Adelaide Palmer (1851-1928)

Adelaide Palmer (1851-1928)

Adelaide Palmer, an accomplished landscape, floral and still life painter, was also a devoted member of the Boston art community throughout her career. She was born in Orford, New Hampshire, to State Senator Henry H. Palmer and after working as a school teacher for a time, she eventually chose to pursue a fine arts education in Boston. Palmer had already begun exhibiting her still lifes with the Boston Art Club in 1880, even prior to receiving formal instruction in painting, and in 1882 she enrolled at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She also studied under one of Boston’s most celebrated artists, John Joseph Enneking (1841-1916), and soon embarked upon a successful career in the fine arts. She would later become a teacher herself, both in Boston and in Piermont, New Hampshire.

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Palmer continued to participate in exhibitions of the Boston Art Club for nearly thirty years and became an active member of the Copley Society in 1893.  She also participated in major exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago (1888), the National Academy of Design (1894) and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1913). Palmer utilized her creative skills as a commercial artist as well, designing the original label for the Fruit of the Loom brand. During the early part of the 20th century, the line included both men’s undergarments and common linen and yard goods.

While she spent most of her career in New England, an illness prompted Palmer to reside for a short time in California, where she enjoyed painting scenery of Yosemite and still lifes with flowers unique to the region. Devoted to her painting and teaching, Palmer never married and remained close with her parents and sister, and doted upon her seven nieces and nephews. Two of her paintings can now be found in the collection of the New Hampshire Historical Society.

References: American Art Notes, Autumn, 1983; Who Was Who in American Art; NAD, BAC, AIC Exhibition Records.

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