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Documents and Letters

1935 Arizona Letters
June 29, 1935 July 4, 1935 July 26, 1935 August 1, 1935 August 8, 1935

August 21, 1935 Sept. 1, 1935 September 3, 1935 September 7, 1935

Letters from sculptor Churchlii Burr-Miller
August 13, 1935 September 12, 1935 September 12, 1935 November 19, 1935 October 18, 1936

Letters from Cady Wells
December 27, 1935 February 10,1937 February 27,1937 March 23,1937 May 1,1937 May 5,1937 June 22,1937 August,1937

Ned Scott met Gwladys von Ettinghausen in mid April, 1935 when he attended a party at Cornelia Runyon's Brentwood, California residence. Ned had moved to Los Angeles late in December 1934 after returning from Alvarado, Mexico where he served as still photographer on Paul Strand's movie Redes (The Wave). By the time he went to Cornelia's party that April evening he had taken up residence at 7900 Honey Drive in North Hollywood with his good buddies from the Mexican production: Fred Zinnemann, Henwar Rodakiewicz and Gunther von Fritch.

There is no question that the April meeting was prophetic for both Gwladys and Ned. Not long afterward, Ned made his way to Arizona where his sister Ellen had purchased a ranch in partnership with a man from the East named Jack Spieden. Ned had other friends in Arizona, and he planned to visit them as well. While traveling around the state, Ned wrote letters with his thoughts, observations and innermost feelings about his creative urges. Suddenly the world as new again.

MGM ID card for Gwladys von Ettinghausen

1935 Arizona Letters

Letter dated June 29, 1935, Ned Scott to Gwladys von Ettinghausen from the Hassayampa Mountain Club in Prescott, Arizona.
Transcript available here

Letter dated July 4, 1935 Ned Scott to Gladys von Ettinghausen from the Hassayampa Mountain Club, Prescott, Arizona.
Transcript available here
Letter dated July 26, 1935 Ned Scott to Gladys von Ettinghausen from Prescott, Arizona
Letter dated August 1, 1935 from Ned Scott to Gladys von Ettinghausen from the Hassayampa Mountain Club, Prescott, Arizona

Letter dated August 8, 1935 from Ned Scott to Gladys von Ettinghausen from the Jay Six Cattle Company, Bonita, Arizona

The Jay Six Cattle Company was the name of the ranch Ned's sister Ellen shared in partnership with Jack Spieden. It was located in the Southeastern part of the state between Tucson and Benson. The ranch needed a great deal of basic work to begin operation, and Ned and his sister were thrust into that operation. These efforts must have been succcesful because the following year the Jay Six was running 1000 head of hereford cattle and Jack Spieden was building new structures for permanent ranch offices. Helping him in this effort were two hired ranch hands, Jack Kennedy and his older brother. These two stayed four months, worked at $1 per day and finished the construction. In fragile health when he arrived in late Spring, Kennedy returned at the end of the summer tanned, lean and hard as leather. The Jay Six was recently subdivided into "ranchettes".

(See John F. Kennedy: A Biography by Michael O'Brien)

Transcript available here

Letter dated August 21, 1935 Ned Scott to Gladys von Ettinghausen from the Hassayampa Mountain Club, Prescott, Arizona

Letter dated Sept. 1, 1935 Ned Scott to Gladys von Ettinghausen from the Jay Six Cattle Company, Benson, Arizona

Transcript available here
Letter dated September 3, 1935, Ned Scott to Gwladys von Ettinghausen from the J Six Cattle Company, Benson Arizona<
Letter dated September 7, 1935, Ned Scott to Gwladys von Ettinghausen from the J Six Cattle Company, Benson Arizona

Transcript available here

Letters from sculptor Churchill Burr-Miller

Burr-Miller, or just "Burr", was a functioning sculptor/artist during the mid 1930's. It is believed that he and Ned met at one of Cornelia Runyon's parties in Brentwood, California in 1935. They became friends, and traveled to some of the same destinations in that time period. In June, 1935, Ned photographed a bust of Katherine Hepburn which Burr had just created. A series of letters followed as the two men communicated over the next 15 months. Burr's letters are reproduced here to illustrate the vibrant texture of the artistic environment which surrounded Ned Scott after he moved from New York to Los Angeles.

