Kathleen Gemberling Adkison papers, 1942-2006  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Adkison, Kathleen Gemberling, 1917-2010
Kathleen Gemberling Adkison papers
1942-2006 (inclusive)
3 linear feet, (4 boxes, 1 oversize box)
Collection Number
The Kathleen Gemberling Adkison papers reflect Adkison's work as a Northwest painter. Papers consist of correspondence, an interview transcript, and exhibit materials and pamphlets for Adkison's shows. Also included are photographs, negatives and prints, as well as newspaper clippings and awards for her work.
Willamette University Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street
Salem, OR
Telephone: 503-370-6866
Fax: 503-370-6141
Access Restrictions

Materials are open to researchers.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Kathleen Gemberling Adkison (1917-2010) was born in Nebraska on July 5, 1917. In 1930 her family moved to Seattle, where she graduated from high school. She had a passion for painting and studied art with Leon Derbyshire at Cornish Institute between 1938 and 1942. In 1942 she was introduced to Mark Tobey, influential Northwest painter and one of the founders of the Northwest School. She continued to study privately with Mark Tobey and Morris Graves, an expressionist painter, from 1942 to 1948.

In 1948 she moved with her family to Spokane but continued to study art in Seattle, returning frequently for lessons. She was an instructor at the Washington State University Extension Service in Spokane from 1953 to 1962, a Visiting Professor of Art at Gonzaga University from 1967 to 1968 and taught private classes in the Spokane art community.

Adkison's first solo exhibition was in 1957 at the Henriette E. Woessner Alumni Gallery, Seattle. Throughout her career she had numerous solo exhibitions, the majority of which were at Gordon Woodside/John Braseth Gallery in Seattle. Adkison participated in group exhibitions throughout Washington as well as throughout the nation. Her pieces are held by museums and in public and private collections throughout the Pacific Northwest.

She married architect Thomas Adkison in 1968 and drew inspiration from nature and her travels with him. Her abstract landscapes grew out of her love of mountain climbing, trekking and hiking. Adkison died on August 3, 2010.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Kathleen Gemberling Adkison papers reflect Adkison's work as a Northwest painter. Papers include correspondence pertaining to her artwork regarding purchase, congratulations on awards, and inclusion in gallery shows and museum exhibits. An interview transcript in which Adkison talks about her experience as an artist and why she paints is included. Newspaper articles and exhibit programs document her awards and inclusion in gallery shows and museum exhibits, specifically the Gordon Woodside/John Braseth Gallery, the Seattle Art Museum, the Frye Art Museum and the Sonora Art Gallery. Photographs, slides and negatives depict Adkison and her artwork.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Library acts as "fair use" reproduction agent.

For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.

Copyright Information: Before material from collections at Willamette University Archives and Special Collections may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in any collections held by University Archives and Special Collections should consult the University Archivist. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Kathleen Gemberling Adkison papers, Archives and Special Collections, Mark O. Hatfield Library, Willamette University.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  Personal papers, 1948-2003Return to Top

Brochures, programs, and exhibit material reflect the awards that Adkison received for her artwork as well as the exhibits and shows in which her artwork was featured. Many items are marked with the awards she received or the page on which she is featured. Photographs of her artwork are often included in the material. Additionally, an article in Architectural Digest in which one of Adkison's paintings was mentioned is included. Newspaper clippings cover stories about her work and her inclusion in shows and exhibits. Also included in this series is the transcript of a 1978 interview in which Adkison discusses her artwork and life as a painter.

