Skip to main content

Kathleen Gemberling Adkison papers

Identifier: WUA053

Scope and Contents

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.


  • 1942-2006


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open to researchers.

Conditions Governing 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.

Biographical / Historical

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.


3 Linear Feet (4 boxes, 1 oversize box)


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.


Materials are arranged into three series: Series I. Personal Papers, Series II. Correspondence, and Series III. Photographs of art works. Papers retain original order.

Physical Location

Mark O. Hatfield Library

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Helen Braden, 2009 and 2014.
Guide to the Kathleen Gemberling Adkison papers, 1942-2006
Finding aid processed by Nina Kulander and Ashley Toutain.
© 2014
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Willamette University Archives and Special Collections Collection Descriptions

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 United States