Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation

Protecting and Preserving All Life -- By Extending Human Vision

Letter sent to the Adams Family
Delivered early August 2008

The letter below was handed an employee of the Best Studio, now known as the Ansel Adams Gallery, by Fred Smart shortly after August 1, 2008.  Fred offered to deliver the letter for me because he was on his way to Yosemite.   As you see, it is addressed to the Adams Family as a whole since they continued the ongoing conspiracy to cover-up Ansel's act of arson and have profited from that act.  All individuals who profited must be included as these profits are ill-gotten gains.  

​I never heard from them but have let them know over the last decade I had promised Dad, Dr. Arthur F. Pillsbury, to resolve the matter.  This site is here to document the facts and restore to public understanding the legacy of Arthur C. Pillsbury

Adams Family c/o
The Ansel Adams Gallery
Village Mall
Yosemite, CA 95389
re: Truth and Reconciliation

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dear Adams Family,
You most likely expected to hear from me directly long ago but there was much to consider. I am writing now to lay out how you can set the record straight about my Grandfather, Arthur C. Pillsbury and Ansel Adams. It is better that this come from you but either way it will happen within days. 

As you know on a cold day in November, 1927 Ansel burned my Grandfather's studio in Yosemite to the ground.  After setting the fire Ansel took with him a large body of work for study.  You are most likely aware that we have irrefutable proof of Ansel's mistake. As you also know Ansel in his later years was not at all tight lipped about what he did that night. This letter is an offer of reconciliation between our families, providing the truth to everyone. 

My request costs Ansel's body of work nothing. It is simply a request for a written acknowledgment by the Adams family to the facts surrounding the events of that unfortunate fire and reparations to rebuild my Grandfather's Studio in Yosemite from the Ansel Adam's Estate.

This request has nothing to do with the body of work that Ansel Adams produced. His work product stands on its merits. However, Arthur Clarence Pillsbury's work deserves recognition long denied. Arthur Clarence's focus was different. While he was a great photographer his career focused not on photography as art but on the use of the technology to widen the body of human knowledge.  Much of the direction for human advancement today has its roots in his developments.   

I had refrained from carrying out my father's dying wish regarding his father's legacy until now.  How the truth is told will matter and the least damage to Ansel's legacy will be caused if the admission comes from you. However, the time has come for the truth to be given to the general public and for debts to be paid.

The reality is that I do not have to come to the Adams Family at all to make public the events of that night. Affidavits, eyewitness accounts of the fire, Ansel leaving the Pillsbury's Yosemite Studio in flames with multiple parcels and my grandfather's body of work that somehow survived the fire reappearing in Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere after my Grandfather's death are sufficient to prove the point. The story is so compelling that we are now entertaining a major studio's idea to document and dramatize the facts surrounding the events.

Attached to this letter is provided is a proposed settlement offer and a biography of Arthur Clarence Pillsbury.
My family has waited patiently for you to contact us and we are extending our olive branch to you to resolve the matter the way my Grandfather and Father, men of compassion, rectitude and peace, would have preferred.

We are making decisions now that will determine how we tell the story about Arthur Clarence Pillsbury and his helper, Ansel Adams that require your response to me by August 15th 2008.  

I hope we can preserve the names and reputations of two great men.


Melinda Pillsbury-Foster