Ruth Maxon Adams (1883-1970)

<a href="/omeka/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=50&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=Portrait+of+Ruth+Maxon+Adams+%281883-1970%29">Portrait of Ruth Maxon Adams (1883-1970)</a>

Where: Yelping Hill

When: 1922-1970


Adams was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, and grew up in New Haven, Connecticut. After graduating from Vassar College she took courses at the New York School of Applied Design for Women. Adams was greatly influenced by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. She took her first professional position in 1914, which was to renovate the guest room in the main building at Vassar College.  


Though she was not technically an architect, in 1915 Adams designed her first house, the Fahnestock-Peebles home, and opened her own firm for drafting and interior decorating in New York. Adams later moved the firm to New Haven. She would eventually go on to design five Vassar faculty homes. The then President of Vassar, Henry Noble MacCracken, also commissioned Adams to redesign Vassar’s Ely Hall, Kenyon Hall, the social spaces of the residence halls, and the president’s office.


When MacCracken and others founded the Yelping Hill community in Cornwall, they asked Adams to design the community barn and the cottages of the founding families. Adams spent her summers in Yelping Hill and eventually retired there. She died in Cornwall at the age of 86.

Image courtesy of Vassar Encyclopedia

Ruth Maxon Adams (1883-1970)