Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation

Protecting and Preserving All Life -- By Extending Human Vision

Virginia Rose Best Adams

Virginia was born in Yosemite and grew up with the belief she was special; that her father was a great artist, and she was destined for greatness.  Her early years were filled with frustrations as the children of other concessionaires had more resources but her hopes remained, fired by time in Europe as her father, Harry Best, worked to build a career as an artist.  

Her mother, Sarah Anne Rippey, died in 1920 when Virginia was 16. 

Mother:  Sarah Anne Rippey was born 1879 in Pennsylvania to William J Rippey, born in Ireland around 1841, and Harriet V Harrison, born around 1841 in Iowa.

Sarah Anne is found with her parents and siblings in 1880, living in Robinson, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.[1]
In 1900 Sarah Anne is living as a boarder with her mother in Precinct 22 Los Angeles city Ward 3, Los Angeles, California.

She married Harry Cassie Best 28 July 1901 at the base of Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite.




                                          Virginia's life at the Best Studio

Virginia Best in the meadow behind the Pillsbury Studio, around 1914.  

 Virginia knew that Arthur, the son of Arthur C. Pillsbury, who occasionally hired her to work alongside other young people at the Pillsbury Studio, was expected to continue at the studio during college. Young Arthur planned to attend Stanford and bere he was 15 he was fixing cameras, developing film, taking professionally polished photos, and providing graphics to be used in the printing for products sold to tourists.  
Young Arthur just took this for granted.  He enjoyed the time spent with the college students from Berkeley and Stanford who accumulated at the Studio during the summers.  It was like a school for those who worked there.  And many of the hopeful young photographers who took the workshops offered by AC.  The workshops began by 1916 and grew in popularity.  Ansel