Robert Adams Jr.

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Robert Adams Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd district
In office
December 19, 1893 – June 1, 1906
Preceded byCharles O'Neill
Succeeded byJohn Reyburn
United States Minister to Brazil
In office
July 20, 1889 – March 1, 1890
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Preceded byThomas Jarvis
Succeeded byEdwin Conger
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 6th district
In office
January 2, 1883[1] – June 12, 1885
Preceded byA. Wilson Norris
Succeeded byBoies Penrose
Personal details
Born(1849-02-26)February 26, 1849
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
DiedJune 1, 1906(1906-06-01) (aged 57)
Washington, D.C., US
Cause of deathSuicide by gunshot
Resting placeLaurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political partyRepublican
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania

Robert Adams Jr. (February 26, 1849 – June 1, 1906) was an American diplomat and politician from Pennsylvania who served as a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district from 1893 to 1906. He served as the United States Minister to Brazil from 1889 to 1890 and as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate for the 6th district from 1883 to 1885.

Early life and education[edit]

Adams was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Robert and Matilda Maybin Hart Adams.[2]

In 1869, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania[3] and was a member of St. Anthony Hall.[2] He then attended Doctor Fairies Physical Institute in Philadelphia.[2] He studied law under George W. Biddle and was admitted to the bar in 1872 but never practiced law.[3]


He was a member of the United States Geological Survey during the explorations of Yellowstone National Park, from 1871 to 1875.[2] Adams served as a member of the National Guards of Pennsylvania, from 1881 to 1895, serving as judge-advocate and major, also on start duty, and as a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate, from 1883 to 1887.[2] He was an aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Beaver of Pennsylvania with the rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1885.[2]

On April 10, 1880, Adams participated in a duel against Dr. James William White. Both Adams and White were members of First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry; White wanted permission to wear the distinctive uniform of the Troop while he saw patients. Adams criticized White, and soon the two agreed to duel. They traveled to Maryland for the affair of honor. Both men fired at 15 paces, but neither man struck his mark and the affair ended without injury. At a meeting years later, Adams asked White, "You fired in the air, didn't you?" White said he did. Adams responded, "I didn't. I fired at you."[4]

He was appointed United States Minister to Brazil on April 1, 1889, and served until June 1, 1890, when he resigned.[2] He was elected to Congress as a Republican to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Charles O'Neill on December 19, 1893.

He then served as a Republican representative from the 2nd Pennsylvania district in the congresses 53rd, 54th and 55th, when acting chairman of the committee on foreign affairs and reported the Cuban resolutions and the declaration of war against Spain.[2]

Last years[edit]

He was re-elected to the 56th, 57th and 58th congresses also from the 2nd Pennsylvania district, serving until his death, and was a member of various committees, while he contributed to periodicals and lectured.[2]

Robert Adams Jr. Gravestone in Laurel Hill Cemetery

Adams killed himself in Washington, D.C., on June 1, 1906, by shooting himself after heavy losses in stock speculation.[5] He is interred at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[6]

Society membership[edit]

He was elected a member of the follow Societies:[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sharon Trostle, ed. (2009). The Pennsylvania Manual (PDF). Vol. 119. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Department of General Services. ISBN 978-0-8182-0334-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Johnson 1906, p. 52
  3. ^ a b "Pennsylvania State Senate - Robert Adams, Jr Biography". Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  4. ^ Rowan, Tommy (December 2016). "1880: Philly surgeon and soldier duel with pistols over fashion statement". Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Congressman a Suicide After Losses at Bridge; Stocks, Too, Had Gone Against Robert Adams Jr. Planned End 2 Weeks Ago – Had Just Paid His Debts to Society Women – "Bridge Whist" Should Be His Epitaph, Says a Colleague. Congressman a Suicide After Losses at Bridge". The New York Times. June 2, 1906. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
  6. ^ US House of Representatives


Diplomatic posts
Preceded by United States Minister to Brazil
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 6th District
Succeeded by