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John S. Adams papers

Identifier: ua01301

Scope and Contents

The John S. Adams papers contain the professional and departmental material of Professor Emeritus of the Department of Geography and the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Material includes research and course material, publications, departmental material and correspondence. There is also audio visual and slides related to his course work and field trips taken through the Department of Geography.


  • 1949-2020


Conditions Governing Access

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical Note

John S. Adams, an Emeritus Professor of the Department of Geography and the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the College of St. Thomas in 1960, a Masters degree in Economics and minor in Statistics from the University of Minnesota in 1962, and a Ph.D. in Geography and minor in Economics from the University of Minnesota in 1966. (1) In 1966, he became an Assistant Professor of Geography at Pennsylvania State University and soon joined the Department of Geography at the University of Minnesota as an Associate Professor in 1970. (1) From 1971 to 1974, Adams was the Acting Director of the Urban Planning Program for the School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, while simultaneously leading the Association of American Geographers’ Comparative Metropolitan Analysis Project as the Research Director. (1) By 1976, Adams became the first director of the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and held that role until 1979. (1) Between 1980 and 1981, Adams took a sabbatical leave to be a visiting research fellow at the Institute for Urban and Regional Development at the University of California at Berkeley, as well as an Economic Geographer in Residence at the Bank of America World Headquarters in San Francisco. He continued teaching at the University of Minnesota from 1981 up until his retirement in 2007, when he became the interim Associate Dean for the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, as well as the co-director of the University Metropolitan Consortium. (1) His work mainly focuses on the housing market, its economic development and the effects of urban transportation. He has also expanded outside of the United States and researched these similar topics in the former Soviet Union. Other areas of research have included land use and transportation issues, specifically in the state of Minnesota, through the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) and the Center for Transportation Studies. (1)

Books Adams has written include Spatial Organization in 1971, Urban Policy Making and Metropolitan Dynamics in 1976, Contemporary Metropolitan America in 1976, A Comparative Atlas of America’s Great Cities in 1976, Housing America in the 1980s in 1988 and most recently Minneapolis-St. Paul: People, Place and Public Life co authored with Barbara J. VanDrasek, in 1993. (1) Other major accomplishments Adams received was the Fulbright-Hays award in May of 1975, where he spent time at the Vienna Institute of Commerce in Austria and taught lectures in the field of metropolitan analysis.(1) Thirteen years later, he earned another Fulbright-Hays award in March of 1988, where he was a lecturer at Moscow State University and taught on the evolution of American metropolitan regions and their current social and economic structures. (1) In September of 2000, Adams was named the first Fesler-Lampert Chair in Urban and Regional Affairs. (1)


(1) Biographical File, Adams, John S., Information files collection, University Archives.


96.25 Cubic Feet (77 record boxes)

Language of Materials



Collection contains the professional material of John S. Adams, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Geography and the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series 1: Professional Material, 1955-2015
    • Subseries 1.1: Department of Geography Material, 1966-2014
    • Subseries 1.2: Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, 1971-2010
    • Subseries 1.3: College of Liberal Arts, 1973-2010
    • Subseries 1.4: Center for Transportation Studies, 1970-2015
    • Subseries 1.5: Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, 1973-2010
    • Subseries 1.6: Project Material, 1964-2015
    • Subseries 1.7: Pennsylvania State University Material, 1966-1970
    • Subseries 1.8: Personal and Professional Material, 1955-1985
  • Series 2: Course Material, 1957-2011
  • Series 3: Associations and Organizations, 1959-2016
    • Subseries 3.1: Association of American Geographers, 1967-2014
    • Subseries 3.2: Citizens League, 1959-2012
    • Subseries 3.3: Metropolitan Council, 1979-2010
    • Subseries 3.4: University of Minnesota Retirees Association, 2010-2014
    • Subseries 3.5: University Metropolitan Consortium, 2006-2014
    • Subseries 3.6: University of Minnesota Alumni Association, 1994-2010
    • Subseries 3.7: Other Organizational Material, 1967-2016
  • Series 4: Presentations and Seminars, 1973-2014
  • Series 5: Publications, 1960-2013
    • Subseries 5.1: Publications by John S. Adams, 1967-2013
    • Subseries 5.2: Reviews by John S. Adams, 1968-2005
    • Subseries 5.3: Books written by John S. Adams, 1969-1992
    • Subseries 5.4: Upper Midwest Economic Study Reports and Papers, 1960-1968
  • Series 6: Correspondence, 1962-2015
  • Series 7: Research Material, 1949-2015
  • Series 8: Audiovisual Material, 1982-2002
  • Series 9: Slides, 1966-1999

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated by John S. Adams in six accessions from 2010 to 2017.

Related Materials in the Northwest Architectural Archives

Related Materials in the University Digital Conservancy

Processing Information

Processing completed with funds from the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society (2021-2022).

John S. Adams papers, 1949-2020
Katelyn Morken
September-December 2021
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Collecting Area Details

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