Signed Ansel Adams print donated to Stout University Foundation

August 12, 2014

In September 1967, a rather short man with a white beard, black glasses, felt hat and off-center nose walked around University of Wisconsin-Stout and Menomonie, making some photographs and talking about the art of photography.

The man was on campus at the request of David Barnard, who taught graphic arts. Barnard thought his colleagues and students could learn a thing or two from the photographer.

Could they ever. The man was Ansel Easton Adams, one of America's most famous photographers who is known for his iconic images in Yosemite and the West.

The Ansel Adams printBarnard, who would go on to serve as dean of Learning Resources, which included the library, from 1970 to 1987,had arranged for Adams to travel to Wisconsin from his California home.  

As a byproduct of the visit, Barnard went to Adams' house in 1968 in California while on a trip and purchased a print . His choice was "Mount Williamson, Sierra Nevada from Manzanar, California," more commonly known as "Mount Williamson — Clearing Storm."

Manzanar was the location of a Japanese internment camp operated during WWII. Adams shot the photo, considered among his best-known, in 1944.

The family of Barnard, who died June 6 at age 92, has donated the print to Stout University Foundation. The donation came at a memorial service for Barnard Aug. 2 in Menomonie.

"We are honored to receive this marvelous gift of the Mount Williamson print signed by the renowned artist Ansel Adams from the David P. and Kathleen M. Barnard Trust," said Mark Parsons, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Marketing.

"This gift to the Foundation will be on loan to the university and displayed in the Robert S. Swanson Library Learning Center in accordance with the wishes of the donor through the David P. Barnard Family Library Endowment.

"This is a remarkable legacy gift, and we are greatly appreciative to the Barnard family for their generosity and commitment to UW-Stout and the Stout University Foundation," Parsons added.

The print was donated at a campus event."This print has meant a lot to my family over the years," said Kay Barnard, David's wife. "UW-Stout also has meant a lot to my family. So it only made sense to bring the print and university together."

David Barnard had invited Adams to be the main presenter at the summer 1967 Educational Media and Technology Conference at UW-Stout. Barnard had asked the previous main presenter who knew Adams to help with request. Adams agreed to come but had to cancel because of an illness. That resulted in Adams coming later in 1967.

Barnard picked Adams up at the airport in Minneapolis to bring him to Menomonie.

In a memoir of that trip, Barnard wrote, "He was easy to recognize with his big boots and large western hat, which shaded his familiar beard. We had an interesting conversation on the 70-mile drive to Menomonie."

Adams gave a lecture Sept. 20, 1967, on "Professional Photography and Its Meaning." He also showed slides.

David and Kay Barnard then hosted Adams and faculty and staff from the audio-visual department at a reception in their home. William "Bud" Micheels, UW-Stout president, also attended, along with wife Betty Micheels, a photography student.

"We had a room full of photographers," Barnard wrote, "yet no one took any photos nor was any of the conversation recorded."

The next day, Adams, using camera equipment borrowed from the university, gave a talk and demonstration to about 50 students and faculty at a nearby "old, ramshackle, deserted and decaying farm," Barnard wrote.

The day after, Barnard wrote, "Adams met with various interested individuals, and made some photographs on campus and around the city before we took him to the airport for his return flight."

A decision will be made later this month on the proper place to display the photograph in the UW-Stout library.

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Photo captions

Top: A signed Ansel Adams print of "Mount Williamson — Clearing Storm" has been donated to Stout University Foundation by the family of David Barnard, a former university employee.

Bottom: The Barnard family donated the print. Also on hand were Heather Stecklein, second from left, university archivist, and Mark Parsons, second from right, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Marketing. Photo by Craig Carmichael-Stoner.