tribe, whenever possible. Photographs of Mae Abbott, Devi Dja and the latter's Balinese dance troupe are identified. A file of negatives is arranged in the same subject order as the prints.
Newspaper and magazine clippings regarding Blue Eagle's work and activities are also included in the collection. These clippings have not been arranged. In addition, Mae Abbott's recipes and notes for her cookbook, wood blocks, greeting cards and other miscellaneous publications can be found in the collection. These items have been sorted but not arranged.
Within the collection are also over 600 pieces of artwork. A good number are by Blue Eagle while most are by other Native artists. Artists whose are work are represented in the collection include Fred Beaver, Harrison Begay, Archie Blackowl, Woodrow Crumbo, Allan Houser, Ruthe Blalock Jones, Quicy Tahoma, Pablita Verde, and members of the Kiowa Five (Spencer Asah, James Auchiah, Stephen Mopope, Monroe Tsatoke).
Acee Blue Eagle Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution