Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation

Protecting and Preserving All Life -- By Extending Human Vision

Anne Adams Mayhew Helms

Anne Adams Mayhew Helms was the second and last child of Virginia Best Adams and Ansel Adams. 

Virginia and Ansel were drawn together by their mutual need for future income and economic advantage when they married on January 2, 1928 during a Yosemite winter in the family quarters of the Best Studio in Yosemite.  

The wedding took place less than two months after Ansel, who had been the janitor for the Pillsbury Studio which was only a few steps from the Best Studio in New Village, burned the room where the massive collection of Pillsbury negatives were kept after he stole most or all of these, secreting them at the Best Studio.

All members of the Adams family remain complicit in a decades long-scheme to displace the life and legacy of Arthur C. Pillsbury.  All have profited from these acts.    

Anne Adams Helms

Their incomes, reputations, and continued positions in life, depend on continuing these deceptions.  It is surpassingly difficult to tell the truth when everything in your life depends on perpetuating lies.  

From "Once Upon a Time" an article about Anne Adams Helms.  "
''Sometimes we called him Pops or whatever, but usually my brother and I just called him Ansel,'' says Helms, whose Salinas home is decorated with her late father's photos. ''It wasn't meant to be disrespectful -- not at all. We loved him, but he really wasn't a daddy-ish kind of person. There weren't any family vacations to Disneyland or anything like that. He was gone more than he was home, but life was always noisier and more exciting when he was around.''

Her mother, Virginia Best Adams, a longtime Sierra Board member like her father, ran the Yosemite gallery that doubled as the family's home. When visitors bought the book, Helms and her brother received requests for autographs. ''We'd be sent for, and we'd write To Johnny from Michael and Anne,'' she says. ''It was flattering, but it brought us in from whatever we were doing. I guess I didn't appreciate the fact that somebody who was going to be very famous in the future took all these pictures of us.''

Making the right decisions for our own lives and for the future, depends on having the truth.  The truth needs to be told and justice done.

How lies are perpetuated.  
   As individuals we are accustoned to accepting what we read and hear in the media as fact.  This makes us vulnerable to accepting lies in place of real history.    Read this ongoing story.   What did each of these individuals know, and if they did, when did they know it?  These are questions to be answered.  It takes courage to tell the truth, but telling is also healing and is the basis of reconciliation.

Dennis L. Taylor has reported on diverse issues for three decades in the San Francisco and Monterey bay areas, including 10 years in the Silicon Valley business press covering venture capital and technology investments.

Dennis L. Taylor