Lester Adams was born on November 10, 1884 in Bangor, Maine, the son of Charles H. Adams who was employed in the lumber industry. In June 1903, Adams was admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he studied until February, 1905. Adams attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, from which he obtained an A.B. in Pre-Medicine in 1907. He then attended Johns Hopkins University, from which he received an M.D. in 1911. Dr. Adams interned at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and later did his residency at Baltimore City Hospital.
From 1915 to 1917 he was a pathologist at Eastern Maine General Hospital in Bangor. In June, 1917 he was commissioned captain in the U.S. Army Medical Reserve Corps, and in August of that year he was sent to duty at the Medical Officers' Training Camp at Fort Harrison, Indiana. In December 1917, Adams was sent to duty in the Panama Canal Zone as Post Surgeon until May 1918, and then to Camp Upton, Yaphank, New York as Battalion Surgeon of the 152nd Depot Battalion. While in Panama or New York, Adams became stricken with tuberculosis and spent more than a year as a patient in U.S. General Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, from August 1918 to Septemeber 1919. His young wife of a year and a half, Margaret M. Prentiss, died in March of 1919, possibly of tuberculosis. Adams was discharged from the Army in September 1919.
Dr. Adams went on to become a noted leader in the fight to control tuberculosis and respiratory ailments. He received tuberculosis training at the Army School for Tuberculosis and was resident at Trudeau Sanitorium for two years. He was superintendent of the Belle Air (Pa.) Sanitorium, and in 1923 he became superintendent of Western Maine Sanitorium at Greenwood Mountain. He retired from that position in 1955 and continued as an honorary member of the staff of Central Maine General Hospital in Lewiston.
In August 1926, Adams married Violet L. Mills, and they had two children, Mary Susan and Sarah Frances Adams. Lester Adams died in Thomaston, Maine on December 14, 1971. Further biographical information is available in the curatorial file of this collection.