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Walter Adams papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-2.1.13

Scope and Contents

Walter Adams' papers contain administrative subject files, speeches, and correspondence from his short term as President of Michigan State University. Subject files contain monographs, correspondence, and other documents related to the various schools and departments of the university, and to student affairs. Includes a proposal for a Russian and Eastern European Studies Center. Correspondence deals primarily with state and community issues, with some from the Board of Trustees and from the Federal government. Includes a letter from President Richard M. Nixon to Secretary George Romney. Speeches include a commencement speech and a speech on Vietnam among others.


  • Creation: 1969


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Box 596, folders 48-50 contain restricted materials.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Walter Adams was chosen to be Michigan State University's 13th president. Prior to his acceptance of the post, Adams was a professor of economics at Michigan State University. Adams was asked to succeed President John A. Hannah, who had resigned his position as President in order to accept that as Administrator of the Agency for International Development (AID), in Washington, D.C.

Adams assumed presidency on April 1, 1969 and vacated the office on January 1, 1970. At the outset, Adams made very clear that he did not want to be considered for the permanent presidency, a stand he maintained throughout, as is manifested in his letter to Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Don Stevens, on October 16, 1969 (Box 614, File 22). Adams maintained this position despite the fact that he was very popular with the students, faculty, and the Board of Trustees. When he stepped down from the Presidency, he resumed his former position, a post he held until retiring on December 31, 1992.

During his administration, Adams had to confront issues which were part of the general social and political conditions found throughout the United States, as well as problems specific to Michigan State University. During his administration, the School of Osteopathic Medicine and the Center for Urban Affairs were established and a proposal was made to establish a Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies.

Walter Adams was born August 27, 1922 in Vienna, Austria. He received a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1942, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University in 1946 and 1947, respectively. His graduate studies were interrupted by World War II, during which he served, with distinction, in the U.S. Army (1943-1945), receiving the Bronze Star Medal for heroic conduct.

In 1947, he joined the Michigan State faculty in Economics Department. After a long battle with the disease, Walter Adams died of complications from pancreatic cancer, at the age of 76, on September 8, 1998. Adams, and his wife Pauline, had one son, William J. Adams.


1.5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Organized into 4 series. 1. Administrative Subject Files. 2. Correspondence. 3. Speeches. 4. Photographs. 1-2 Organized alphabetically. 3. Organized chronologically.

Legal Status

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Office of the President. Walter Adams Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
Walter Adams
August 1983
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US