Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



Henry Cady Wells was given all the cultural and educational advantages that a child of one of America’s wealthiest families could receive. The third son of Channing McGregory Wells and Irene Kelly Wells, he was born in Southbridge, Massachusetts on November 15, 1904. His father had succeeded his grandfather as president of the American Optical Company and head of the family. The boy, always called Cady rather than Henry, began attending a series of boarding schools with entry at age eight into the Fay School in Southborough. Four years there were followed by shorter periods at other Massachusetts institutions: Fessenden School, Groton School, and Milton Academy. Wells was not especially successful at this formal schooling but did develop an interest in music and art which led relatives and friends to fear that he was a "sissy". Therefore, in 1922 a summer in Wyoming at the Valley Ranch along the Yellowstone River was arranged to give him a taste of hard, adventurous living in the out-of-doors. The clear air and untamed country appealed to the boy. An experience designed to increase his interest in manly avocations directed Wells' attention to the western landscape, a subject that was to occupy him as an artist during most of his life. This summer in Wyoming so excited Wells that he asked to study in the West and was sent to the Evans School in Tucson, Arizona for the following school year of 1922-23. After an additional year of study at Milton Academy during 1923-24 he returned to Tucson as a student in 1924, and later in 1926 and 1929 as an administrative assistant at the Evans School.



Document Type


Degree Name


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

VanDeren Coke

Second Committee Member

Bainbridge Bunting

Third Committee Member

Douglas R. George

Fourth Committee Member

Paul B. Davis