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Maida Babson Adams American Garden collection, circa 1957-1994

Adams, Molly 1918-2003
Landscape architect:
Weber, Nelva M.
Ireys, Alice Recknagel 1911-2000
Stege, Friede R.
Physical description:
7,606 photographic images; 2.25 cubic ft
35mm slides (photographs) : color ; 2 x 2 inches
35mm negatives : color
120mm negatives : black and white ; 2 x 2 inches
120mm transparencies : color ; 2 x 2 inches
Contact sheets : black and white
Negatives : black and white ; 4 x 5 inches
Photographic prints : black and white ; 8 x 10 inches
Photographic prints : black and white ; 3 1/2 x 5 inches
Photographic prints : color ; 4 x 6 inches
Film transparencies : color ; 4 x 5 inches
Black-and-white negatives
Collection descriptions
Black-and-white photographs
Color negatives
Color photographs
Contact sheets
Photographic prints
Slides (photographs)
Film transparencies
United States
New Jersey
New York (State)
circa 1957-1994
Molly (Maida Babson) Adams (1918 - 2003) had a 40+ year career as a nationally recognized free-lance garden and wildlife photographer and conservationist. Her images were published under the name "Molly Adams." Adams was born in Orange, New Jersey and lived over fifty years in Mendham Township, New Jersey. As a teenager she became interested in photography; she later attended the New York Institute of Photography and became a member of the New York Camera Club. Her photographs were featured in numerous newspapers and magazines including the "New York Times," zNew York Herald Tribune," zHouse Beautiful," zHorticulture," zHome Garden," and "Audubon." During the Kennedy administration, she photographed the White House Rose Garden; these photographs were later published in "Flower Grower." Adams provided hundreds of photographs for "How to Plan and Plant Your Own Property" (1967) by landscape architect Alice Recknagel Ireys and "How to Plan Your Own Home Landscape" (1976) by landscape architect Nelva M. Weber. Her images were also published in books including "The Reader's Digest Practical Guide to Home Landscaping," and "The Complete Illustrated Book of Garden Magic." Adams also occasionally wrote garden-themed articles. A longtime member in the Somerset Hills (NJ) Garden Club, which is part of the Garden Club of America, Adams once served as the latter's official photographer. In the 1960's Adams' photographs drew attention to conservation issues related to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern New Jersey. These widely publicized photographs rallied public support against the proposed destruction of the Great Swamp for the construction of an airport. Adams was also active as a member of the Mendham Township Environmental Commission and the North Jersey Conservation Foundation. In the 1980's she was awarded the Buckley Medal of Merit for Horticultural Achievement by the Garden Club of America for her photographs used in the postcard campaign "Save Our Vanishing Wild Flowers."
The Maida Babson Adams American Garden Collection documents the work of Molly Adams, a free-lance garden photographer who photographed hundreds of private and public gardens, many of them in the mid-Atlantic region, from the late 1950s through the mid-1990s. It includes slides, photographic prints, negatives and transparencies. A significant number of images document the work of landscape designers Nelva M. Weber, Alice Recknagel Ireys, and Friede Stege. Roughly 100 gardens in the collection lack an identified owner and/or location. Some images have captions and other information written on them.
Cite as:
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Maida Babson Adams American garden collection
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens:
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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