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J. Ottis and Winifred Brady Adams small photograph collection

 Collection — Folder: SP165
Identifier: SP165

Scope and Contents

This collection contains 3 black-and-white photographs reproduced from the Adams Collection at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana on October 20, 1984. The images comprise individual portraits of J. Ottis Adams and Winifred Brady Adams, as well as a photograph of J. Ottis Adams' studio, possibly at the Hermitage in Brookville, Indiana ranging from circa 1900 to circa 1927.


  • circa 1900-circa 1927


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Literary rights, including copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their legal heirs and assigns. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts. The publisher must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical Note

John Ottis Adams was an American impressionist painter and art educator from Indiana. He was a member of the Hoosier Group of Indiana landscape painters, alongside William Forsyth, Otto Stark, Richard B. Gruelle, and T. C. Steele. Adams was born on July 8, 1851 to Alban Housley (1823-1902) and Elizabeth Strange (Thomas) Adams (1825–1911) in Amity, Johnson County, Indiana. The family moved several times in his youth: first to Franklin, then Shelbyville, and finally, Martinsville where Adams graduated from high school. He attended the Indiana State Fair in 1869 and became enthralled with some of the paintings on display, sparking his ambition to become a painter himself. Adams attended the South Kensington School of Art in London, United Kingdom during 1872-1873 and then remained there to study under John Parker, a landscape and genre watercolorist. He returned to to Indiana in 1874 and moved in with his parents in Seymour, opening a portrait studio. The next year, Adams moved to Martinsville, before settling in Muncie where he spent 4 years painting the portraits of the town's prominent families.

In 1880, he traveled to Munich, Germany to study at the Academy of Fine Arts until 1885 and then opened a studio there. In 1887, Adams returned to Muncie, renting a studio and starting his teaching career. In 1889, Adams and William Forsyth founded the Muncie Art School in Muncie, Indiana, but it closed its doors after 2 years. In 1894, Adams was one of the painters invited to contribute to the Five Hoosier Painters exhibition. He and his fellow contributors were named the "Hoosier Group," and nearly inseparable in the next few years, often painting together at various spots around Indiana. Adams and T. C. Steele bought property near Brookville, Indiana, on the eastern fork of the Whitewater River, in 1898. They renovated the old home with separate studios and living quarters for the artists and their families during the warmer months. Steele's wife, Libby, named it the Hermitage.

Adams married Winifred Brady (1871-1955), a still-life painter and his former student from the Muncie Art School, in Muncie on October 1, 1898. The couple had 3 sons: John Alban (1900-1971), Edward Wolfe (1902-), and Robert Brady (1904-1951). The Adamses moved into the Hermitage in 1899 and split their time between Franklin County and Indianapolis. In 1901, Adams helped found and taught at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis until 1906. He also gave informal art lessons at the Hermitage. The Adams family also bought a summer cottage in Leland, Michigan and spent quite a bit of time there, as well as Florida, where J. Ottis Adams started visiting for his health. In 1926, Adams' health took a sharp decline. He died on January 28, 1927 at his home in Indianapolis and was buried in Beech Grove Cemetery in Muncie.


Winifred Elizabeth Brady was born on May 8, 1871 to Thomas Jefferson (1839–1904) and Emeline (Wolfe) Brady (1843–1884) in Muncie, Indiana. Her sister, Elizabeth Wolfe Brady (1867–1944), married Frank Clayton Ball (1858–1943), a founder of Ball Brothers Glass in Muncie. Brady studied art at Muncie Art School, Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Art Students League of New York. She studied with William Merritt Chase, who was a major influence on her style, as well as Douglas Volk, H. Siddons Mowbay, and Robert Blum. Brady specialized in floral still-life painting.

Brady married her former art teacher, J. Ottis Adams (1851-1927), on October 1, 1898 and they had 3 children. The family moved into the Hermitage near Brookville, with the Steeles in 1899. After the Steeles sold interest in the property to the Adamses, Winifred made T. C. Steele's studio her own. The Hermitage was a popular spot for artists to congregate and members of the Hoosier Group, including Otto Stark, were frequent guests. After the death of her husband, J. Ottis, Adams split her time between the Hermitage and Indianapolis until her death in 1955. Adams died on January 2, 1955 and was buried with her husband in Beech Grove Cemetery, Muncie.

Sources: "Winifred Brady." 1880 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 27, 2022. "Winifred Adams." 1910 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 27, 2022. "Winifred Adams." 1920 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 27, 2022. "Winifred Adams." 1930 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 27, 2022. "Winifred Adams." 1940 United States Federal Census. Accessed April 27, 2022. "Winifred ." Accessed April 27, 2022. "Winifred ." Accessed April 27, 2022. "Winifred E. Brady." Indiana, U.S., Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993. Accessed April 27, 2022. "Alban Housely Adams." Find a Grave Memorial. Accessed April 27, 2022. "John Ottis Adams." Find a Grave Memorial. Accessed April 27, 2022. "Winifred Brady Adams." Find a Grave Memorial. Accessed April 27, 2022.

Friends of T. C. Steele State Historic Site, Inc. "J. Ottis Adams." Friends of T. C. Steele. Accessed April 27, 2022.

Krause, Martin. "J. Ottis Adams." Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, 1994. Revised March 2021. Accessed April 27, 2022.

Wikipedia. "J. Ottis Adams." Accessed April 27, 2022.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

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Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


This collection is arranged by subject.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2022/04/27 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2022/04/27 by Brittany Kropf.


J. Ottis and Winifred Brady Adams small photograph collection
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.