One of the true treasure troves of the Walt Disney Archives collection is the cache of materials that was originally housed in Walt Disney’s office suite, found in the 3H wing of the Disney Studio’s original Animation building on the Burbank studio lot. The cataloguing of this collection by Disney Legend and Walt Disney Archives Chief Archivist Emeritus Dave Smith in 1970 resulted in a thorough inventory of Walt’s studio memorabilia and furniture. Film production and theme park ephemera aside, this space was also filled with books, trinkets, gifts from visitors, and materials Walt acquired himself during his world-wide travels—it’s evident that he surrounded himself with reminders of the cultures he experienced and the people he met from all over the globe as a means to not only remember his past adventures, but to possibly inspire his myriad current and future projects.
During the 1941 “Good Neighbor” trip Walt and his artists took to South America, the clan known as “El Grupo” received many a gift from the enchanted people they studied and learned from—Walt especially. One of the gifts Walt received during the trip was a scrapbook filled with original art from some of South America’s then-premier artists. Everything from caricatures of Walt to depictions of Gaucho life can be found in the tome. Let’s take a look now at a couple of pieces from this scrapbook—direct from Walt’s office.