The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Adams, Henry
ADAMS, Henry, American historian, son of Charles Francis: b. Boston, 16 Feb. 1838. He was private secretary to his father during the latter's English ministry, and assistant professor of history at Harvard 1870-77, being reputed one of the most stimulating and original instructors as well as brilliant expositors in the country. With several pupils he published in 1876 ‘Essays on Anglo-Saxon Law,’ of which he wrote on ‘Anglo-Saxon Courts of Law.’ In 1871 he collaborated with his brother, Charles Francis, in ‘Chapters of Erie.’ He edited the North American Review, 1875-76. In 1879 he published Albert Gallatin's writings (3 vols.); in 1882 a life of John Randolph (American Statesmen Series). But his life-work, and with one exception the foremost historical work of America in matter and style, is his ‘History of the United States from 1801 to 1817’ covering the presidencies of Jefferson and Madison (9 vols., 1889-91), in motive it is a defense of his grandfather, John Quincy Adams, for deserting the Federalist party; in essence, a history of the causes and conduct of the War of 1812. For this task he took up his residence in Washington and spent years ransacking its archives. He also lived for long periods abroad, examining various European records, and trained himself thoroughly in military and naval science and construction, besides studying historical and economic problems. Besides the works named he is author of ‘Mont Saint Michel and Chartres’ (1904); ‘Letter to American Teachers of History’ (1910); Life of George Cabot Lodge’ (1911).