Frank Waterman Stearns


William McGregor Paxton (1869–1941)




Oil on canvas


36 x 30 in. (91.4 x 76.2 cm)


Frank Stearns (1856–1939) was a son of Richard Hall Stearns, founder in 1847 of the R. H. Stearns Company, a department store and dry-goods concern in Boston, and Louisa Maria (Waterman) Stearns. After graduating from Amherst College in 1878, Frank Stearns worked for his father’s company: he became a partner in the firm in 1881 and chairman of its board in 1919. He married in 1880 to Emily Williston Clark, with whom he had three children. He was a friend and long-time political supporter of his fellow Amherst graduate Calvin Coolidge, and after Coolidge’s election to the United States presidency in 1923, became one of his closest advisors. Stearns died in Boston.

This portrait, which retains its original frame, appears to have been commissioned from Paxton by the R. H. Stearns Company on the occasion of the sitter’s eightieth birthday. A second, but not identical, portrait of Stearns by Paxton is in the collection of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston

Credit Line

Gift of A. Everette James, in honor of Laurence L. Ribbins, M. D., 1985

Object Number