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Henry Carter Adams
The Michigan Alumnus 12


In the death of Professor Henry 
Carter Adams which occured August
 11th, the University has lost one of its
 outstanding and well loved personalities. 
 Professor Adams was sustained through-
out the months of his illness by the 
hope that he might return to his work in 
which he was so engrossed. Rut long
 years of constant and unselfish labor had
 weakened his vitality and his reserve
 force, though even to the last he was oc
cupied to the limit of his failing strength. 

Professor Adams had been a member 
of the Faculty since 1881 when he came
 as lecturer in the comparatively new sci
ence of economics. In 1887 he became 
head of the newly created department and
 since then he has made his home contin
ually in Ann Arbor save for brief in
tervals when he was engaged upon larger 
tasks at the call of the Government, and 
his two years in China, where he served 
as advisor for the Chinese Government 
in working out for them a system of ac-
counting adapted to the Chinese system
 of railroads.

During his years with the University 
the study of economics has come into its
 own as one of the major branches of a 
modern college curriculum, and in that
 development he has had a leading place. 
For him economics was more than a
 study of data and statistics; he saw it 
as the very bone and sinews of our na
tional life and it was this broad philoso
phical view he imparted with extraordin
ary success to the thousands of students 
who have been his admirers. In his pre
sentation of his subject he was tolerant, 
kindly and withal intensely human in his
 relations with his students, a quality 
which added not a little to his success as 
a teacher. 

For twenty-five years Professor 
Adams was statistician for the Interstate 
Commerce Commission and for the last 
six years before his resignation in 1911, 
he was in charge of the commission's
 division of statistics. When he entered 
upon his duties in 1887, appointed by the 
late Judge Cooley, he was the only 
statistician. When he retired there were 
250. He was one of the first to call 
attention to the importance of intangible
 values in appraising public utilities and
 was largely responsible for the system
 of accounting now in operation on Amer
ican railroads. It was this particular in
terest in the problems of transportation 
that gave him specific tasks, aside from 
his work in China, as chief of the Division of Transportation in the Eleventh
 United States census 1889-1891 and, in 
co-operation with Dean M. E. Cooley, as 
appraiser of the railway properties of 

Professor Adams was graduated from 
the University of Iowa in 1874, where he 
received an honorary LL.D. in 1897. Following years of graduate study at 
Johns Hopkins, where he received his Ph.
D. in 1878, he became a lecturer on poli
ticial economy at Cornell and John Hop
kins as well as at the University of
 Michigan. He has published many books 
including "Public Debts, an Essay in the
 Science of Finance," (1887), which was 
later translated into the Japanese lan
guage, and "The Science of Finance, an 
Investigation of Public Expenditures 
and Public Revenues." (1898). 

Professor Adams was born in Davenport, Iowa, December 31, 1851. He was
 married in 1890 to Miss Bertha Wright
 of Port Huron, who survives him, to
gether with three sons, Henry Carter
 Adams Jr., '13, now with the Internation
al Mercantile Marine, New York City; 
Dr. Theodore W. Adams, '20111, now on 
the staff of Doctor Reuben Peterson, and
 Thomas H. Adams, a senior in the Uni