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William R. Adam Papers (MS279)

Identifier: MS279

Content Description

Much of the collection consists of personal and professional correspondences of William Robert Adam. There are also a number of programs from events that Adam coordinated or was invited to attend in Alexandria and Washington, DC. The collection also includes awards and certificates, newspaper clippings, bibliographical information, publications, and research papers. There is also a folder on the composer Richard Bales, who conducted orchestral performances at some of Adam’s events. The collection includes a number of realia such as medals and medallions.


  • 1920 - 1990


Biographical / Historical

William Robert Adam was born in Alexandria, Virginia on February 20, 1918. Prior to World War II, he worked as an Assistant Librarian for the Alexandria Library where he developed the Alexandriana collection of books and documents related to local history. During this period, he also contributed feature articles on performing arts and local history for the Alexandria Gazette. As the United States entered World War II in 1941, Adam was enlisted in the Army where he contributed to several post and unit newspapers. In 1943, he was assigned to the Bureau of Public Relations with the U.S. Army War Department at the Pentagon where he edited photography and prepared texts for media coverage. In 1949, his media career took him to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he continued to work on audio-visual news projects during the final phases of World War II, the Korean Conflict, aerospace research and development programs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and U.S. combat operations in Southeast Asia. Upon completing his military service, Adam would return to work for the City of Alexandria as a Restoration Curator at the Gadsby’s Tavern Museum in 1972. During his tenure at Gadsby’s, he solicited valuable furnishing and artifacts to bring to the museum, served as a docent, and arranged special events at the museum.


.235 Cubic Feet (2 box)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged mostly topically, with correspondences arranged by decades.

William R. Adam Papers Collection Finding Aid
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Local History and Special Collections Branch, Alexandria Library Repository

717 Queen Street
Alexandria VA 22314 United States