Letter dated August 13, 1935 Burr-Miller to Ned Scott in Santa Monica, California(mailed from Honolulu, Hawaii)


How did you ever complete such a perfectly marvelous piece of work?

The photographs arrived three days ago and I haven't begun to recover yet--nor do I expect to--ever.

I never dare to look at more than one at a time--that is within several hours of each other--the effect is beyond our fondest dreams.

How can I ever thank you enough for coming all that long trip in the night and then turning out such stunning work?

I never would have dared to ask you to go on such a mission if Cornelia hadn't suggested the idea.

I seem to agree with you on which are the better ones.I am so glad you and Ellen like them.

You certainly caught every facet of that head and in a most impressive manner.

Your toil that night was not in vain and you must be very proud of the result.

They have a terrible beauty to them and they will be a constant source of joy for me.

I value them so highly I hate the idea of anyone's seeing them--unless they too are capable to comprehending such work. So far I have shown them to no one--however I shall see you receive full credit and publicity.

I am enclosing ten dollars as a very small contribution that being all I can spare right now--but in the near future I will send you more.

We are leaving here the end of this month and shall see you soon after that.

I can't say we have met with much in the way of success here in the way of sculpture. I shall enlarge on that later. I have just finished a Polynesian head --female--for myself.

Believe me, I have never been so bowled over as when I saw those photographs! Jean is bursting with admiration for your real genius.

By God, you are going to be absolutely TOP.

I hope your order for 100 lillies went through satisfactorily for you.  Our best to Ellen.

Signed Burr

P.S. I am so glad to re-acted to the head of Hepburn as you did.It is very cheering to me! last evening after writng this letter we went to see a couple of friends--took along the photographs--and evidently they must have had a magical effect for I now have a commission to do the child's head! So you see what luck you bring me? Must dash now to get this aboard the President Wilson.  B-M


Scan of original letter


Letter dated September 12, 1935 Burr-Miller to Ned Scott from Hollywood, California
Letter dated October 18, 1935 Burr-Miller to Ned Scott from New York City
Letter dated November 19, 1935 Burr-Miller to Ned Scott from New York City

Letters From Cady Wells

Cady Wells grew up on the East Coast as a child of privilege, but instead of following in his father's footsteps he moved west to New Mexico to begin a self taught career as a water color artist. His career lasted from 1932 through 1954. It is unknown just how Ned Scott and Cady met, but by 1935 they were friends. It is clear from these letters that they both shared the same aesthetic view of the world around them. Many of the familiar names crop up in these letters: Cornelia Runyon, Peggy Bok, Henwar Rodakiewicz Ned's new wife, Gwladys and Ellen Scott, Ned's older sister. Ned Scott created an 8 x 10 portrait series of Cady in 1937 when he visited his spread in Pojoaque, 20 miles outside of Santa Fe. In these letters is the only hint of Ned's photographic visit to Death valley--no other record exists of this trip. Ned was friends with Cady just as the artist was starting to find his own unique expression of Southwestern Modernism.

Those persons interested in the works of Cady Wells will find these letters quite interesting in that Cady discusses his own work, how he felt about it, and how it was created. Cady must have been an intersting man as well as a fine artist, way ahead of his time. Both he and Ned eschewed the rigors of eastern social structures into which they were born, and perhaps that is the underlying reason they got along so well.


Letter dated December 27, 1935 Cady Wells to Ned Scott from Pojoaque, New Mexico

Dear Ned,


Happy New Year.  And please give the same to Henwar for me.  I have a guest room at your disposal--anytime--so use it--soon.

Your chum,


R 7 D #1

P.S.  Have you the negative of the picture with he window background and if so, could you do me six?

