Henry Brooks Adams (Henry Brooks Adams)

Henry Brooks Adams

Author, Historian.  Born in Boston, Massachusetts  to one of America’s most prominent families, his father was American Diplomat and scholar  Charles Francis Adams, his grandfather was 6th United States President John Quincy Adams, and his great-grandfather was 2nd United States President John Adams. He graduated from Harvard University in 1858 and later attended lectures at the University of Berlin in Germany. He returned home in 1860 and his father, then a member of the United States Congress, asked him to be his private secretary, a familial role between father and son going back to John and John Quincy. On March 19, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Charles Francis Adams, Sr. United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Henry Adams accompanied him in his private secretary role. In 1868, Henry Adams returned to the United States and settled in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a journalist exposing political corruption. From 1870 to 1877 he served as Professor of Medieval History at Harvard, then returned to Washington to continue work as a historian. He maintained a lifelong correspondence with his younger brother, historian Brooks Adams, and each other influenced their sibling’s work. He wrote two novels in the 1880s -“Democracy” (published anonymously in 1880, and in 1880, under the nom de plume of ‘Frances Snow Compton’), and “Esther”. On December 6, 1885 his wife, Marian Adams committed suicide in Washington, and he erected an elaborate memorial for her gravesite that became one of the most famous and visited in the city. In 1907 he published a small private edition of his autobiography, “The Education of Henry Adams”, and the work was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1919. His greatest work (considered his “magnum opus”) was the book “The History of the United States of America 1801 to 1817”. In 1912 he suffered a disabling stroke, and died at his Washington home in 1918. (bio by: Paul G. Healy)  Family links:  Parents:  Charles Francis Adams (1807 – 1886)  Spouse:  Marian Hooper Adams (1843 – 1885)  Siblings:  John Quincy Adams (1833 – 1894)*  Charles Francis Adams (1835 – 1915)*  Henry Brooks Adams (1838 – 1918)  Mary Gardner Adams Quincy (1845 – 1921)*  Brooks Adams (1848 – 1927)* *Calculated relationship


  • February, 16, 1838
  • USA


  • March, 03, 1918
  • USA


  • Rock Creek Cemetery
  • USA

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