Female, US, born 11/07/1888, died 08/26/1953

Associated with the firms network

Adler and Dangler, Architects; Elkins, Frances Adler, Interior Designer

Professional History

Elkins was one of the most celebrated American interior designers of the early-to-mid twentieth century and sister of the renowned Chicago architect, David Adler (1882-1949), with whom she collaborated on about 15 large houses, (particularly after 1930) in CA, IL, and elsewhere; David Adler produced designs for about 45 large-scale residences during his career. Elkins made her home in Monterey, CA; she worked with the interior designer, Jean-Michel Frank and the sculptor, Alberto Giacometti, who produced fixtures for her commissions. Her first commissions were for residential designs for friends and social acquaintances, but she later obtained larger scale commercial work including hotels and retail stores.


Born in Milwaukee, WI, Frances Adler Elkins did not attend college. She accompanied her brother on tours of Europe, where she developed an eye for art and interior design. She died in San Francisco, CA, at the age of 64.

Frances Adler married Felton Broomall Elkins (1889-1944), a polo player, painter and playwright. From a socially prominent Philadelphia family, he studied at Harvard University and the San Francisco Institute of Art (1910-1911). His parents were William L. Elkins, Jr., and Katherine Felton, a daughter of Charles Norton Felton (1832-1914), a US Congressman and Senator representing CA. Felton B. Elkins's grandfather, William L. Elkins, Sr. (1832-1903), developed a large fortune first in the grocery business, then in oil production and later street car companies and electric utilities. Elkins and Adler married in 1917 and divorced in the early 1920s. Following the divorce, Felton Elkins married twice more by 1924 and made his home in San Mateo, CA. Frances turned to interior design, as did several society women who found themselves divorced, to earn a living for herself and her three children. Her work proved to be some of the most sophisticated of the era, eclectically combining antique, revivalistic and modern elements in her interiors. Her client list eventually included blue-blood members of the social elite as well as moneyed Hollywood movie stars and producers.

Frances Adler and Felton B. Elkins had three children: Frances Adler Elkins, Katherine F. Elkins Boyd and Charles W. Elkins.

PCAD id: 1108