Mr. Adam

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Mr. Adam
AuthorPat Frank
CountryUnited States
PublisherJ. B. Lippincott Company
Publication date
September 11, 1946[1][2][3]
Pages252 (Hardcover)

Mr. Adam (1946) is the first novel written by Pat Frank, dealing with the effects of a nuclear mishap causing worldwide male infertility. Published by J. B. Lippincott Company, it was also released as an Armed Services Edition, a paperback by Pocket Books in 1948, and again in 1959 by Pocket Books with the tag Mr. Adam Was Wanted By Every Woman in the World. All tolled, it sold over 2 million copies.

Plot summary[edit]

After a nuclear power plant in Mississippi explodes, it was soon realized that a previously unknown form of radiation was released. The radiation caused all men on Earth to become sterile, even boys who were still inside the mother's womb. However, ten months after the explosion in Mississippi, a doctor delivers a perfectly healthy baby girl. It's soon discovered that the child's father, who has the surname Adam, was more than a mile under the surface of Earth inside an old silver and lead mine during the explosion. It would appear that Mr. Adam is humanity's only hope to stave off extinction.[4][5]


One review referred to the comic novel as "a fat prank by Pat Frank."[6] Eleanor Roosevelt wrote about the novel in her My Day column in September 1946, noting that the work is "pure imagination, but there is just enough possibility that it might come true to make one read it with interest."[7] The New York Times found the book "part fantasy, part lampoon, and is still written with clarity, skill and wit. It makes you chuckle--yes, but it also provides food for thought which a lot of readers should and probably will find quite digestible."[4][8]

Though not in the top 10 for the year, the book was a bestseller.[9] The book reportedly sold over two million copies, including its paperback versions. Its success allowed Frank to retire at age 39 and focus on writing.[10]

A stage version of the novel was less successful. The play rights were quickly sold, but it took over two years to reach the stage. One script was rejected, and a new one was written by Jack Kirkland, known for his great success with Tobacco Road. After trial runs outside New York,[11][12] the play lasted only a few days on Broadway in May 1949 after getting poor reviews.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greene, Edgar G. (14 September 1946). Local Author Writes Satire of Capital in Atomic Age, Daily News (Tarrytown, New York) (September 14 issue of paper states book was "published this week")
  2. ^ (11 September 1946). Published Today, The Sun (New York City)
  3. ^ Boutell, Clip (5 September 1946). Authors Are Like People, New York Post ("Lippincott, for instance, believe that there is a good omen in the fact that Elizabeth Ann MacMurray of Dallas has sent them an enthusiastic wire after reading an advance copy of "Mr. Adam," by Pat Frank, which is being published on Sept. 11. Miss MacMurray was also the first bookseller to climb on the band wagon for "The Egg and I.")
  4. ^ a b Crowther, Florence (15 September 1946). Mr. Adam v. the Atom, The New York Times Book Review, pp. 5, 43.
  5. ^ (11 September 1946). Kirkus Review, Kirkus Reviews
  6. ^ Wendt, Lloyd (29 September 1946). A Fat Prank of Atomic Age by Pat Frank, Chicago Tribune (advertisements subsequently quoted this review title as a "a fat prank by Pat Frank")
  7. ^ September 18, 1946, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Retrieved 8 January 2019
  8. ^ Stong, Phil (16 November 1946). Man in a Billion (review), Saturday Review
  9. ^ Calta, Frank (9 November 1946). Frank's "Mr. Adam" to be Staged Here, The New York Times
  10. ^ (13 October 1964). Pat Frank Dead: Wwrote "Mr. Adam"; Ex-Newsman Made Fortune on Single Book, The New York Times (UPI)
  11. ^ (28 February 1949). Santa Barbara Bans Kirkland's 'Mr. Adam', The New York Times (Associated Press story; the original world premiere of the play was set for March 12, 1949 at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara, California, but was banned by theatre as being "in bad taste")
  12. ^ (18 March 1949). "Mr. Adam" Opens At Curran, Mill Valley Record
  13. ^ (2 April 1947). The Mighty 'Adam', New York Daily News (paywalled, but OCR text is readable, and notes that book was published in August 1946, was condensed in two magazines, and subject to competition for Broadway rights, which were obtained by Emerson Golden)
  14. ^ (25 January 1948). 'Mr. Adam' To Bow Soon, Atlanta Constitution (calling play "much-postponed" but now due for "an early 1948 opening", which a new script now being written by Jack Kirkland)
  15. ^ (6 June 1949). New Play in Manhattan, Time ("Mr. Adam was worse than vulgar; it was almost maddeningly boring. By week's end it had followed the season to the grave.")
  16. ^ Atkinson, Brooks (26 May 1949). One for the Book, The New York Times(review starts, "At the end of the season comes our most memorably loathsome play" and goes downhill from there)
  17. ^ Bordman, Gerald. American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1930-1969, p. 284 (1996) (Broadway show was at the Royale Theatre)
  18. ^ Zolotow, Sam (27 May 1949). Mr. Adam To Quit Royale Tomorrow; Kirkland Will Close Adaptation of Pat Frank's Best-Seller After Five Performances, The New York Times (notes that Broadway cast included James Dobson, Elisabeth Fraser, Frank Albertson, Howard Freeman, and Emory Parnell)

External links[edit]