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John Stevens Shop / Apprentices Materials

Identifier: ABC-05-JSS


These materials cover the John Stevens Shop, from its humble beginnings in Newport to its national presence. The collection spans most of the 21st century, though the bulk of the materials fall between 1935-1997. It includes correspondence, publications, pamphlets, newspapers, newsletters, other writings both by and about the John Stevens Shop and John Howard Benson, and some of Bethune’s apprentice's artwork. This series contains both personal materials illustrating Ade’s relationship with John Howard Benson and the JSS aprentices as well as more generic materials relating to the shop in general. Items of particular note include original correspondence between Bethune and her apprentices, some of the correspondence she held with JSS apprentices, especially Tom Drain, Mary Cotton Finnegan and Mabel Livingston. Correspondence, booklets, newspaper articles, sketches and plans.


  • 1935 - 1997


Biographical Sketch

Ade Bethune was born in Brussels, Belgium on January 12, 1914. After World War I her family immigrated to the United States, settling in New York City in 1928. She attended Cathedral High School in New York and later the National Academy of Design. Raised by progressive Catholic parents, from her earliest girlhood she was a devout Catholic who soon developed a strong feeling of social consciousness.

In 1934 Bethune met Dorothy Day. She had heard about the work the Catholic Worker was doing with the poor and also saw their newspaper, to which she contributed several black and white ink drawings. She immediately found in Day a lifelong friend and mentor who gave her an outlet for her feelings about social justice. Bethune's work for the Catholic Worker was very influential and the designs she did for it helped launch her artistic career.

Graham Carey, an active member of the Catholic Worker movement, also became a mentor and close friend to Ade Bethune. Carey introduced her to John Howard Benson, who owned the John Stevens Shop in Newport, Rhode Island, founded by stonecutter and mason John Stevens in the early eighteenth century. Carey had recently become a partner in the shop; Bethune would later join as a third partner in 1949. Ade Bethune began spending part of the year at the shop where she learned stone and woodcarving and calligraphy from Benson. In 1938 she left New York to live in Newport permanently, settling at first into the second floor workshop of the John Stevens Shop.

Together, John Howard Benson, Graham Carey, and Ade Bethune formed "John Stevens University," a workshop where students could learn from master craftsmen. Benson acted as president, with the name Ike O’Noglyphos (based on the Greek for "carver of images") and Carey became the dean, with his nickname of Felix Q. Potwit from the latin Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas (“Happy is he who knows the causes of things”). Bethune was known as the doctor for having written many articles. Besides these three, photographer W. King Covell also served on the faculty. The first students, Mary Krenzer and Mary Katherine Finegan, arrived in December 1939 to study with Ade Bethune. Others followed, including Canadian Patricia Ling. Even after Ade Bethune purchased her own house and left the John Stevens Shop she continued to take on apprentices. Those with whom she built particularly strong relationships include Tom Drain, Becca Janes, and David Meckelberg.

Ade Bethune was to continue working with apprentices for the rest of her life, although they were to become paid assistants rather than volunteers. She died in Newport on May 1, 2002.


1.67 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection includes articles of partnership and everyday business materials about the John Stevens Shop in Newport, RI., as well as booklets published by the John Stevens Shop and articles about the shop's history. Also documented are Ade Bethune's work in the shop and the apprentices she mentored both during her time there and afterwards.


The materials are organized into 2 series. Series 1 contains materials related to the John Stevens Shop itself and Series 2 contains files for many of Ade Bethune's apprentices.

The materials are organized into 2 series, with the first series containing several subseries.

Missing Title

Articles of Partnership
Business Materials
Printed Materials

Missing Title


Ade Bethune donated her collection of personal and business correspondence, manuscripts, art, sketches, and books to the College of Saint Catherine (now St. Catherine University) over the period 1984-2002.

Other Materials

The extensive correspondence between Ade Bethune and Graham Carey is found in the Personal Correspondence collection of the Ade Bethune Papers.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Courtney Wyant, April/May 2010.


Guide to the John Stevens Shop / Apprentices Materials Ade Bethune Papers
Under Revision
Courtney Wyant, MLIS Student
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the St. Catherine University Special Collections Repository

St. Catherine University
Archives and Special Collections
2004 Randolph Avenue
St. Paul MN 55105 U.S.A.