Austin History Center

Wayman Adams Papers

An Inventory of the Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Adams, Wayman, 1883-1959
Title: Wayman Adams Papers
Dates: 1916-1953
Abstract: Wayman Adams was an American portrait painter who lived in Austin, Texas, from 1949 to his death in 1959. This small collection documents Adams' life through correspondence, photographs, and picture postcards, dating from 1916-1953.
Accession number: AR.1993.028
Quantity: 0.2 linear feet(1 box)
Location: Archives Stacks
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Sketch

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,

Scope and Contents

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.


Access Restrictions

Open to all users

Use Restrictions

The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Adams, Wayman, 1883-1959.
Adams, Margaret Boroughs.
Jester, Beauford Halbert, 1893-1949.
Subjects (Organizations)
Witte Memorial Museum.
Old Mill Art School (Elizabethtown, N.Y.).
Art museums--Exhibitions.
Portrait painters--Texas--Austin.
Austin (Tex.).
Edinburgh, England.
New York (N.Y.).
San Antonio (Tex.).
Elizabethtown (N.Y.).
Albany (N.Y.).
Document Types
Black-and-white photographs.
Picture postcards.

Related Material

  • General Collection - A 759.172 A219W Texas Ranger Museum, Wayman Adams: American artist, 1883-1959. 1993.
  • Austin Files - AF Biography - Wayman Adams
  • Archives and Manuscripts - AR.Z.004 Texas Fine Arts Association Records

Separated Material

Brochures were separated to AF Biography - Wayman Adams.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Materials donated in 1983 from Wayman Adams home. In 1993, 2 postcards and the Beauford H. Jester telegram were added to the collection.

Preferred Citation

Wayman Adams Papers (AR.1993.028). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1983/037

Donation Date: 1983 May 21

Donor #: DO/1993/079

Donation Date: 1993 August 25

Processing Information

Finding aid created and encoded by Kelly Hanus, August 2017.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Wayman Adams Papers, 1916-1953, undated

Box Folder
1 1 Postcards--received, telegram from Governor Beauford H. Jester, 1925, 1940, 1947
2 8 postcards--mostly received correspondence, 3 have pencil sketches on reverse which may have been drawn by Adams, 3 copies of Old Mill Studio postcard; 3 picture postcards--painting room, 2 group shots (#001-003), 1916, 1953, undated
3 24 black-and-white photographs--travel scenes (#004-027), undated