Water Resource Collections and Archives


Frank Adams, 1875-1967

Frank Adams, 1875-1967

Frank Adams was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 19, 1875. He attended Cogswell High School in San Francisco until 1892, when his family moved from San Francisco to a farm near the Santa Cruz Mountains. He entered Stanford University in 1896 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1901. In 1906, he received his master's degree from the University of Nebraska.

Adams worked as a field investigator for the U.S. Office of Experiment Stations in Washington, D.C. for several years between his Stanford and Nebraska degrees. From 1906 to 1910 he worked with his brother in a successful lighting-fixture venture. In 1910 Adams again became affiliated with the Office of Experiment stations, through which he had a great deal of contact with the University of California. In 1916, he received an official appointment with the University of California as the head of the Division of Irrigation Investigations and Practice in the College of Agriculture, a position he held for 29 years.

Adams also served as an irrigation economist for the California Agricultural Experiment Station and the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. From 1926 to 1940 he served as a consulting engineer and economist for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and in 1927 went to Palestine as a member of the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Colonization. In 1928, Adams was an advisor to the International Water Commission for the United States and Mexico, and also advised the National Resources Committee in the Rio Grande Joint Investigation. He retired from UC in 1945 and in 1947 received the John Deere Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in agriculture, given by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

In 1949, the University of California awarded Adams with an honorary doctorate in laws and letters. At that time, University of California president Robert Gordon Sproul described Adams as a "pioneer in the application of engineering and economics to the problems of agriculture."

In 1959, Adams' oral history, Frank Adams, University of California, on Irrigation, Reclamation, and Water Administration, was published by the Regional Cultural History Project, General Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Frank Adams was a distinguished professor of irrigation and an international consultant on agriculture, who was key to the development, distribution, and use of water in the West. He died on January 26, 1967 at the age of 91.

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Frank Adams Papers, 1889-1962 ca. 16 linear ft. (35 boxes)

Reports, reprints, correspondence, clippings, and notes, concerning water, irrigation, and land settlement projects in California, the Western States, and Palestine; drafts of legislation pertaining to water, water rights, and irrigation districts; minutes of meetings of various sections of the Commonwealth Club of California; historical and statistical data on California irrigation districts; and, extensive information on University of California Irrigation Investigations in California.

Finding Aid: Library has unpublished subject index to individual items. Note: There are no items numbered: 75, 159, 166, 187, 192, 211, 243, 412, 470, or 491.

Online collection guide available via the Online Archive of California.

Call number: ADAMS

Last modified: 5/4/2011 11:46 AM by S. Haren

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