Brooks Adams, photographed in 1910.
|Born||Peter Chardon Brooks Adams|
June 24, 1848
Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
|Died||February 13, 1927 (aged 78)|
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
|Relatives||Charles Francis Adams, Sr. (father)|
Abigail Brown Brooks (mother)
He graduated from Harvard University in 1870 and studied at Harvard Law School in 1870 and 1871. Adams believed that commercial civilizations rise and fall in predictable cycles. First, masses of people draw together in large population centers and engage in commercial activities. As their desire for wealth grows, they discard spiritual and creative values. Their greed leads to distrust and dishonesty, and eventually the society crumbles. In The Law of Civilization and Decay (1895), Adams noted that as new population centers emerged in the west, centers of world trade shifted from Constantinople to Venice to Amsterdam to London. He predicted in America's Economic Supremacy (1900) that New York would become the center of world trade.
Adams was a great-grandson of John Adams, a grandson of John Quincy Adams, the youngest son of U.S. diplomat Charles Francis Adams, and brother to Henry Adams, philosopher, historian, and novelist, whose theories of history were influenced by his work. His maternal grandfather was Peter Chardon Brooks, the wealthiest man in Boston at the time of his death. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1918.
In 1889, Adams married Evelyn Davis, the daughter of Admiral Charles Henry Davis. They did not have children. Evelyn Davis's sister Anna was the wife of Henry Cabot Lodge. Her sister Louisa was the wife of John Dandridge Henley Luce, the son of Stephen Luce.
Brooks Adams with horse and dog, photograph by Marian Hooper Adams, ca. 1883.