Henry Carter Adams

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Henry Carter Adams
Henry Carter Adams.png
Born(1851-12-31)December 31, 1851
DiedAugust 11, 1921(1921-08-11) (aged 69)
Known forStudies about economics, especially public debts

Henry Carter Adams (December 31, 1851 – August 11, 1921) was a U.S. economist and Professor of Political Economy and finance at the University of Michigan.[1][2]


Adams was born in Davenport, Iowa to Elizabeth Douglass and Ephraim Adams, a missionary of the "Iowa Band" from New England. He graduated from Iowa College, now called Grinnell College, which was co-founded by his father.[3] He went to Andover Theological School, then studied in Heidelberg and Berlin for two years, before he went to Johns Hopkins University, where he made Ph.D. in 1878. Adams' degree was one of the first four PhDs to be awarded by Hopkins, which opened in 1876.[4][5] In 1890, he married Bertha Wright and they had three sons, Henry C. Adams, Jr., Theodore W. Adams, and Thomas H. Adams.[6]

Adams became a lecturer at the Johns Hopkins University from 1880 to 1882. He was afterwards a lecturer in Cornell University. While at Cornell, he delivered an address on "The Labor Problem," which resulted in his dismissal from the Cornell faculty when a critic accused him of "sapping the foundations of our society."[7] He also became statistician to the Interstate Commerce Committee and was in charge of the transportation department in the 1900 census. In 1887, he became professor of political economy and finance at the University of Michigan, and taught there until 1921, becoming head of the newly created Department of Economics in his first year at Michigan. "For him economics was more than a study of data and statistics; he saw it as the very bone and sinews of our national life...."[8] At Michigan, he also worked with John Dewey.

Adams died in 1921 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[9]


  • The State in Relation to Industrial Action (1887)
  • Taxation in the United States, 1787 to 1816 (1884)
  • Public Debts (1887)
  • Relation of the States to Industrial Action (1887)
  • Relation of American Municipalities to Quasi-Public Works (1888)
  • The Science of Finance (1888)
  • Economics and Jurisprudence (1897)
  • Description of Industry: An Introduction to Economics (1918)


  1. ^ Data and picture
  2. ^ First page of extensive biography
  3. ^ Eisenach, Eldon J. The Social and Political Thought of American Progressivism. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  4. ^ https://jscholarship.library.jhu.edu/bitstream/handle/1774.2/36866/commencement1878-re-creation.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
  5. ^ French, John C. (1946). A History of the University Founded by Johns Hopkins. Baltimore: JHU Press. p. 340.
  6. ^ https://www.lib.umich.edu/faculty-history/faculty/henry-carter-adams/memorial
  7. ^ https://www.lib.umich.edu/faculty-history/faculty/henry-carter-adams/memorial-0
  8. ^ https://www.lib.umich.edu/faculty-history/faculty/henry-carter-adams/memorial
  9. ^ https://www.lib.umich.edu/faculty-history/faculty/henry-carter-adams/memorial


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