George Matthew Adams

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George Matthew Adams (August 23, 1878 - October 29, 1962) was an American newspaper columnist and founder of the George Matthew Adams Newspaper Service, which syndicated comic strips and columns to newspapers for five decades. His own writings were circulated widely to The Gettysburg Times and many other newspapers.


Born in Saline, Michigan, George Matthew Adams graduated from Ottawa University in Kansas. Employed by a Chicago advertising agency, he started operating the elevator and worked his way up to become a copywriter. In 1907, Adams borrowed money to rent and equip an office and launched the Adams Newspaper Service. Adams' syndicate was located at 8 West 40th Street in Manhattan. When Adams and Emporia Gazette publisher William Allen White met in Chicago in 1908, Adams hired White to write about political issues. Adams had copies of Walt Mason's light verse which he had clipped from the Gazette, and said, "I like this stuff. I'd like to syndicate it to other papers. Suppose I could?" White responded, "Sure. Give Uncle Walt about $18 a week, and he'll be tickled pink to do it for you." Adams did, and as Mason's "Rippling Rhythms" column increased in popularity, he eventually increased Mason's salary to $15,000 a year.[1]

In the 1910s, Adams was selling Dr. Frank Crane's (1861-1928) popular "Four Minute Essays". When he lost Crane to a competitor, he decided to write short inspirational essays himself while he traveled from city to city selling to newspapers. In the 1950s, Crane was all but forgotten, but Adams' short inspirational columns were in about 100 newspapers and also collected in a series of books.[2][3]

George Matthew Adams Service[edit]

The name of the Adams Newspaper Service was changed in 1916 to the George Matthew Adams Service. Writers syndicated by Adams included Thornton Burgess, Edgar Guest and Robert Ripley.

Adams also syndicated comics, including Billy DeBeck's Finn an' Haddie, Robert Baldwin's Freddy, Edwina Dumm's Cap Stubbs and Tippie and Ed Wheelan's Minute Movies. The syndicate also distributed single-panel cartoons, including some accompanied by jokes, backwoods homilies, light verse or Adams-style inspiration. In addition to sports cartoons by Lank Leonard, Adams syndicated Johnny Gruelle's illustrated Raggedy Ann panels from 1934 to 1938. The uplifting Raggedy Ann verses emphasized forthrightness, honesty, kindness and thrift. He also syndicated Rebecca McCann's philosophical Cheerful Cherub.

Adams's syndicate peaked in the 1920s and 1930s, eventually fading as its founder aged. The remaining features were sold to the Washington Star Syndicate after Adams’ death in 1962.


  • Better Than Gold
  • The Great Little Things
  • You Can
  • Just Among Friends
  • Up
  • Take It


External links[edit]