Marjorie Kelly Borsum Papers

Mandeville Special Collections Library
Mandeville Special Collections Library
The UCSD Libraries
9500 Gilman Drive
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Phone: (858) 534-2533
Fax: (858) 534-5950
Copyright 2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Borsum, Marjorie Kelly
Title: Marjorie Kelly Borsum Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1927 - 1966
Extent: 0.40 linear feet (1 archives box)
Abstract: 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.
Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Collection number: MSS 0116
Language of Material: Collection materials in English


Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Information

Not Available

Preferred Citation

Marjorie Kelly Borsum Papers, MSS 0116. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

Publication Rights

Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.


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 of Collection

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.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Borsum, Marjorie Kelly -- Archives
Olivier, Fernande
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973
Photographic prints -- 20th Century


Olivier, Fernande -- correspondent

Collection Contents



box 1, folder 1

Madame Asselin 1966


To Marjorie Kelly Borsum
box 1, folder 2

Marjorie Kelly Borsum 1929


To Carroll Kelly
box 1, folder 3

Marjorie Kelly Borsum 1929


To Dewey Kelly
box 1, folder 4

Marjorie Kelly Borsum 1928 - 1929


To Emily Kelly
box 1, folder 5

Marjorie Kelly Borsum 1927 - 1928


To Mrs. Robert Kelly
box 1, folder 6

Marjorie Kelly Borsum 1929


To Mrs. Robert Kelly
box 1, folder 7

Marjorie Kelly Borsum


To Mrs. Robert Kelly, undated/partially dated
box 1, folder 8

Marjorie Kelly Borsum 1928


To Stanley Kelly
box 1, folder 9

Marjorie Kelly Borsum 1966


To Fernande Olivier
box 1, folder 10

Havelock Ellis 1937


To Marjorie Kelly Borsum
box 1, folder 11

Fernande Olivier 1929 - 1949


To Marjorie Kelly Borsum
box 1, folder 12

Fernande Olivier 1950 - 1965


To Marjorie Kelly Borsum, 1950-1965 and undated


box 1, folder 13

Photograph (Fernande Olivier) and Broadside


Announcement of Paris art exhibition at the Moderne Academie, n.d.