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Lester Adams papers

Identifier: GTM-920101

Collection-level scope and contents note

The Lester Adams Papers primarily consist of the official papers and ephemera of Captain Lester Adams, who was part of the U.S. Medical Corps during World War I stationed in the Panama Canal Zone. The papers are arranged in 19 folders and housed in 1 box.

The Lester Adams Papers cover Adams' brief service in the Medical Reserve Corps, mainly consisting of military orders, ephemera, and a few photographs. Among Adams' official correspondence are a telegram from Surgeon General William Crawford Gorgas and four telegrams from General Henry Pinckney McCain to Adams giving him official assignments or orders to travel. Of particular interest are reports kept by Adams, including a report by Adams on sick and wounded in Corozal, CZ in 1918 and an autograph manuscript by an unknown person describing a medical and exploratory mission across Panama in 1918. Adams also kept many photographs of Panama, including several of his wife Margaret during her stay there.


  • 1916-1919
  • Majority of material found within 1917 - 1919

Collections-level access restrictions note

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical note

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.


0.20 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger Slim Document Case)

Language of Materials


Lester Adams papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Washington, D.C.
Description rules
Local Practice
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057