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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Frank Adams

Born: Francis Taylor Stubbs 
Other: Francis Taylor Adams 
Dates:  1861, 3 July - 1958, 21 February
Born:  England, Staffordshire, Walsall
Died:  Canada
Active:  Canada
Born Francis Taylor Stubbs in Walsall, Staffordshire, England in 1862, he immigrated to Canada in 1897 with his brother Oswald Stubbs (cf), settling in Dartmouth. They opened a studio together at 201 Portland Street called Adams Brothers, which they renamed O. Bertram-Stubbs in 1901. It is not known why they chose the name Adams, but Frank elected to use it permanently. Around 1910, he styled himself a "Photographic Artist" and as an itinerant he focused on rural subjects including school groups and businesses such as saw mills, of which there were many. He relocated to Colchester County about this time and used a two-part horse-drawn photo van, one section containing his studio and the second, presumably, his living quarters. Many of his beautifully composed school class photos survive, as well as other images including labourers employed by various companies scattered around the Nova Scotia countryside. Examples may be seen at Nova Scotia Archives, Colchester Historeum and the Sherman Hines Museum. Sara Spike, who wrote a thesis on Adams, argues that: "Adams's unique class pictures were at odds with the standardized vision of education that was being imposed on rural communities by government and reform agendas. Adams's particular talents and representational choices, along with his position as an itinerant photographer, working outside the bureaucracy of the school system, made him uniquely suited to create images with local significance." He eventually moved to west end Halifax. Active until 1954 from his home at 42 MacDonald Street, he died in 1958 in his 97th year. The Sherman Hines Museum has an upholstered posing chair which was donated to the museum by Adams' daughter.
    1901 Census of Canada
  • Nova Scotia historical vital records (death)
  • Might's directories - 1930-1940 (Halifax Regional Library)
  • Sara Spike, "Photos of the school group of this place and others": An Itinerant Photographer Pictures Rural Education in Nova Scotia, c. 1912, Master of Arts (History) Thesis, Concordia University, 2009 (online)

Source: © Jeff Ward, The Early Light Project, 2022

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