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J. D. Adams and Company records

Identifier: L390

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of three parts. One part is that of annual, financial and various other business reports. This portion holds annual reports from 1929 until 1957, as well as other business records. The second portion of the collection are photocopies of photographs and pictures illustrating the company, its employees and machines from around 1932 until 1974. The last part of the collection consists of the catalogs that the company used to aid their salespeople and guide buyers to purchase what would work best for their needs. The catalogs cover are from both J.D. Adams and Co. and WABCO, the company that continued the Adams machine production when it finished running its own production of graders.


  • 1929-1977


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Administrative History

The origins of J.D. Adams and Company are rooted in 1885 when Joseph D. Adams designed a road grader. Although he had no degree or training in engineering his machine was a useful invention in the process of road creation and maintenance. By the 1890s he established his own production company to make graders and steel highway bridges, as well as other items. However, it was not until 1929 that the brothers, William and Roy Adams took over the business and formed J.D. Adams and Co., a corporation. Until 1940 the brothers ran it together, however in that year William Ray Adams died.

After 1940, Roy E. Adams continued to control the bulk of the business with the help of the board. On January 1, 1955, J.D. Adams and Company became a division of the LeTourneau-Westinghouse Company, at that time, J.D. Adams and Company stopped producing products and turned into an investment firm. Roy E. Adams continued the company’s leadership until his death in September of 1956, at which time family members of the original parent company ceased to be present in its management.

In 1958, the investment firm that J.D. Adams and Co. had become, merged with State Street Investment Corporation. It became a division of that corporation. As for the manufacturing that J.D. Adams and Co. originally took part in, it became part of another roadway equipment company and the graders that Joseph D. Adams had originally designed and inspired were continued in production by WABCO.


1 Cubic Feet (3 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 2003 by Amy C. Belcher. EAD finding aid created 2018/05/07 by Lauren Patton.
J. D. Adams and Company records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.