Frances Alder Elkins Collection

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Frances Adler Elkins

by Denise Sallee, MPC Library Archivist

Wonder what is happening in the archives?  Processing of The Frances Adler Elkins Collection, including records kept by her assistant Nell Currie (1904-1986) is now underway.

The Monterey Peninsula College Library Archives & Special Collections Department extends their appreciation to the Monterey Peninsula College Foundation and the Thomas Doud, Sr. and Anita M. Doud Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County for their generous support of this special project. 

FrancesElkinsNYT- (1)

Photograph from the New York Times



Frances Adler Elkins (1888-1953)

Photograph from Architectural Digest
Frances Adler Elkins was one of the most celebrated and influential American interior designers of the early-to-mid twentieth century. She made her home in the historic Monterey adobe Casa Amesti  and conducted her design business from other locations in Monterey. Her first commissions were for residential designs for friends and social acquaintances, but she later obtained important commercial work including hotels and retail stores. Elkins was known for her innovative style that drew from elements of both traditional and contemporary design. Her work, especially in California, was groundbreaking and continues to influence designers of today.


Elkins was the sister of  noted Chicago architect, David Adler (1882-1949). They worked together on over a dozen  large homes in California, Illinois, New York and elsewhere.

In 1930 Elkins was commissioned by Del Monte Properties to do some renovations at the Hotel Del Monte in Monterey.


Hotel del Monte letter 1930  Hotel del Monte drawing exterior small
Click on image above for larger version.

The famous Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki beach hired Elkins to refurbish the hotel following World War II

Royal Hawaiin drawing interior  Royal Hawaiin photo interior
Click on image above for larger version.

In 1931 Elkins worked with her brother on the Nassau County, New York, home of Mrs. Evelyn Marshall Field. Below is a detail from one of the blueprints in the collection showing the dining room mirror.

Elkins mirror Field's NY House

All images, except as otherwise noted, are from The Frances Adler Elkins Collection.