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University of Texas at Austin

Richard Lee Adams:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Adams, Richard Lee, 1908-1965
Title: Richard Lee Adams Photography Collection
Dates: Circa 1900-2014 (bulk 1935-1945)
Extent: 2 document boxes, 1 oversize box (587 items) (2.436 linear feet)
Abstract: The collection consists of 587 photographs that are primarily portraits and snapshots of Richard Lee Adams' family but also include photographs of sculpture and furniture created by him. Additionally there is a small amount of genealogical information on the Adams family.
Call Number: Photography Collection PH-02632
Language: English
Access: Open for research.

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Gift of Lucia Adams, 2014 (14-12-012-G)
Processed by: Deborah Marks, 2016

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Richard Lee Adams was born on March 3, 1908, on his family’s farm in Killeen, Texas. After briefly attending Texas A & M University, Adams left Texas and eventually settled in New York City in 1931. Adams married Lucy Terrone in 1933. Together they had two children, Donovan Samuel, born in 1938, and Lucia Gay, born in 1942. The family variously lived in Forest Hills, Queens, and Brooklyn, New York. In 1938, Adams began working as a welder at the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) employee. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, eventually joining a film production unit in California that made training films. After the war, Adams returned to New York City and joined Bachrach Studios as a portrait and wedding photographer. Adams died on January 20, 1965, in New York City.

Scope and Contents

Five hundred and eighty-seven photographs, a small leather notebook, and a small group of manuscript materials, dating from circa 1900 to 2014, document the personal life of American photographer Richard Lee Adams. The photographs are primarily family portraits and snapshots taken by Adams between 1935 and 1945 in New York City and in Lubbock, Texas. Subjects include his wife, Lucy, and their children, Donovan and Lucia Gay; his parents; and extended family members. Other photographs are of artworks and furniture created by Adams during the 1950s and 1960s.
The collection is arranged in approximate chronological order and then by subject matter. Descriptions of all items were derived by the archivist from inscriptions on the photographs where available. The photographs are black-and-white unless otherwise noted in the descriptions. The collection contains duplicate prints and enlargements of some images. Adams’ Social Security card was removed from the collection.
Processing information
Photographs were removed from album pages due to preservation concerns. They are arranged in numerical order based on the numbers found on the image versos.

Index Terms


Adams, Donovan Samuel, 1938-2008.
Adams, Lucia Gay, 1942- .
Adams, Lucy Terrone.
Adams, Richard Lee, 1908-1965.


New York (N.Y.)--Pictorial works.
Lubbock (Tex.)--Pictorial works.

Document Types

Chromogenic color prints.
Gelatin silver prints.
Photographic prints.
Portrait photographs.

Item List