Charles Kendall Adams

Charles Kendall Adams bigraphy, stories - American educator and historian

Charles Kendall Adams : biography

January 24, 1835 – July 26, 1902

Charles Kendall Adams (January 24, 1835 – July 26, 1902) was an American educator and historian. He served as the second president of Cornell University from 1885 until 1892, and as president of the University of Wisconsin from 1892 until 1901. He was the editor-in-chief of Johnson’s Universal Cyclopaedia (1892-1895), and of the successor Universal Cyclopaedia (1900), sometimes referred to as Appleton’s Universal Cyclopaedia.


He was born in on January 24, 1835 in Derby, Vermont, and he studied with Andrew Dickson White, Cornell’s first president, at the University of Michigan, from where he graduated in 1861. Adams was then assistant professor of Latin and history at Michigan from 1863 to 1867, and full professor of history from 1867 to 1885. Having studied in Germany, France, and Italy in 1867 and 1868, he followed the German method of instruction, and in 1869 and 1870 established an historical seminary which proved of great value in promoting the study of history and political science. In 1881 he was made non-resident professor of history at Cornell, and in 1885 succeeded White as president of Cornell. He was forced to resign at Cornell due to conflicts with the faculty over honorary degrees and control of faculty appointments.

In 1890 he was president of the American Historical Association. In 1892 he was elected president of the University of Wisconsin, where he remained until 1901. He died on July 26, 1902.


  • Democracy and Monarchy in France (1872)
  • Manual of Historical Literature (1882)
  • British Orations (1884)
  • Christopher Columbus, His Life and Work (1892)