Correspondence (1927-28) from Marjorie Kelly (Borsum) to family members during a year traveling in Europe and North Africa and a year living in Paris. Correspondence (1929-65) to Marjorie Kelly Borsum from one of Picasso's former mistresses, Fernande Olivier, from Mme. Asselin announcing Olivier's death, and a letter from Havelock Ellis. Also included is a photo of Olivier and an art exhibition broadside from Paris.


Marjorie Kelly was born in November 1904 in a part of San Diego County just east of Carlsbad known then as Rancho Agua Hedionda. She attended San Diego High School, graduating in 1921, and received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and her master of arts degree from the University of Southern California.

Between 1927 and 1929, Marjorie Kelly traveled in Europe and North Africa with Kate Frost, the two finally settling in Paris for the winter (1928-29) as tenants in the home of Mlle. Guillemin. During the Paris winter, Kelly took French lessons two or three times per week from Fernande Olivier, who had met Picasso in 1903, lived with him for many years, and whose friends and neighbors still called her "Mme. Picasso."

Kelly eventually married Adolph "Red" Borsum, a career navy dentist, and together they lived in, among other locales, American Samoa and Japan. During her life, Marjorie Kelly Borsum became an arts professor at San Diego State College and was a member of the Asian Arts Committee of the San Diego Fine Arts Society. She died in Solana Beach in May 1978.

Scope and Content

Accession Processed in 1992

The Marjorie Kelly Borsum Papers comprise .4 cubic feet (1 archives box) and are arranged in two series. CORRESPONDENCE represents two bundles of letters and cards: the first, numerous cards and letters from Borsum to various family members during her two years abroad in Europe and North Africa (1927-29), including her mother, Mrs. Robert J. (Eliza Witty) Kelly; her sister, Emily; her brothers, Robert Dewey, Stanley, and Carroll. Kelly Borsum recounts the day-to-day trials and pleasures of life abroad, and details both locales and individuals visited.

The second bundle is comprised of 30 letters (1929-65 and undated) from Fernande Olivier to Borsum over the course of their friendship, which lasted nearly 40 years. Olivier talks of life with Picasso, mentions mutual friends, along with famous names such as Alice B. Toklas (who also took French lessons from Olivier), and laments economic hardships and life during WWII.

Included in CORRESPONDENCE is one letter from Borsum to Olivier. Two additional letters can be found in the collection, as well: one from Mme. Asselin, a friend of Olivier's, informing Borsum of Olivier's death in 1966, and one from Havelock Ellis in response to Borsum's inquiry regarding a possible connection between the color red and "inversion."

MISCELLANEOUS consists of two items: a small photo of Fernande Olivier and a broadside announcing an art exhibition at the Moderne Académie in Paris.


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11 Madame Asselin, 1966. To Marjorie Kelly Borsum
12 Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1929. To Carroll Kelly
13 Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1929. To Dewey Kelly
14 Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1928 - 1929. To Emily Kelly
15 Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1927 - 1928. To Mrs. Robert Kelly
16 Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1929. To Mrs. Robert Kelly
17 Marjorie Kelly Borsum. To Mrs. Robert Kelly, undated/partially dated
18 Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1928. To Stanley Kelly
19 Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1966. To Fernande Olivier
110 Havelock Ellis, 1937. To Marjorie Kelly Borsum
111 Fernande Olivier, 1929 - 1949. To Marjorie Kelly Borsum
112 Fernande Olivier, 1950 - 1965. To Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1950-1965 and undated


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113 Photograph (Fernande Olivier) and Broadside. Announcement of Paris art exhibition at the Moderne Academie, n.d.

Finding aid generated: 2005-10-28