Reading Outside of the Lines
Charles Francis Adams II
Charles Francis Adams II was born May 27, 1835, the son of Charles Francis Adams (1807–86), and through him the grandson of President John Quincy Adams (1767–1848) and the great-grandson of President John Adams (1735–1826). After graduating from Harvard University in 1856 (the same school his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather graduated from), he served during the US Civil War. Initially a captain in a Massachusetts cavalry regiment, he saw combat in several battles, and retired as a brevet brigadier general. After the war, he served on the Massachusetts Railroad Commission, and then was president of the Union Pacific Railroad from 1884 to 1890. From 1893 to 1895, he was chairman of the Massachusetts Park Commission.
Adams was also a historian, and became president of the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1895 and the American Historical Association in 1901. Charles Francis Adams II died a week before his 80th birthday, on May 20, 1915.