Wayman Adams Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Wayman Adams was born September 25, 1883, in Muncie, Indiana, to Nelson Perry and Mary Elizabeth (Justice) Adams. His father was a farmer and amateur artist who passed away when Adams was young, forcing Adams to quit school in the sixth grade to support his family. Adams decided to pursue a professional career in art and enrolled in the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana, at age 20 and studied under William Forsythe. He later traveled to Europe to study under painters William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. While in Italy, he met Austin, Texas, native Margaret Boroughs who was a fellow art student and former art teacher. The couple married in 1918.
In 1933, Adams and his wife purchased an abandoned sawmill and farmhouse in Elizabethtown, New York, and created an artist’s colony and art school called the Old Mill Art School. In 1949, they moved permanently to Austin, Texas, though the Old Mill Art School continued to be Adams’ summer studio through 1952. Their home in Austin was located at 2815 San Gabriel which they named Encina Linda.
In Austin, Wayman Adams gave demonstrations for the Texas Fine Arts Association’s “Artists in Action” program series and both Wayman and Margaret were among the founders of the Heritage Society of Austin, Inc. Margaret was its first president in 1953.
Adams painted many prominent Austinites including Judges Ben Powell, George Shelley, James Hart and John Garwood; E. M. Scarbrough; Max Starke; Clara Driskill Sevier; Fannie Andrews; J. Frank Dobie; and Governors Allan Shivers and Beauford Jester.
In 1959, Wayman Adams died of a heart attack at their home in Austin. Margaret Adams died in 1965, and their only son Wayman, Jr. died in 1981. In 1976, their home Encina Linda was demolished in a fire and many of the couple’s paintings were destroyed.
Lowery, Carol. A Legacy of Art: Paintings and Sculptures by Artist Life Members of the National Arts Club. 2007. Hudson Hills Press: New York.
Handbook of Texas Online, Joseph E. Blanton and Kendall Curlee, "Adams, Wayman," accessed August 05, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fad09.
This is a small collection of correspondence and photographs. There are a total of 10 postcards from various places, including Guanajuato, Mexico; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Roscoe, New York. Most of these are received correspondence from students, though three postcards have pencil sketches on the reverse which are presumably drawn by Wayman Adams. The postcards date from 1916-1953. There are 24 black-and-white photographs depicting various travel scenes which are undated. Three undated picture postcards document the Old Mill painting studio and groups of people. One of the group shots has a list of signatures on the reverse. Also in the collection is a 1947 telegram sent to Wayman and Margret Adams from Governor Beauford H. Jester in which he sends his regards to the couple on their exhibit he is unable to attend on Pearl Harbor Day 1947.
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Materials donated in 1983 from Wayman Adams home. In 1993, 2 postcards and the Beauford H. Jester telegram were added to the collection.
Wayman Adams Papers (AR.1993.028). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1983/037
Donation Date: 1983 May 21
Donor #: DO/1993/079
Donation Date: 1993 August 25
Finding aid created and encoded by Kelly Hanus, August 2017.
Detailed Description of the Collection