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Letter dated February 10,1937 Ned Scott to Cady Wells from Santa Monica, California

Dear Cady,

Here are the poofs.  Some are bad and some are good. The ones of us I send only because you had a hand in making them. They are awful.  Please throw them in the waste basket.  The proofs of you--I have written comments on the back of each.  Pleas remember that these are only proofs and therefore discount the complete lack of quality and richness and any spots that might be apparent.  I haven't done any retouching whatsoever on these but I would suggest removing hickeys and any extra beards.  If you have any other retouching suggestions please return proofs with your comments thereon.

I usually charge $60 a dozen--meaning a dozen finished and mounted prints of only three negatives chosen, 8 x 10.  In your case please disregard this and choose any number of 8 x 10 proofs you want finished and mounted and I will fix you up with a dozen.  I will also throw in an additional six 5 x 7's finished and mounted--if there are any you want.

The above quotation is for prints of the regulation type similar to those I made for you before.  If you want the whole business done in Platinum paper it will being the cost up to $100. If you don't now the difference between the two I would like to make up one print on regular paper and one on platinum (of the same proof) and send them to you for your comparison.

Now that we are done with the mundane business angle I must tell you how much you helped to make our short visit to Santa Fe so swell. I was so glad to see you again and to have Gwladys meet you and you were a brick to give us so much of your time.  I only hope that you will fins it necessary to come here sometime and that you will stay with us--altho' I don't see why one should ever have to leave such beauty and life that you have all around you so constantly.  I can't tell you ho depressing our homecoming was--how we hated  to leave the Southwest.  I am back in the grind now, and how very dull it is.

Your pictures Cady!  You have really grasped the meaning of it all and you have set it  down like no other painter I know.  Your pictures are so much easier reading than any book.  What are words anyway when one has the vision and ability you possess.  And--one of these day I am going to have one of them and hang it where it will be most useful in hauling me out of the dumps and where it will constantly remind me that there are still some things worth while in this funny--rather drab--world.  My congratulations Cady.

Your sherry was consumed and finished the same day.  Many thanks.

As ever,





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Letter dated February 27,1937 Cady Wells to Ned Scott from Pojoaque, New Mexico

Dear Ned,

Please forgive my not having written you sooner--telling you how pleased I am with the picture--they are very, very good. My three guests (female) left Wednesday, and now I can't find your letter telling me prices--but I think I can remember enough.

First, I don't know the difference between the the two types of prints and if you will make one of each first as you suggested--I would appreciate it.  So print two of the number three one first--I am going to want six of the number 3 and two each of the 5 . 7 . 8 but will wait until I have seen the finish.

Will you make me three prints --unmounted--of the dog pictures returned.  They are really wonderful.

Am leaving tis morning for Death Valley and am planning to be there from March 1st to March 8th.  How about coming over next weekend--I wish you would.  My address will be Furnace Creek Camp, Furnace Creek Ranch, Death Valley, Cal.

My best to you and Gwladys, and many thanks, Ned, for he splendid job on the pictures. And here's really hoping you'll motor over.



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Letter dated March 23,1937 Cady Wells to Ned Scott from Pojoaque, New Mexico

Dear Ned,

Well, all I can say is--where are we? Here I've been to Cal. twice, and  never gotten up to see you. Main reason is I've been visitng my mother in Palm Springs who has been quite ill.  Just couldn't get away--although I did get up to Carmel on the way home.

Main point of this hasty note is to ask you to send me four unmounted prints--the cheapest kind that will look o.k. of the picture of me peering from behind my white pickets.

Now, how about that visit? My family are descending on me in droves in April--brother and mother father--but the coast is clear in May.  How about it?

Have had a hard winter as far as work is concerned--not very satisfactory. How about you?  How's Gwladys & Ellen.  Please give my love to them both.

Your devoted chum


P.S. Cornelia T was here for a fee days--she seems so unsettled and harassed--she should quite down  in our place.


Scan of Letter

Letter dated May 1,1937 Ned Scott to Cady Wells from Santa Monica, California
Letter dated May 5,1937 Cady Wells to Ned Scott from Pojoaque, New Mexico
Postcard dated June 22,1937 Cady Wells to Gwladys Scott from Pojoaque, New Mexico
Letter dated circa August,1937 Cady Wells to Ned Scott from Pojoaque, New Mexico