Adelia Sarah Gates

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Adelia Sarah Gates
Born October 24, 1825
Otego, New York
Died September 21, 1912(1912-09-21) (aged 86)
San Francisco, California
Nationality United States
Education Madame Vouga’s school, Geneva, Switzerland
Known for Botanical illustrator

Adelia Sarah Gates (October 24, 1825 - September 21, 1912) was an American illustrator of botanical specimens.[1][2] Her early work was as an elementary teacher and decorative watercolorist.[3][4] She was an amateur decorative watercolorist and painter long before she was able to advance further into scientific illustration methods and to travel widely on collecting and documentation expeditions later in her life.

She was born in the Susquehanna Valley.[5] Gates worked as a guardian, farmworker, teacher, and as a factory worker in the Lowell Mills before being attending college.[6] In her thirties, she attended Antioch College, only to leave after two years due to health issues. She started painting in her fifties, after taking lessons from Emile Vouga.[5]

Over 600 of her works were exhibited and donated to the United States National Museum, which later became the Smithsonian Institution.[7]


  1. ^ "Record Unit 7312". Adelia Gates Collection. Smithsonian Institution Archives. 
  2. ^ Adelia Sarah Gates, AskArt
  3. ^ Lockshin, Nora. "Adelia Gates—Flower Painter or Botanical Illustrator?". Smithsonian Institution Archives. 
  4. ^ Adela Elizabeth Richards Orpen (1897). The chronicles of the Sid: or, The life and travels of Adelia Gates. Ayer Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-8369-9145-1. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Adelia Gates Collection, 1879-1898 and undated". SIA RU007312. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Orpen, Adela Elizabeth Richards (1897). The chronicles of the Sid: or, The life and travels of Adelia Gates. New York, Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company. 
  7. ^ "Learned to paint at 50". The Washington Post 27 Apr 1914