Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7312
Adelia Gates Collection, 1879-1898 and undated
Adelia Gates (circa 1820-1912) was born in the Susquehanna Valley of New York State. At age sixteen she taught in a country school, and later worked in the cotton mills at Lowell, Massachusetts. Gates attended Antioch College when she was in her thirties, but had to leave after two years because of poor health. At the age of fifty, Gates was taught how to paint flowers by Madame Vouga in Geneva, Switzerland.
This collection consists of 327 watercolors of flowers painted by Adelia Gates. It represents a fragment of a collection of 502 Gates watercolors donated to the Smithsonian by Eleanor Lewis in 1913. Approximately 175 watercolors are missing. The paintings cover a wide range of native and exotic plants and a majority of the studies were made in California, Algeria, and Italy. Also included is an alphabetic index to the paintings, arranged by genus. Some of the watercolors include annotations by Sara Allen Plummer Lemmon, a California botanist who received art lessons from Gates.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7312, Adelia Gates Collection