In Memoriam: Anthropologist and Art Historian Monni Adams dies at 93

Monni Adams with one of her masks (personal collection). Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Noted Scholar of African and Oceanic art, Monni Adams died December 24, 2014. Born Jeanne Marie Adams, she taught anthropology and art history at Harvard University in the mid-1970s and was curator and research associate at the Peabody Museum thereafter.  She received her Master’s and Ph.D. degree from Columbia University (1963, 1967), and prior to coming to Harvard and the Peabody, she taught at Columbia and MIT. Monni curated exhibitions at the Peabody and the Carpenter center and published several monographs monographs including System and Meaning in East Sumba Textile Design: a Study in Traditional Indonesian Art (1969) and Designs for Living: Symbolic Communication in African Art (1982) and dozens of articles and reviews. Her last paper was published in African Arts at age 91. Energetic, engaging, and social, Monni was a well-known and active figure at Harvard and in the Boston area; she will be missed.