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Adams, Capt. Edward E. | Albright, Lt. Frank P.

Adams, Capt. Edward E.  

Major, U.S. Army, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA)

Edward Everett Adams’ background as an interior architect gave him the experience necessary to successfully request an assignment with the MFAA Section of the United States Military Government, European Theater of Operations in August 1945. He said the reason he wanted to join the recovery effort was because “… the restitution of cultural art treasures to our allies promised to be an inspiring means of getting started on the way to reconstruction.”[1]

During the winter of the same year, Adams was promoted to Director of the MFAA Evacuation Team for upper Bavaria. There he arranged transportation for thousands of looted French works of art from the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) repository at Neuschwanstein castle and the monastery at nearby Buxheim. All identifiable artwork was transported directly back to France, while the questionable items were sent to the Central Collecting Point in Munich for more research. Adam’s article “Looted Treasures Go Back to France” describes the overwhelming process of packing and transporting thousands of objects, while struggling with a shortage of manpower, supplies and security.[2] In agreement with his fellow MFAA officers, Adams opposed the transfer of 202 German-owned paintings to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. for “safekeeping.” He composed a letter in late 1945 expressing his support of the Wiesbaden Manifesto, a document signed by approximately thirty MFAA officers in November, which protested the U.S. government action.

Adams’ postwar activities are largely unknown, however, after returning to the United States in 1946, he was employed with Steton and Adams Consulting Decorators in Washington, D.C. In 1982, Adams donated his papers to the National Gallery of Art and lived in Southern Pines, North Carolina until his death on June 6, 1994.

[1] Major Edward E. Adams, Q.M.C., “Looted Treasures Go Back to France,” The Quartermaster Review (Sept.-Oct. 1946). Article is online at The U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum,
[2] Ibid.


Copyrighted by Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art