Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Sponsor This Memorial! Advertisement
George Plimpton Adams, Sr
Learn about removing the ads from this memorial...
Birth: Oct. 7, 1882
Worcester County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Apr. 19, 1961
Alameda County
California, USA

Son of Edwin Augustus (Rev.) ADAMS 1838 1927 and
Caroline Amelia "Carrie" PLIMPTON 1842 1928

Married Mary Knowles WOODLE 1880 ; parents of:

George Plimpton ADAMS Jr 1909 1977 [married Evelyn Howell Yonker]
Cornelia Sheldon ADAMS 1911 (married unknown Lonnberg of France)
John Edwin (Dr.) ADAMS 1914 1999

George Plimpton Adams, Philosophy: Berkeley
1882-1961 Professor Emeritus

"As a scholar, George Plimpton Adams made his influence felt through more than fifty years in the development of philosophical thought. As a member of the faculty of the University of California he helped to develop strong faculties in many fields of study. As a member of important Senate Committees and as twice Dean of the College of Letters and Science (1917-1918 and 1943-1947) he was a leader in establishing wise and fair educational policies that are likely to continue to influence the University of California on its many campuses as long as it endures.

Born at Northboro, Massachusetts, on October 7, 1882, Adams was the sixth and youngest child and the second son of the Reverend Edwin Augustus Adams and Caroline Plimpton Adams. All six devoted their lives to careers in scholarship, science, or education, and none combined these interests more effectively than did the youngest brother. He had the good fortune to prepare for college at the Lewis Institute in Chicago (1897-1899) at a time when the distinguished founder of that school was actively developing his original and stimulating program. Thinking him too young for college, Adams' father then persuaded him to spend a year in a crafts school learning carpentry, a training that gave Adams a life-long hobby--indeed an art--from which he derived great satisfaction. He then proceeded to Harvard where its elective system, whatever may have been its faults, enabled Adams to study with some of the leading mathematicians, classical scholars, and biologists of the first years of our century, as well as with creative workers in philosophy and psychology like William James, Josiah Royce, George Santayana, and Hugo Muensterberg. Before taking the A.B. at Harvard in 1904, Adams interrupted his studies for a year to teach biology and psychology at the Lewis Institute. His first published paper was in the field of biology, entitled On the Negative and Positive Phototropism of the Earthworm Allolobophora Foetida (Sav.) as Determined by Light of Different Intensities.

Before taking the Ph.D. at Harvard in 1912, Adams returned to the Lewis Institute as Instructor in Psychology and Biology for the period 1906-1908, and there met Mary Knowles Woodle, a young instructor in English literature. He and Miss Woodle were married in 1908, and for just short of fifty-three years their home in Berkeley was a center for friendly meetings, for music, and for discussion with colleagues and students, and was made especially cheerful by the presence of children and grandchildren. Their eldest son, George Plimpton Adams, Jr., is Professor of Economics at Cornell University; their daughter, Cornelia Adams Lonnberg, is an accomplished musician; and their younger son, John Edwin Adams, is Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery at the San Francisco Medical Center of the University of California.

Professor Adams' intellectual interests were exceptionally broad. His earliest philosophical publications were critical interpretations of the work of Hegel in relation to fundamental problems of theology and religion. As his interests came to focus more and more on ethics, it was on ethics in the context of social, economic, and political theory and practice and in relation to the great traditions and the current directions of metaphysical and epistemological inquiry. Whether one considers his major books (Idealism and the Modern Age, 1919, and Man and Metaphysics, 1948), or his long series of studies published from 1910 through 1957 in the University of California Publications in Philosophy, one finds all of Adams' work distinguished by the imaginative but critical appreciation of wide contexts of experience and of theoretical construction, which he brought to focus in an illuminating way upon every specific issue that he examined. The importance of his philosophical work was emphasized by his election as Faculty Research Lecturer in 1932, as Messenger Lecturer at Cornell in 1939, as Woodbridge Lecturer at Columbia in 1946, and by an invitation to the Carus Lectureship which he was unfortunately unable to accept.

Professor Adams gave generously of his time and thought to the development of a strong and balanced Department of Philosophy, not only during the eleven years he served as its Chairman (1924-1935), but throughout his fifty-three years as a member of the Department (Instructor, 1908-1909; Assistant Professor, 1909-1912; Associate Professor, 1912-1918; Professor, 1918-1932; Mills Professor of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy and Civil Polity, 1932-1954; and Emeritus from 1954 until his death on April 19, 1961). For many years he served as one of the editors of the University of California Publications in Philosophy and also of the scholarly periodical, Ethics, published at the University of Chicago. With the late William P. Montague of Columbia, he edited Contemporary American Philosophy: Personal Statements, 2 vols., 1930, a work in which his own contribution was clearly one of the most significant. But Adams' service to the University was by no means confined to his own field. On scores of appointment committees he worked to find and bring able scholars to the University in a dozen fields of study. As member or chairman of the Senate's most important committees and as Vice-Chairman of the Senate, he helped to formulate principles defining the responsibilities and freedom of scholars, to advise successive Presidents on the most fundamental questions of educational and fiscal policy, and to guide the development of the University's younger campuses, such as that at Santa Barbara. To mention a single example chosen from many: as a member of the Committee on Budget during the depression of 1929-1933, Professor Adams was one of those who established the policy of graduated salary cuts for all, as against the common practice of dismissing non-tenure faculty members, as the proper way to meet reduced University income, a policy that won heightened respect for California in the academic world. The University expressed its appreciation of Adams' distinguished service by the award of its Doctorate of Laws in 1954.

Colleagues remember Professor Adams with admiration and gratitude for the magnificent work here barely sketched. But many will also treasure the memory of seeing him perched with his son on the ridge-pole of the cabin they were building on the shore of Lake Tahoe, or fashioning beautiful and useful objects in wood in his shop, or playing works of Brahms or Beethoven on his cello. Professor Adams lived in no ivory tower of purely theoretical activity. Altogether, his own life as scholar, as paterfamilias, as friend, as university statesman, and as critical and courageous patriot achieved the kind of scope and completeness that he was most concerned as a philosopher to interpret, and for which his scholarly career was a quest for flexible but firm grounds."

REF; University of California at Berkeley, W. R. Dennes J. Loewenberg S. C. Pepper
Family links: 
  Edwin Augustus Adams (1837 - 1927)
  Caroline Plimpton Adams (1842 - 1928)
  George Plimpton Adams (1909 - 1977)*
  John Edwin Adams (1914 - 1999)*
  Rebecca E Adams (1867 - 1946)*
  Annie Lewis Adams Harper (1868 - 1963)*
  Elizabeth May Adams (1871 - 1946)*
  Kathryn Newell Adams (1876 - 1966)*
  Edwin Plimpton Adams (1878 - 1956)*
  George Plimpton Adams (1882 - 1961)
*Calculated relationship
Specifically: Cemetery unknown; TBD
Created by: janicet
Record added: Oct 28, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 99763523
George Plimpton Adams, Sr
Added by: Sandra Pearson
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


Privacy Statement and Terms of Service