Throughout the summer and fall of 1935, Dean Malcolm Willey and curator Ruth Lawrence were busy making preparations to open a Fine Arts Room as an extension of the gallery. They secured funds from President Coffman to furnish the room as well as to purchase an original work of art to serve as the focal point. Willey and Lawrence selected Georgia O’Keeffe’s, “Oak Leaves, Pink and Gray,” which they purchased in New York City.
In order to prepare for any possible errors in the eventual publicity that the opening of the room and the acquisition of the painting would likely receive, Willey wrote the following letter on October 25, 1935 and addressed it to The Minnesota Daily:
“I know that you are always anxious to come as close to accuracy as possible in the Daily, even to the spelling of names. During the next weeks you undoubtedly will have accounts referring from time to time to the special art room which the University is opening and the distinguished painting which the University has acquired for hanging in it. The artist is Georgia O’Keeffe. Would you instruct your desk men or whoever oversees such matters, that the proper spelling is with two “e’s” and 2 “f’s”: thus, O’Keeffe.”
Despite the forewarning, as found in two separate articles clipped from the Daily, Georgia’s surname was printed with a singular “f”:
From, “U Plans New Student Room for Art Study,” The Minnesota Daily, January 29, 1936:
From, “New Art Room Opens Sunday,” The Minnesota Daily, January 26, 1936:
Rebecca Wilson is a graduate student in the Master of Liberal Studies program at the University of Minnesota, completing a minor in Museum Studies. She also serves as a Visitor Services Assistant at the Weisman Art Museum.