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Eva Scott Fenyes Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MS-206

Scope and contents

This collection consists of Eva Scott Fenyes correspondence as well newspaper articles she collected. The material spans from 1904-1928. Except for one folder of loose newspaper articles, most of the articles have been assembled by Fenyes into a multivolume set of scrapbooks.

The news articles relate to Los Angeles history and society, early California families, California missions and adobes, and Native American arts and culture. Clippings also relate to the Southwest Museum, the building of the Casa de Adobe, and Charles Lummis.

This collection also includes one portfolio of correspondence with letters from Hector Alliot, J.P. Gaylord, J.M. Guinn, Theo Hittell, Frederick Webb Hodge, George P. Ide, L.H. Ingersoll, and Charles Fletcher Lummis written from 1904-1916.

One folder consists of material added by the Southwest Museum staff after 1934 and are not original items from the personal collections of Eva Scott Fenyes. This folder includes listings, booklets, documents, and clippings from 1901-1951 and primarily is about the Fenyes paintings held at the Southwest Museum.

Dates

  • 1904-1951

Creator

Access

Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit https://theautry.org/research-collections/library-and-archives and fill out the Researcher Application Form.

Use

Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry Museum of the American West. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Research Services and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry Museum of the American West as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Biographical note

Eva Scott Fenyes (1849-1930)

Eva was born on 1849 November 9 and was the daughter of Leonard Scott, New York publisher, and Rebecca Briggs Scott. Eva was educated at Pelham Priory in Pelham Manor, New York, and then studied art in New York, Europe, and Egypt. In 1877, she also spent time in Fort Marion, Florida, where she asked Henry Pratt to have the artists Howling Wolf (Cheyenne) and Zo Tom (Kiowa) create ledger books for her. This early affiliation with Native American artists and her support for their work continued throughout her life.

In 1878, Eva married Lieutenant William S. Muse, who later became a brigadier general. Their only child, Leonora, was born in 1879. After spending several years as an army wife, Eva began to spend time traveling, painting, and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1891, she divorced Muse and traveled extensively in Europe, Egypt, and other Middle Eastern countries. During these travels she met Dr. Adelbert Fenyes, who was a Hungarian nobleman, a doctor of nervous diseases, and an entomologist. They were married in Budapest in 1896 and settled soon thereafter in Pasadena, where Mrs. Fenyes continued to paint.

Although Mrs. Fenyes painted constantly, she did not exhibit her work or consider herself a “professional artist.” She painted a variety of subjects and was also interested in music, archaeology, philanthropy, and history. She assisted with the founding of the Pasadena Emergency League in 1910 and the Pasadena Music and Art Association in 1912. She was an active member of the Landmarks Club of California and the Southwest Society. She also later served on the board of trustees of the Southwest Museum. Her daughter, Leonora Curtin, and her granddaughter, Leonora Curtin Paloheimo, continued to serve on the board through the late 1980s.

Eva was instrumental in the creation of art and literary salons that brought together a wide variety of local artists, writers, and other intellectuals who met in her home in Pasadena. Among the participants in these salons were such well-known California painters as William Keith and Benjamin Brown, who described her as “too accomplished in many phases of art to become proficient in one.”

By the 1890s, Eva was friends with Charles Lummis. In a 1904 letter, Mrs. Fenyes asked Lummis his opinion about documenting the historic adobes, which she had started in 1898. Lummis responsed in a letter, “It seems to me it would be a very valuable thing if you could carry out your plan to make accurate watercolor studies of the old buildings in this region. Accuracy is the first requirement; and such a series would have serious historical value. I hope you may be able to realize this plan— and I am inclined to think that if you can undertake it in just the right way, you will find it better for your health than all the doctors. . . .” They continued their friendly contact throughout their lives.

Eva spent more than thirty years traveling from San Diego to Sonoma to preserve the history and aesthetic beauty of her surroundings. She died on 1930 February 3.

Source: "Capturing California’s Romantic Past: The Watercolor Works of Eva Scott Fenyes," Autry National Center online exhibit, 2011. Curated by Kim Walters, Ahmanson Curator of Native Culture at the Autry.

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Eva Scott Fenyes (1849-1930) was an artist who spent more than thirty years traveling from San Diego to Sonoma, California to preserve the history and aesthetic beauty of her surroundings through her artwork. She moved to Pasadena, California circa 1896 where assisted with the founding of the Pasadena Emergency League in 1910 and the Pasadena Music and Art Association in 1912. She was also an active member of the Landmarks Club of California and the Southwest Society. This collection consists of Eva Scott Fenyes correspondence as well newspaper articles she collected. The material spans from 1904-1928.

Custodial history

This collection primarily consists of correspondence belonging to Eva Scott Fenyes and scrapbooks assembled by Fenyes. The Eva Scott Fenyes Collection was given as a gift from the daughter of Fenyes, Mrs. Leonora (Thomas) E. Curtain, 1934 April 3. There is one folder that consists of material added by the Southwest Museum staff after 1934 that are not originally from the personal collections of Eva Scott Fenyes.

Related Materials

Watercolors of Eva Scott Fenyes, Braun Research Library Collections; Autry Museum of the American West.

Curtin Family Collection, 1922-1981, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles; MS.648.

Fenyes-Curtin-Paloheimo Papers, 1745–1970, Pasadena Historical Museum.

Processing history

Inventory and initial processing by library staff. Biographical note taken from exhibit curated and written by Autry Curator, Kim Walters, 2011. Finding aid completed by Anna Liza Posas, 2013. Final processing of collection and publication of finding aid made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Creator

Title
Finding Aid to the Eva Scott Fenyes Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Kim Walters, Anna Liza Posas
Date
2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Library and Archives at the Autry Repository

Contact:
210 South Victory Blvd.
Burbank CA 91502 USA US