Adelaide Deming collection, 1808-1956
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Brief Description:

The Adelaide Deming collection (1954-46-0, .21 linear feet) contains papers related to Litchfield painter Adelaide Deming (1864-1956); her brother, physician William Champion Deming (1862-1954); and other members of her family, including her sister Charlotte (1868-), cousin John W. Quincy (1868-1950), and great grandfather Julius Deming (1755-1838). The collection consists primarily of correspondence and also includes business papers, estate papers, news clippings, a writ signed by Julius Deming and ephemera. Only two items, 1915 correspondence from Booker T. Washington, relate to Adelaide's painting career.

Adelaide Deming (1864-1956), born in Litchfield, was a nationally-known artist and educator whose interest in her town's past provided subjects for many of her paintings. Her parents were Litchfield residents Dr. William Deming and Mary Benton Deming, and her great-grandfather was wealthy merchant Julius Deming (1755-1838), who served in the American Revolutionary War. In addition to her art, Deming was involved in the issues of the day and in local affairs. She was president of the Litchfield Equal Franchise League. She was also one of the first presidents of the Women's Forum, a group still in existence. As a member of the town's board of education, she was credited with helping to bring a hot lunch program to the schools. She also pushed to get a new school built in the 1920s. The collection includes some of her correspondence, such as letters from White House social secretary Helen Woodrow Bones, Rollins College President Hamilton Holt, and actress Julia Marlowe Sothern, and an 1879 letter from an associate of Victor Hugo enclosing an autographed photograph and thanking young Adelaide for her letter. There are two 1915 letters from Booker T. Washington: one in which he asks if Deming will contribute a painting to the Tuskegee Institute, and another in which he thanks her for her willingness to send a drawing. There are also several letters written to her sister Charlotte regarding business affairs.

Most of the papers relate to matters pertaining Adelaide Deming's brother, Dr. William Champion Deming (1862-1954). He practiced in Westchester, N.Y., served as a captain in the medical corps during World War I, and worked for the Veterans Administration for over 20 years. The collection contains papers regarding him and his wife Imogen Hawthorne Deming, whom he divorced; his care and activities in the 1950s; and his estate. Also in his papers, are items relating to his position as Secretary of the Shepaug Valley Railroad, including railroad passes, timetables, photographs and newspaper clippings. Litchfield Institute report cards for William C. Deming from1874-1876.

The collection also contains papers not directly related to Adelaide, including 19th century  correspondence and items relating to Julius Deming (1755-1838); members of Mary Perkins Qunicy's family; Litchfield resident Charles Adams; Rev. John Hutchins; Frederick Tallmadge (1792-1869); The Women's Christian Temperance Union; and news clippings and ephemera.

Held at:
Litchfield Historical Society
7 South Street, P.O. Box 385
Litchfield, CT 6759
Phone: 860-567-4501
Fax: 860-567-3565
Email: archivist [at]
Created by: Deming family, Deming, Adelaide (1879-1956)
Volume: 0.21
Acquired: 04/29/1954. 1949 gifts of Adelaide,Charlotte and Dr. William C. Deming [acc. 6193-6198]; found in collection acc. 1945-05-0 [7042].
Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.
Subject Index
Deming, Charlotte
Deming, Julius, 1755-1838
Deming, William Champion
Deming family
Painters - United States
Physicians - Connecticut
Shepaug Railroad
Shepaug Valley Railroad
Genres/Forms of Material
Business records
Legal documents
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Acquisition Notes: Adelaide Deming and staff of the Litchfield Historical Society.  Gift and found in collection.
PreferredCitation: Adelaide Deming collection (1954-46-0), Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library, P.O. Box 385, 7 South Street, Litchfield, Connecticut, 06759