You Are One of My Nicest Thoughts

Georgia O’Keeffe? Roxana Robinson? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The influential American modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe applied a lovely expression to a close friend. She called the person “one of my nicest thoughts”. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: Georgia O’Keeffe had a close relationship with her sister Catherine O’Keeffe Klenert. On December 25, 1928 the artist sent a letter to her sibling containing the target expression. The missive was retained by Catherine, and many years later it was examined by the biographer Roxana Robinson who published “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life” in 1989. Catherine had married and given birth to a daughter by 1928, and Georgia was proud of her honesty and self-reliance: 1

“She thought Catherine was the only one who had made a success of her life,” said a friend. Georgia felt more than respect for Catherine: though she offered everyone else a handshake, Georgia put her arm around Catherine. As she wrote her sister, “You are one of my nicest thoughts.”

One additional citation and the conclusion are below.

In 2004 “The Indianapolis Star” of Indiana printed a column containing the statement without attribution. The material in the column was selected from items sent to the newspaper by readers: 2

You are one of my nicest thoughts.

In conclusion, Georgia O’Keeffe should receive credit for this quotation although its accuracy depends on the veracity of biographer Roxana Robinson.

(Great thanks to Rebecca Fernandez whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Fernandez pointed to Georgia O’Keeffe as the originator of the remark.)

Notes:

  1. 1989 Copyright, Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life by Roxana Robinson, Part IV: 1929-1946: A Fair Division: New York and New Mexico, Chapter 27, Quote Page 440 and 603, Harper & Row, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)
  2. 2004 February 23, The Indianapolis Star, Let It Out (comments from readers), Quote Page E2, Column 5, Indianapolis, Indiana. (Newspapers_com)