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Personal papers of Ralph N. Adams

Call Number: PP 426


This collection contains class notes and lectures, research notebooks, seminar notes, research, student projects, notes, exams, and correspondence of Ralph N. Adams, who taught chemistry at the University of Kansas from 1955-1992.


  • Creation: 1955 - 1992


Conditions Governing Access

All materials in this collection except the oversize folder are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library Public Services staff (785-864-4334 or, 9-5 M-F CST) no less than three days in advance of a planned visit. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material cannot be accommodated.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Ralph Adams

Ralph N. Adams was born August 26, 1924, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He began his college education before World War II, but was drafted into the Chemical Warfare Service in 1942. He had always harbored a desire to fly, however, and joined the Army Air Corps in 1943. He flew as a bomber pilot in the Pacific, which earned him his life-long nickname, Buzz.

After the war, Adams returned to his education, earning his bachelors degree in Chemistry from Rutgers in 1950. In 1953 he received his Ph.D. from Princeton, where he remained as an instructor for two years. He joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1955, where he focused his research on organic electrochemistry. Adams' research proved the existence of "free radicals" in the human body, which earned him several awards. He was named a University Distinguished Professor in 1965.

In 1969, Adams shifted the focus of his research to neuroscience, tracking neurotransmitters and neurochemicals involved in schizophrenia. Adams' research in this area led to the discovery that the brain's halves have different chemical make ups. From 1978-1982 he served as a Professor of Neurobehavioral Sciences at the Menninger School of Psychiatry in Topeka, Kan.

Over the course of his career, Adams received numerous awards and fellowships and maintained joint appointments in the Chemistry, Biochemistry, Psychiatry, and Pharmacology and Toxicology Departments at KU. He retired in 1992 and passed away in 2002.


4 Linear Feet (5 boxes + 1 oversize folder, 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

PP 426

Physical Location

PP 556

Physical Location

PP 562

Physical Location

Annex (Contact Spencer Library Public Services)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Virginia Adams, 2003

Related Materials

Consult library staff regarding the availability of related photographs, biographical files, and scrapbooks.

Guide to the Ralph "Buzz" Adams Collection
Personal papers of Ralph N. Adams
Finding aid prepared by ad, 2005. Finding aid encoded by ad, 2005. Finding aid revised by aam, 2015; mwh, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Personal papers of Ralph N. Adams, PP 426, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States