Searching for Mary Schäffer: Women Wilderness Photography
What may you ask does a book titled “Searching for Mary Schäffer: Women Wilderness Photography” by Colleen Skidmore have to do with Doc Adams?
The description of the book is as follows:
Mary Schäffer was a photographer, writer, botanical painter, and mapmaker from Philadelphia, well known for her travels in the Canadian Rockies and Jasper at the turn of the twentieth century. In Searching for Mary Schäffer, Colleen Skidmore takes up Schäffer’s own resonant themes—women and wilderness, travel and science—to ask new questions, tell new stories, and reassess the persona of Mary Schäffer imagined in more recent times. Public and private archival collections in the United States and Canada set the stage for this engrossing exploration of Schäffer’s creative, collaborative, and competitive enterprise amid the cultural complexities of Philadelphia’s science and photography communities, and the scientific, tourist, and Indigenous societies of the Rocky Mountains of Canada. “In this impressive book, Colleen Skidmore uses her considerable skills as a social historian of photography to shed new light on the remarkable life of Mary Schäffer. She knows the stories, the characters, and presents a social history that is fresh and convincing. Skidmore’s conclusion is brilliant and will certainly serve as a catalyst for further research and study of Mary Schäffer.” Donna Livingstone, President and CEO, Glenbow Museum.
Many people have heard about Mary Schäffer, the woman who discovered and surveyed the now famous Maligne Lake, but fewer know Mary (Molly) Adams. Molly Adams was Mary’s traveling companion on many of her journeys into the back country and abroad from 1905 until 1911.
Molly was a geology teacher at Columbia College. She and Mary met through their mutual interest in flowers. Molly and Mary would spend their winters in anticipation, carefully planning their trips.
But what does this have to do with Daniel Lucius ‘Doc’ Adams? Molly Adams was his daughter.
In Appendix 2 : Mary W. (Molly) Adams and Family, the following passage can be found. It shows that Doc’s story continues to spread and pops up in some unexpected places.
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