Annette Stevens Rada

Annette Stevens Rada (1910–1975) was working in the textile business in 1939 and was a childhood friend of Marjorie Kieve. Lefranc too designed textiles and worked with French dye masters for five years to become a colorist, including at Malinson’s Silks, the largest and most prestigious silk manufacturing as well as with Gilman Fabrics. Lefranc and Rada’s friendship came through their connection with Kieve. 

Photography became Annette’s life’s labor after she married Rudolf Rada, a Hungarian photographer. They opened and jointly ran Rada Photography in Miami. Their photographs appeared in many major newspapers and magazines and were known specifically for their excellence in architectural photography. The couple took trips including to Cuba and South America. The photographs, a gift of Lefranc, is housed in the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, Rudi and Annette Rada Collection. 

That same year, after Rada broke her ankle and could not work, she and Lefranc set out to see America, the land of her birth with Annette tagging along, an epic round the country journey. Driving first down to Florida to see Lefranc’s parents in Miami, they drove on to see the Everglades, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. 

At Taos, they rented Frieda Lawrence’s adobe where they met W. H. Auden, English poet, and his young pupil, Chester Kallman. They all travelled then to Arizona where they witnessed the majesty of the Grand Canyon, on to Boulder Dam, to Las Vegas, Barstow, Victorville to Santa Anita. There Auden and Kallman met Christopher Isherwood. The plan to all travel to Carmel to visit Robinson Jeffers (which Auden and Kallman did) failed when Lefranc ended in the hospital in southern California with a re-injury to her shoulder. 

When Rada and Lefranc did make it north to San Francisco, the Golden Gate International Exposition, a World’s Fair for two years, was in full celebration. Maria and Julian were producing their black on black pottery in a pueblo setting, which fascinated Lefranc. They met Frederick H. Douglas, then Curator at the Denver Art Museum and Alice Lee Marriott who were responsible for the comprehensive exhibit of past and present Indian life of the entire United States. Years later, Lefranc, Douglas, and Marriott became fast friends. Across the country, Lefranc and Rada drove all the way back to New York. 

While Lefranc was alternately living in New Mexico and Oklahoma, the Radas moved to Miami and became close to Lefranc’s elderly parents. They became the liaison to Margaret. Annette Stevens Rada took many beautiful portraits of Margaret that chronicle various times of her life.

 

Bereft after the death of her husband, Rada took her own life, rather than go on alone.