Adney was fifteen when his mother took him and his sister Mary Ruth to live in New York City for the superior educational opportunities there, both academic and artistic. His mother ran a boarding house to support herself and her children.
By day Adney was a full-scholarship student at Trinity School, one of the finest college-prep schools in the country. At night he attended classes at the Art Students League (ASL), where he honed his skills as a fine artist. The ASL instructors were all working artists whose names read like a list from Who’s Who in American art.
Between 1890 and 1906 Adney lived in New York City, working as a freelance writer and illustrator for outdoor-adventure magazines. His work was published in Harper’s Weekly, Collier’s Weekly, Harper’s Young People, Saint Nicholas, Outing, and Our Animal Friends.
Harper’s Weekly, the most popular news magazine of its day, hired Adney to cover the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-98. He spent 16 months there enduring sub-zero temperatures and a brush with death from illness. His dispatches and photos for Harper’s became the basis for his book, The Klondike Stampede, published in 1900 and considered the best work on the subject written by someone who was actually there.
Adney was commissioned to carve a series of thirty-six coats-of-arms for the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in Quebec City during an expansion of the hotel in 1926. The carvings, depicting the coats-of-arms of all the French and British governors from 1604 to 1926, are still there in the Champlain Dining Room of the hotel.
Adney’s First Watercolor from nature, 1883, age 15. Painted for entrance qualification at Art Students League.
The Moose Call, 1902
In 1895 he created more than 100 pen-and-ink drawings for Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America, a field guide for birders that remained popular in the U.S. andCanada into the 1920s.
Chateau Frontenac Hotel