Among the awards that Adkison received is a framed State of Washington Commendation, recognizing her achievements in painting and contributions to the cultural life of Washington State.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Newspaper clippings
1 2
Newspaper clippings
1 3
Newspaper clippings
1 4
Newspaper clippings
1 5
Newspaper clippings
1 6
Miscellaneous newspaper clippings
1 7
Duplicate newspaper clippings
1 8
State of Washington Commendation (copy)
1979 March 4
1 9
Adkison interview
1978 October 6
1 10
Exhibit materials
1 11
3 1
Cornish Arts Achievement Awards program
3 2
Seattle Art Museum Annual Reports
Gemberling's work included in the accession lists.
1961, 1967-1969
3 3
Pacific Northwest Annual Art Exhibition brochures
Gemberling listed as prize winner. 1958 brochure includes newspaper clippings about her winning.
3 4
Annual Exhibition of Northwest Artists, Seattle Art Museum
1956 program includes second place ribbon.
3 5
Butler Institute of American Art Midyear Show program
1961 program includes inserted correspondence regarding the purchase of a Gemberling painting.
3 6
Mother Lode Art Exhibition programs – Sonora California
Gemberling featured as Best of Show and/or honorable mention. 1966 program includes newspaper article about her award for Grotto. 1997 program includes newspaper article about her award for Last of Autumn.
3 7
Gordon Woodside Gallery and Zachary Waller Gallery featuring Kathleen Gemberling Adkison
1966, 1975
3 8
Annual Exhibition of American Painting and Sculpture program, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Includes newspaper article inserts.
3 9
West Coast Oil paintings Exhibition, Frye Art Museum
3 12
Woodside Gallery cards
3 14
From Architectural Digest
Article mentioning Gemberling painting.
1993 September
4 5
Gordon Woodside show pamphlet
4 7
Our Land, Our Sky, Our Water exhibit book
Adkison's The Source included in the exhibition.
4 8
Epicenter: Essays on North American Art by Matthew Kangas
Includes section on Adkison.
5 1
Framed Certificate of Commendation to Kathleen Gemberling Adkison from the State of Washington
1979 March 4

Series II:  Correspondence, 1949-2006Return to Top

Correspondence in this series relates to Adkison's artwork, spanning 1949 through 2006. Adkison received correspondence from individuals and businesses interested in purchasing her paintings, noting payment for specific works, or individuals and critics commenting on her artwork. Adkison's paintings were purchased by or donated to institutions such as museums, art galleries, banks, the Pacific Gas Transmission Company, schools, academies and universities.

Also included is correspondence regarding Adkison's inclusion in various exhibits and shows, specifically the 1999 Cheney Cowles Museum Kathleen Adkison retrospection, as well as a letter from John Obrantz, director of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, regarding his move from Deputy Director at the Whatcom Museum of History and Art to Hallie Ford, dated May 20, 1998.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
3 11
Correspondence and internet search result
3 13
Woodside correspondence and newspaper articles
Gordon Woodside/John Braseth Gallery.
3 15
Art correspondence
3 16
Art correspondence, old-1960s
3 17
Art correspondence, old-1960s
4 1
Kathy Agather correspondence and photographs
Includes photographs of Gemberling's art throughout their home and of Gemberling with her artwork. Kathy was a childhood friend of Helen.
1993 June 25, 2000 January 3
4 2
Art correspondence
Includes correspondence on Cheney Cowles Museum KathleenAdkison retrospective, 1999.
4 3
Business Correspondence including exhibits, mostly not Woodside
Includes KathleenAdkison Inc. Articles of Incorporation document and 1947 Puyallup Washington Fair Fifth Premium ribbon.
1958, 1971-1999
4 4
Kathleen Adkison Inc. Art Correspondence
Includes First Award ribbon at the Las Vegas Art League National Art round-up, and polaroids of her artwork located in the Pacific Gas Transmission Company.

Series III:    Photographs of art works, 1942-1995Return to Top

This series has photographs, negatives and slides of Adkison paintings on exhibit and as well as photographs of her working in her studio. A number of the photographs show Adkison's unusual painting technique.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1
Paintings on exhibit
2 2
Paintings on exhibit
2 3
2 4
Portraits and still life
2 5
Art works
2 6
Series of Adkison at work and art work
2 7
Art work and nature photographs
2 8
Prints of art works
2 9
Copy of art work on menu for Beverly's, The Coeur d'Alene Resort
2 10
Adkison working in studio
2 11
Photographs of Adkison taken for catalog
2 12
Adkison and art work
2 13
Adkison and art work
2 14
Adkison and art work
2 15
Adkison and art work
2 16
Photographs of Adkison
2 17
Art work
2 18
Adkison working in studio
2 19
Art work
2 20
Photographs from Spokane Portrait Show
3 10
Slides of paintings
2003 August 25
4 6
Photograph of Adkison painting

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Arts--Northwest, Pacific
  • Fine Arts
  • Personal Names :
  • Derbyshire, Leon
  • Graves, Morris, 1910-2001
  • Haas, Pauline
  • O'Rourke, Kay
  • Thamm, John
  • Tobey, Mark
  • Corporate Names :
  • Butler Institute of American Art
  • Charles and Emma Frye Art Museum
  • Cornish School of Allied Arts (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Gonzaga University
  • Gordon Woodside/John Braseth Gallery
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Sonora Art Gallery
  • Zachary Waller Gallery
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • correspondence
  • paintings (visual works)
  • Photographs