Adams performed onstage a few more times in the 1930s before settling at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. The president of Stephens had asked that Adams start a theater program there and gave her full control over the curriculum. It must have been a familiar arrangement to Adams: the trusting patron, a supportive community, and total autonomy.
Today, Adams’s portrait hangs on the back wall of the Stephens Playhouse. “We have her there,” explains retired theater professor Rob Doyen, “so that when you’re onstage, you know that Miss Adams is watching everything you do and supporting you.” A side room nearby, the “Maude Adams Gallery,” contains the most prized artifacts of her career, including one giant light bulb, intact, with a filament as wide as your hand.
Produced by the USPTO’s Office of the Chief Communications Officer. For feedback or questions, please contact OCCOfeedback@uspto.gov
Story by Adam Bisno. Contributions from Marie Ladino. Special thanks to Kim Marra and Rob Doyen. The photograph at the beginning of this story shows Maude Adams in costume as Lady Babbie in “The Little Minister“ (1897-98) and has been cropped from the original photograph
in the collection of the Library of Congress.
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