59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the Frank Adams Patterns and Journal

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard MuseumGale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call NumberRU480
Creator - creatorAdams, Frank, 1871-1944
TitleFrank Adams patterns and journal
Datecirca 1925-1944
Extent1 folder + 1 oversize box + 2 oversize folders + 1 flat file (0.326 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection contains a journal, decoy patters, and weathervane patterns created by woodworker, Frank Adams (1871-1944) of West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions to access.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to museum staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 480, Frank Adams Patterns & Journal.

Acquisition Information

Journal, gift of Sophie Block, November 13, 1997. (Accession no. 1997.056). Patterns, gift of Sophie Block, March 4, 1998. (Accession no. 1998.009). The Block family purchased the former home of Frank Adams on Music Street in West Tisbury.


Murphy, Stanley. Martha's Vineyard Decoys. Boston: D. R. Godine, 1978.

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Insley Julier in October 2013. Finding aid finished by Lara J. Ullman in July 2014. Finding aid machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick, July 2014.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Material

The Martha's Vineyard Museum holds a number of paperweights carved by Frank Adams.

Controlled Access Headings


  • Drawings
  • Journals
  • Patterns

Geographic Name(s)

  • West Tisbury (Mass.)


  • Decoys (Hunting)
  • Weather vanes

Biography/Historical Note

Edward Francis (Frank) Adams was born in West Tisbury, Massachusetts in 1871 to Charles Adams and Nancy Allen Adams. He was apprenticed at age 19 to a machinist in Boston, Massachusetts, however he only remained in the city for one year. Returning to Martha's Vineyard, Frank Adams worked as a carpenter in Tisbury, Massachusetts, for 15 years and then in West Tisbury as a wheelwright in the workshop of Brandon Mayhew. Adams married Ethel Pease and eventually returned to carpentry and woodwork, opening a shop behind their home on Music Street in West Tisbury. He often made his own tools. Adams enjoyed hunting and employed his carving skills to make his own duck decoys and shore-bird decoys. He later discovered that miniature versions of these birds made popular and marketable paperweights. Adams began making ship weathervanes around 1925. By the 1940s, Adams billed himself as a creator of ship weather vanes, duck paperweights and doorstops in local advertisements. Frank Adams died in 1944.

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains decoy and weathervane patterns, circa 1925-1944 and undated, created by woodworker, Frank Adams (1871-1944). Patterns include a drawing of a ship's hull on paper, mounted on cloth, and a drawing of a flounder in pencil on paper. Additionally, there are seven patterns cut to the size and profile of desired carvings. These include four fish, a lobster, a shore bird and a black duck. The models are made from cardboard and bear decoration or annotations in crayon and pencil. The birds have annotations in black ink. The collection also includes a journal kept by Frank Adams, where he noted weather, customer names, and prices from 1941-1943.


The collection is arranged alphabetically. The journal is housed in a box with other small collections.

Collection Inventory


Journal, 1941-1943 


Pattern for Black Duck, undated 

OS GEN 718

Pattern for Butterfish, circa 1925-1944 

OS 11

Pattern for Cod and Mackerel, circa 1925-1944 

OS 12

Pattern for Flounder, circa 1925-1944 

OS GEN 719

Pattern for Lobster, circa 1925-1944 

OS 13

Pattern for Sea Bass, circa 1925-1944 

OS 14

Pattern for Shore Bird, undated 

OS 15

Pattern for Sole, circa 1925-1944 

OS 16

Pattern for Vessel Hull, circa 1925-1944 

Flat File Cabinet 1Drawer 10