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Edwin Tappan Adney (1868-1950) was born in Athens, Ohio, son of a professor of natural history and his Canadian wife. Tappan attended Ohio University and the Art Students League in New York City.
As a young man, Tappan Adney spent time in Woodstock, New Brunswick, his mother's hometown. He became interested in the First Nations people of the area, especially the Maliseet, learning Indian language, customs, and the art of canoemaking. He continued to study the archaeology and ethnology of the area. Over a period of 40 years, Adney constructed many model bark canoes, which he later donated to the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
As a correspondent for "Harper's Weekly" and the "London Chronicle" he went to the Klondike during the 1898 gold rush, trekking over the mountains to Dawson. He kept a diary of this journey, took photographs and sketched for his articles which were later published as a book.
In 1916, Tappan Adney joined the Royal Canadian Engineers and became a Canadian citizen in 1917. He taught at the Royal Military College at Saint Jean, Quebec. When he returned to civilian life he developed and interest in heraldry and his designs for armorials and shields are found across Canada.
He had a life-long interest in the flora and fauna of New Brunswick and kept records of natural history. Another interest was fruit growing, apples in particular. He kept detailed notes on apple varieties and was active in the Carleton Fruit Growers Association.
Tappan Adney was predeceased by his wife, the former Minnie Bell Sharp, daughter of horticulturalist Francis Peabody Sharp of Upper Woodstock. He was survived by a son, Glen, of New York.
MacDonald, Colin S., A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume 1, A-F